Bob — The Navy’s Best Pilot

IMG_0475Meet Bob — he told us he is the Navy’s best pilot — EVER. Then he told us that every Navy pilot had to feel that way about themselves or they couldn’t do what they do.

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.

IMG_0476There 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.