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Skip Davenport

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  1. Share with everyone --- hope they enjoy the story.
  2. LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP: From a Janitor Wharton Leadership Digest, December 2001 By Colonel James E. Moschgat, Commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas William “Bill†Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor. While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory. Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!†in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties. Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe it was is physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level? Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford...well, he was just a janitor. That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire ... with no regard for personal safety ... on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.†It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States ...†“Holy cow,†I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.†We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday. We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces. He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.†Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?†He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.†I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to. However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst-Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.†Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor†to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, starspangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning†in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron. As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.†With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town. A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.†Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven’t seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years, he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are ten I’d like to share with you. 1. Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.†Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.†2. Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the “janitor†label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team. 3. Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos†to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us. 4. Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst? 5. Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar. 6. Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter†on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same. 7. Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should - don’t let that stop you. 8. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it. 9. Pursue Excellence. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.†Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home. 10. Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn. Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons. Dale Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas, comments: And now, for the “rest of the storyâ€: Pvt William John Crawford was a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company L 142nd Regiment 36th Division (Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of Honor for his actions on Hill 424, just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno. On Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell, halting the platoon’s advance. Pvt Crawford could not be found and was assumed dead. The request for his MOH was quickly approved. Major General Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill Crawford’s father, George, on 11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near Pueblo. Nearly two months after that, it was learned that Pvt Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany. During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle. Bill overpowered him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard unconscious. A German doctor’s testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death. To stay ahead of the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched 500 miles in 52 days in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one potato a day. An allied tank column liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his first hot shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before retiring as a MSG and becoming a janitor. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford. William Crawford passed away in 2000. He is the only U.S. Army veteran and sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Note: Co. James Moschgat can be contacted at [email protected]. A profile of William Crawford is available at http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_crawford.html, and his Medal of Honor citation can be found at www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohiia1.htm
  3. 1977 I was one of two pilots that took 7 T-38's to Portugal for Project Peace Talon. The plan was to fly them over thu Goose, Tully etc in formation with a T-39 for navigation. During the briefing with the ATC General a smart ass loggie type said we take the wing off F-5's load them on C-5's & a T-38 is just a small F-5. I could have killed him on the spot! So that's what happened. After the birds were painted at Webb. We flew them to Kelly loaded up a C-5 with our birds, AGE equipment the RAM team and with one air refueling landed in Torrejon Spain to crew rest. The plan was to fly the C-5 to Lisbon in the morning for a big PR event put together one of the T-38's a FCF it that afternoon. Departure time for Lisbon came and the C-5 had some problem with "kneeling" and would be able to raise the gear. I said can't you fly it over gear down? Calls to the MAC Hq for approval. Long story we get to Lisbon late and the Wx is doggie popoo. We meet and greet all the DV's while the C-5 is unloaded and everything put in the hanger. That afternoon the RAM team rolls out the first bird for a picture shoot but no flying wx still sucked. The next day we did the FCF -- burner climb to 410 after takeoff switched to ATC asked to call out of 5000 we reported our of 10,000 so switched freq's and asked to report out of 20,000 we reported level at 410. Great next 9 months flying with some great Portuguese pilots.
  4. check this out for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-114_Hellfire
  5. This is a letter writen by my cousin a Vietnam 67/68 Marine. I thought it appropriate to share this Memorial Day weekend. I know many of you ride and may or may not know of the Patriot Guard. Thanks cuz you continue to be a great Marine. This a story about a US soldier, Sgt. Donald Gordon Wylie, but first a little background to put it in perspective. Most of you are aware that I ride a good old "all-American iron" Harley-Davidson motorcycle. My lovely wife Loretta gave it to me for Christmas in 2006 because she knew I loved to ride & it's become a pretty important part of my life. Shortly after that a friend of mine discovered another all-American thing that has also become a part of my life, the Patriot Guard Riders. When he & I both understood what the organization was about we both became members. I have been riding with the PGR whenever I could, mostly in support of their primary mission, which is to honor & respect the veterans of this country. The PGR performs honor escort missions for the funeral services of fallen warriors, whether they were active duty & recently were killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, were stationed stateside or were survivors of WWII, Korea or Vietnam & died of natural