On a personal note, I will be submitting my pilot dream sheet by the end of the week. What is a dream sheet, you ask? It is the means by which my voice is not completely lost in the Air Force bureaucracy that will determine my future.

I have completed the first half of my pilot training and now stand at a crossroads. My performance over the last six months, combined with my preferences listed on the dream sheet, will determine whether I will fly transport/air-refueling aircraft or if I will fly fighter/bomber aircraft for the duration of my Air Force career.

If you were a single, twenty-something, second lieutenant in the Air Force, what would you choose?

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Posted by Tex


  1. I don’t know about you, but I would fly a fighter/bomber. It may depend on your situation/beliefs/family though.

    Do you get to make the choice? I’m under the impression that you don’t.


  2. Fighter pilots are awesome!

    But, Tex, if you turn out to be a air transport pilot you’ll be the coolest one there ever was. :)


  3. Fighter/Bomber. And preferrably Fighter.

    That way when you are 55 and writing your autobiography you can entitle it “Tex Goes Top Gun.”


  4. Can females write on Mere Orthodoxy? I am trying to read through and keep up with you all, as I’m trying to transition my life to be more involved in discourses such as these…

    Tex, you should totally be a fighter pilot (my personal views on AF not-withstanding), for the simple reason that you can use it to pick up chicks!


  5. Inasmuch as fighting with bombs is a moral action (it can be right or wrong, depending on a variety of circumstances), the fueler is as complicit in the action as the trigger-man (assuming the relevant people are voluntarily in the military). Therefore I don’t see a specifically moral premise that could help you decide one way or the other.

    I’m interested in your thoughts on this point, Tex.


  6. I’d say that generally the American citizen is as complicit in the action as the trigger-man, unless he or she is actively opposed to the particular use of military force.

    The one big exception I see to this, however, (and it applies to the refuler as well as the American citizen), is the personal responsibility for actions that allowed soldiers to be punished for Vietnam war-crimes even though they were ordered to commit them by their superior officers. The American citizen and the refueler only have a limited knowledge of the details of how force will be used in particular instances. To this degree, the trigger-man carries more responsibility than those who make it possible for him to effectively pull the trigger.


  7. Fighters are sexier, but multi-engine heavies will look better on that airline application in a few years. Good luck (from a 110 hour private pilot who hasn’t flown in 20 years).


  8. What Mr. Anderson said. :P


  9. Seems obvious to me that a level-headed young man like yourself, not wanting needlessly to worry his mother, would jump at the chance to fly a huge, safe, lumbering C-5A. Is there really any question?


  10. I think you’re right on both points: American citizens who support the aggressive action in general are complicit, and the trigger man has more responsibility.

    So the question is, how does a trigger man decide when the order is right? It seems that in many cases of an order that is actually wrong but is nevertheless carried out by the obedient trigger man, the trigger man can indeed be exonerated by the fact that he was merely following orders. After all, his superiors have access to intelligence he does not have, etc. Then again, this clearly isn’t universal (see Eichmann).

    The decision, then, does seem to involve moral reasoning in addition to any other factors (sexiness, coolness, comfort of mom, etc.). I think it is a very difficult decision. I’m curious…what is your dream?


  11. The Bible says somewhere (I wish I remembered where) that when someone who’s under someone else’s employment (maybe even slavery) does something wrong by following his boss’s orders, that he isn’t held accountable for it; his boss is.

    “Always someone higher up for you to pass the buck…”


  12. Of course, the rejoinder to that is: should the Nazis have carried out their atrociaties under orders?


  13. In response to the Falcon:

    I think the trigger man can be expected to do no more than act upon the information that he has–to include information such as the character of his superiors, the degree to which they can be trusted, his responsibility to obey lawful orders, and his personal knowledge of the facts surrounding the situation at hand. There is no universal or pat answer to this question, which is why the military MUST be in the business of developing virtuous officers (hence my obsession with morality in the Air Force, and the precepts upon which the Air Force bases its strategies and policies).

    Stay tuned to have your curiousity assauged.

    To Andrew C. and Eric:

    Proof texts in this situation are unhelpful because they do not always point towards the overarching ideas and mandates presented in the Bible. In this case, your proof text seems to ignore the larger picture of man as a moral agent responsible for his decisions. Those who should have known better are culpable to some degree, regardless of their relationship to other authority figures. Judas Iscariot comes to mind as a particular example.


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