Last night the Social Media Marketing conference partied on the USS Midway. I didn’t know at first if I would go but decided to get out of my comfort zone and attend. When I saw all the steps we had to climb to get onto the ship I almost turned around and went back to the hotel but I said “I can do this” and I did it. Of course at the top some nice guy took my arm to help me — I must have looked or sounded pretty bad (at least it wasn’t a Boy Scout; when the Boy Scout helps me cross the street I’ll know I am over the hill). Of course I discovered later there was an elevator.
There was a lot of aircraft on display and a history of the battle of the Midway. A reminder what my dad’s generation did in World War II — the greatest generation. I then discovered the elevator that would take me up to the flight deck. Yippee.
It was there that I met Bob. He gave a talk about what it is like to be a Navy pilot and how they land planes on these ships. I thought it would be 20 minutes or so but it was for an hour but well worth it. Bob was a great public speaker on top of being the best pilot. He had the right blend of humor with facts, engaged with the audience, and the visuals were perfect. NOT A BULLET POINT IN THE ENTIRE PRESENTATION. Bravo.
He landed a plane 1010 times. He was a pilot during the Vietnam War. He told us that on the last mission in Vietnam only the top ranked pilots flew. Why? Because none of them wanted to write a letter home telling someone’s parents or wife that their son had died on the last mission flown. That is a class act. Things you don’t hear about.
At the end of the speech this little twit in the front row who looked like he just fell off a private school charm bracelet said “How do you sleep at night?” I wanted to smack him. Bob, never losing a beat stared right at him and said “I sleep fine. How do YOU sleep?”
I love Bob. If his wife of 52 years leaves him I get him.