I just finished reading the CAF President/CEO, Hank Coates, words on culture in this month's Dispatch. I couldn't agree more with his thoughts. As a fairly new member of the Lone Star Wing, I've found our unit to be quite welcoming. That's not to say we don't have differences of opinion or conflict at times, but we are unified in our goal to educate folks by sharing the joy of living history through our Stearman and the historic items situated around our facility. I was reminded of this unity again on Saturday when we held our annual fly-in. Our unit is not large. Hosting an event like this is an all hands on deck thing. Despite the often stressful nature of these events, everyone was excited to be there and enjoying the time. It was especially fun to be selling rides out of our home airport. Often we are out at remote locations, with a small ground support staff, but on Saturday we had everyone there to share the joy of this mission.
I continue to enjoy my time with these folks. There was a moment when I was sitting on a couch listening to Col. Bill Shinneman share a story, from the thousands constantly on tap in his internal file cabinet of history, when my mind slowed down a bit to take it all in. The day was perfect. Bill was talking about the Flying Tigers, and I was learning new things (as I often do from listening to these folks), and history was coming to life. Admittedly, I've never been a huge history buff. I LOVE airplanes, especially vintage warplanes, but I have not spent a lot of personal time studying history. Now, though, I've found a growing passion for the subject. History is coming to life as I spend time with the LSW members, listening as they swap stories about the history of our unit and about their service or family member's service. History is coming to life as I fly this airplane and share the purity of flight it represents...a huge contrast with most of the time in my logbook. As I was reading the article on culture it struck me, I would not be experiencing any of this without a welcoming culture. So thank you, members of the Lone Star Wing, for welcoming this "young buck" into your midst. It's been a true pleasure to get to know you!