causes. One aspect of the missions has always been to shield the family members from outside war protestors like the Westboro Baptist Church bunch & their terrible posters & chants to draw attention to their sick cause..............certainly not my idea of what a "church" is supposed to be about, regardless of denomination. Our mission is to honor the veterans as well as to support & protect their familes in their time of greatest loss & hardship. In the 4+ years I've ridden with the PGR I've had some memorable experiences, over & above the reason for being there to start with which is to honor their lives & service to their country as a US veteran. Some of those positive memories have been due to the tremendous size of the escort group, the large number of riders that gave their time to be there regardless of the weather or road conditions.......some were due to the overwhelming support of thousands of people that lined the route from the funeral home or church to the cemetery, or the absolute precision of the military Honor Guard rendering a rifle salute & Taps. Once, due to a very small family funeral with few attending the local services, I even had the distinct honor of being a pall bearer for a US Army WWII veteran that fought from Normandy through Germany & was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage & dedication to his men & country. I helped tp carry that warrior to his final resting place. That's the background part, forgive me but I've never been accused of being brief, but I want you to understand this, so stay with me here. This past Monday, May 24th, I rode another PGR honor escort mission, the most memorable so far. This one was for Sgt. Donald Gordon Wylie. Sgt. Wylie was born in 1878 & died of apparent natural causes in St. Louis in 1928. During that time he served as a US Army Sergeant during the Spanish American War, was honorably discharged after & subsequently joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a journalist during WWI in France & Belgium. Again he was honorably discharged & lived for some time in California & Oklahoma before moving to St. Louis. Not many details or records are available on Sgt. Wylie. When he died in 1928 those that knew him knew of no family members to contact upon his death. As a veteran the policy was to cremate his body. With no one to claim his remains they were placed in an urn (basically a copper coffee type can container), label it with his name & what details were available & place it on a shelf in the basement of the mortuary that "processed" him . Fortunately there is another terriffic all-American organization called the "Missing In America Project". One of their objectives is to search the funeral homes & mortuaries in this country that have these unclaimed veterans remains on their shelves, & research as best they can with the internet resources currently available, to see if there are any surviving relatives the remains can be turned over to. Sgt. Wylie was discovered on a shelf in a local St. Louis mortuary in 2008 & research began on him. Partly due to the fact that the Canadian government was involved, due to his service during WWI, it took the better part of 2 years to bring closure & the fact that there were no relatives that could be located. The Missing In America Project people arranged for proper burial & the Patriot Guard Riders volunteered for an honor escort. After 82 years on a shelf in a mortuary, (probably more than several shelves & mortuaries, as some closed & the veteran's remains were transferred to others) Sgt. Wylie was about to be on his way to a formal burial service. 12 PGR riders met at the Debo Funeral Home in Fulton Missouri & escorted Sgt. Wylie some 80 miles to the Jacksonville Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville, Missouri. This is a state of Missouri Veterans Cemetery located just of US 63 between Macon & Moberly, & is a truly beautiful place, manicured & immaculate. It was a hot late spring day, cloudless bright blue sky & a gentle breeze blowing. There were about 50 people attending the service, including other PGR members, a PGR Chaplain, a representatives from the Missouri Governor's Office that presented Sgt. Wylie with a WWI medal, Missouri Veterans Commission staff, local residents, a St. Louis news team & a full US Army Honor Guard rifle detail & bugler. After 82 years in a dark basement Sgt. Wylie is now in a small crypt in a wall close by other US military veterans, out in the open air surrounded by green grass & American flags. There are many negative stories everyday that hammer us senseless.........political curruption, corporate bailouts, high % unemployment figures, economic decline, stock market losses, global environmental disasters, US casualty rates...........gloom & doom on almost every front. But this is a story of what American people can do if they have the will to take care of their own, if they imagine an organization of like minded people that will volunteer to help. There are probably thousands of small "grass roots" stories like this every day across the country somewhere, but they really don't make too much impact on the world as typically reported by the main stream media. Regardless of that fact, this is what America is all about...........this story of finding lost veterans & providing an honorable resting place for them & having other proud Americans escort them there on their last journey...... & all the other stories with similar sacrifices & displays of respect. This country has definitely seen better times, but we've also seen worse times.............American people are still strong & we will prevail. God bless America!
  6. looks good would like to see the nose of a Talon 1 but that is just me -- I would buy $10.00 worth. Skip
  7. Glenn Thanks for posting the photos from your dads collection.
  8. Well, I for one am glad he isn't there. However, he will be at a different National Commentary. But that's only to show face as he doesn't respect the sacrifice of those that have given there all so he can be where he is today.
  9. Guess I am being a Monday morning quarterback. But why chain the gear down if it was already down locked and safe? As far as the prop low oil lite -- I recall the procedure being changed years ago and you had options weather to shut down or not. But that's been over 20 years and gallons of beers. Most important you all did #1 and got the bird safetly on the ground.
  10. Well, said Hank -- I think your daughter has your attitude and values -- she had the "guts to try"
  11. Published in Northwest Florida Daily News on May 22, 2010 http://tinyurl.com/2vmkvvv God speed Camando One you were a warriors warrior
  12. Supposed to be the Air Park at Hurbie -- FYI she is at Hurbie and was the Talon 1 static display bird for the WWCT reunion Sat.
  13. The Memorial will be 2 July -- the ACA is handling the arangements --
  14. That crash changed a lot of SOF NVG procedures
  15. Green lite -- away goes 7 rolls of AF Form 1's -- Chaff Chaff break left :)
  16. passing light -- must be for when you finnaly catch up to that bug smasher 172 you can pass LOL
  17. Simple transition -- maybe -- but who would want to spend the $$ to mod a bird the STAR mod for a static display bird when you can get one going into retirement already modded?
  18. 551 was our Project 46 bird. I was flying when the skyanchor failed on a 1,500 lb pick up -- sounded like a shotgun went off in the cockpit!
  19. Back when I was pilot member on the Talon II crew station group. Lockheed gave the AF an unsolicited proposal for the Talon II flight deck looked very much like this. But wiser Big MAC heads didn't believe it would work and scuttled it in favor of the current configuration.
  20. Skip Davenport


    A DFC? sure reads like it should have been the Navy Cross to me.
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