“We just love our pilots.” Marine Sgt. Major TC Crouson (VMF-323 Reunion)
History’s most famous fighter pilot, the “Red Baron,” Manfred von Richthofen, offered the following description of how a fighter pilot approaches his job:
“Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood, the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart.”
Since the death of Senator John McCain last weekend, a number of journalists have seized on his days as a fighter pilot to describe his personality and character. The conventional wisdom is that fighter pilots are aggressive, competitive, work-oriented, cocky, conscientious, extroverted, risk takers. Looking back it’s clear that the life and career of John McCain was faithful to both the Red Baron’s and conventional wisdom’s summary of attributes.