December 18, 2007
December 18, 2007
The View from Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Josh Sullivan has some thoughts about general aviation. “As blessed as I am to be involved in military aviation, I still sometimes long to go back home and fly in the general aviation world. You see, in military aviation, there's always an agenda, as there should be. We are spending tax payer dollars to train and fight for our country. There are strict training requirements which we have to log to stay current on our training. While these are very necessary, they make the times when I can get home, climb into my dad's Cessna 172, and fly around the patch an absolute joy. There's nothing like flying and just enjoying the scenery. I mean, I can't just go to work, climb into my squadron's airplane and teach my kids the joys of flying. I can't take my family up on Christmas Eve to look at the Christmas lights from a different perspective. I'm sure you get the picture. I love what I do for a living, but I guess it's kind of like being a professional ball player....you might have an outstanding job, but it's just a little more enjoyable when you're playing ball with your kids in the backyard as opposed to making a living.”
Active duty can be rough on a family, Josh admits. But he’s doing a job, and it’s for more than himself or his family. It’s for his country, it’s for an entire world. “My wife is at home managing four children, finances, and everything by herself each time I have to leave.”
What does eldest son, Nick, think of Dad’s work, flying troops, supplies, and equipment in the war? Himself a fine young gentleman who stood and shook our hands when Josh introduced us, Nick grinned in approval, “He’s got a pretty cool job.”
“The Iraqi people are just like us,” Josh adds. “They just want to raise their families, just like us.”
Josh and his family built a home in Arkansas one block from a grass air strip where Randy and Debbie Sullivan can fly in their C172. Dad is very proud. “Josh won’t tell you this, but he got to present Arms. He marched during President Bush’s inauguration.” I imagine there are many things Josh has done so far in his young life which make his parents happy. He seems to have an impact on lots of folks.
We talked to a couple of guys who knew him in high school. “He probably didn’t tell you, he was known as ‘The Animal,’” Russel Blue told us. Bryan McCartney agreed, “In football, when Josh hit you, you knew it, and you’d never forget him.”
It’s not just his sacking skills on the football field, or his expert control of a C-130 that makes Josh Sullivan unforgettable. It’s all he stands for–his faith, love for his family, duty to his country–and his kindness and humility toward a couple of local citizen pilots who were just eager to hear his story and share it with you. We hope you’ve enjoyed this five-week series. This, friends, is the caliber of person we are blessed to have protecting our freedoms today.
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.