If you see it in your mind you can do it!
We three young kids stood in our socks on Grandpa Andy’s hood waving at ever airliner coming in and go out of Los Angeles International Airport. Pan American Boeing 707’s and Delta Airlines Douglas DC-8s passed one hundred fifty feet over our heads. One American 707 Captain opened his cockpit window and waved before taking off.
At five years old I knew what my purpose was, but some didn’t share my dream of flying.
One Elementary School teacher said in front of the entire class “You are the dumbest boy! You’ll never fly planes!” Teachers and councilors said my math and science scores were low, which piloting airplanes requires. Fed up hearing about never flying, I told one particularly nasty teacher “Not only will I fly, I’m going to be an Air Force pilot!”
If you hear the lie long enough you begin to believe it though.
A World War II fighter pilot next door intervened. Telling him one night how my teachers said I wasn’t smart enough to fly, Colonel Ed Reinhart looked at me and said “Don’t believe anything they tell you. I was told the same thing and flew P-47s all over Europe. If you can see it in your mind you can do it with your hands!”
I spent thousands of hours studying airplanes from then on. Graduating from Brigham Young University, I went straight to Air Force pilot training, finishing last in my class, but with silver wings pinned on my chest. For over twenty-four years and four wars, I passed gas for a living!
I’ve traveled all over the world at 28,000 feet with a belly full of gas on 30 minutes notice in a KC-135, the Air Force’s airborne gas station. As the Chief Operating Officer for all air refueling operations in the Middle East during 2002 to 2003, my team of thirty US and international refueling experts transferred enough jet fuel to keep a 737-airliner airborne for 11.9 years, or make 2685 round trips to the moon in a Ford F-150 truck.
Colonel Reinhart was right. Don’t let people tell you it’s impossible. I traveled all over the world in a KC-135 when people told me it was impossible. If you can see it in your mind you can do it!