Today's pilots mirror past

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Pete Davey
  • 309th Fighter Squadron commander
On June 20 the 309th Fighter Squadron Wild Ducks had the fortune to host a Daedalian meeting, providing young pilots a chance to interact with those who came before them.

The Order of Daedalians, named for the legend of Daedalus, the first person to accomplish heavier than air flight, was formally instituted on March 26, 1934 to recognize the heroics of our WWI pilots.

Today, the order has grown to incorporate all pilots who share the bond of flight. It provides us the opportunity to demonstrate the common threads of young and old who serve this great nation.

Maybe it was the proximity of the event to our nation's Independence Day, but it caused me to reflect on our founding fathers, whose words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness," ring truer now than ever before.

If alive today, the founding fathers would have been fighter pilots. They showcased the fighter pilot's spirit when they stood in the face of oppression and drew a line in the sand by stating their beliefs and declaring independence.

And their words hold more meaning today than ever before, as we approach our five year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.

Today we are not only at war, but in a sustained battle of ideology. Success will be measured by resolve. We must continue to be unyielding and can never forget that our men and women are engaged in combat across the world.

I feel proud because at Luke we produce the world's greatest F-16 fighter pilots, who will continue this fight. I am confident in their steadfast commitment to this great nation and desire to live the creed espoused by our founding fathers when they pledged, "... with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and, our sacred Honor."

They were definitely fighter pilots.