I’ve shared a couple of his emails before and they were well received. Here’s his latest. How can you not love these guys?

Today, I wanted to share with you a bit of the beauty of being an A-10
pilot. Yesterday, I arrived at the squadron at about 0300 (about
bedtime for my wife) for the early line of the day. We received our
intelligence briefing, a download on the expected weather, and took
about 45 minutes to brief the mission. Prepping to fly during the day
is easy, as you only have to worry about your g-suit, survival vest,
parachute harness,helmet, binoculars, maps, checklists, radio for combat
search and rescue, water and food, piddle packs, digital recording
cartridge, data transfer cartridge (large thumb-drive, like the size of
a book), and all of your specific mission materials. The night guys
also have to carry night vision goggles, a laser pointer, finger lights,
lip lights, and a flashlight. With everything we carry out to the jet,
I feel like I am prepping for a long trip, and picking the heaviest
stuff out of my closet. That is not a complaint, because I wouldn’t
consider leaving any of it as it all makes my job easier once I get it
situated in the aircraft. And carrying it all out the the jet helps to
keep me warm against the chilly morning air.

Speaking of the chilly morning air, right now we are on the cusp of
requiring guys to fly with jackets because it starts the day around 32
degrees F, but then climbs to a balmy 55-60. That will soon change,
though, as we’ll start seeing tempuratures range from between -20 and
40. Not the coldest place in the world, but cold enough to make working
out side for extended periods uncomfortable. But the jet has a great
heater, so I have no complaints. The cold weather gear becomes
important just for the exterior aircraft inspection, and in case you
have to jump out.

Walking outside and prepping my aircraft yesterday, I could not think of
anything in the world that I would rather do. You can have the money,
the prestige, and whatever else you may find in any other job, but the
smell of jet fuel and the exhiliration of the cold morning air as the
sun was rising was awe-inspiring. The mountains surrounding our
valley (that has an elevation of 5,000 feet) have a beautiful dusting of
snow down to about 7,000 feet, so the orange sun across the peaks lights
up the morning in a way that is indescribable. There are few things
better in this world than doing a job that you know matters, and that is
fun to boot.

Our actual taskings cover a wide variety of missions, but all of them
revolve around supporting the operations of the soldiers on the ground.
Sometimes they are hunting terrorists, and we provide them eyes and a
big stick; sometimes we escort convoys through hostile sections of the
county; sometimes we search areas of known bad guys; and sometimes we
resort to the old-fashioned way of taking care of thugs–with steel. We
are there to do what the ground commander wants us to do, and help him
determine the best course of action. And my guys are the best in the
world, no doubt about it. It is awesome to listen to the tapes of
missions, and marvel at the sound judgment, excellent execution, and
tactical/technical skill of our pilots. These guys are not cowboys
looking to kill something; they believe what they are doing and do it
well. They are slow to employ weapons, as they all understand that
there is a living, breathing being at the other end of their gun, but
they also do not hesitate if the situation dictates.

As we fly over this country, I cannot help but identify great locations
for potential ski resorts, RV areas, campgrounds, and high adventure
areas. It is a beautiful place. To think that I am getting paid to
perform acrobatic maneuvers with a purpose over some of the most
beautiful country in the world is amazing. And while I love the company
of family and friends, I love the solitude of being alone in an aircraft
and marvelling at the thrill of it all.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’m sure that most of you have great
family plans, and I hope that you enjoy them. I wish I were with my
family, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to be here in my place,
so I’m fine where I am. The food will not be my wife’s but it will
certainly be filling, and I will have plenty of reasons to give thanks,
which is what the day is all about. Hopefully, I will fly, giving me a
few moments alone to think of all the wonderful things we have received,
and pray for many more Thanksgivings in the future.

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