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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cap'n Aux's Most Inspirational Role Model

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

   Folks, as most of you know by now, I've started writing for both Airways Magazine and My first article for NYCA caused quite a stir (mostly positive!) It's an opinion piece about the new FAA study involving deteriorating pilot skills and cockpit automation.

It's called, "Do Commercial Pilots Really 'Suck' at Manual Flying?"

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And now . . .
I’ve been chatting for several posts about how November is “National this month” and “National that day.” In keeping with this theme, today we celebrate the “biggies.”

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  The Fourth Thursday in November is always Thanksgiving. It’s a very special day in The U.S.—second only to Christmas—when we pause and give thanks for all our blessings. 
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Also special this month is Veteran’s Day (11/11—& my nephew David's birthday!), when we honor our men and women who have served in our armed forces. 
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Viet Nam infantry Vet Allen "Hogz" Auxier

Thank you, brother Allen 

Gulf War 1 Vet, Marine Daniel "Ox" Auxier 

& nephew Daniel 

for your service to our country!

   Now, there's one more special event that we already celebrated earlier this month, Aviation History Month, in several posts written by our Blogging in Formation team.

I also combined my post with National Inspirational Role Models Month. In that article, we celebrated pilot hero, Captain Grace Baloyo:
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I know many of you who love to read my blog are young folks hoping to embark on airline careers. I have a great sense of responsibility to inspire you, tell you like it is, and help you to achieve your dreams. In that vein, and in furtherance of National Inspirational Role Models MonthI'd like to honor and share with you that one person who has most inspired me in my life, one whom I Give Thanks to have had in my life.

I would also like to share those traits of his that have inspired and helped me to get where I am today. . .

Oh, and by the way, he was a War Veteran as well . . .

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My personal hero, who continues to inspire me to be my best: 

Chuck Yeager

My Flight Instructor

Wilber and Orville Wright

Charles Lindbergh

Cap'n Sully

Nope, none of the above!

My most inspirational role model of all never flew a plane.

In fact, during my lifetime, 
he was legally blind.

My most inspirational role model of all was . . .

Dad: 1923-1995


Born and raised in the Great Depression, Richard M. "Dick" Auxier joined the Navy in WWII.

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Mom & Dad, circa 1945!

This man was truly part of the “Greatest Generation.”

Like men and women of his time, he never whined or complained, but rolled up his sleeves and 


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RADAR Tech & Petty Officer Auxier sets  sail aboard the USS Preston, Fletcher Class destroyer, DD-795. 

Winning Traits of my father:

Richard Auxier weds Lois Sharpless, circa 1946

—Was a devoted family man
Father of four (Cap'n Aux was the last to come along), my father never so much as raised his voice to my mother. But disobey Dad, and face the consequences!

—Was outgoing
He would strike up conversations with a person at the next dinner table in a restaurant. By the end of the evening, the two families were best of friends!

—Was a Leader
He was always the life of the party. People wanted to be around him, to make him happy and proud. 

My dad, brothers & me. Yep, I'm the little tyke!
—Was self-made

A RADAR tech in the Navy, after WWII he became a traveling salesman for GE.

When he started going blind (from war action), he quit driving and bought a Firestone store, which he walked a mile to and managed nearly to the end of his days.

Dad in a pantomime. I was a wallflower as a kid,
but he helped inspire me to take theatre in high school.
You can't keep me off the boards now!
—Had a fantastic sense of humor

Dad got out of spankings by making his parents laugh.
One of our favorite family stories is when the 1930's jalopy broke down in the middle of nowhere. Grandpa Frank, my dad's dad, jury rigged a fuel siphon to keep the car running so they could limp to the nearest gas station. One catch: Dad had to keep blowing in a tube to keep the fuel pumping to the carburetor! 
When they finally pulled into the gas station, Dad rolled down the window and said, "Fill me up, please!"

A WWII story about Dad shared by my brother Allen: When the Marines had finally liberated an island, during the "island hopping" advance from south to north in the Pacific, the Navy occasionally allowed the sailors a day pass for shore leave.    One time they were on an island, freshly liberated, and went inside a cave to explore. As they were coming back out of the cave, they saw another group of (very timid and hesitant) sailors starting to enter the cave. Dad and his buddy waited quietly for a minute or so, and when the other sailors were inside the cave, they began yelling "Banzai!" and anything they could think of that sounded Japanese. Dad said the other sailors ran out of the cave in terror. Good thing the other group didn't have any hand grenades! 
Cap'n Aux looks like an idiot?
Who cares!
Dad would have approved.

—Wasn't afraid to be silly and play

   To every kid in the 'hood, he was known as "Dad."

   He wouldn't hesitate to drop everything to play "Red Light/Green Light" and "Tag" with the neighborhood gang.

Dad takes my pic flying the Twin Otter
while visiting me in the US Virgin Islands. 

—Respected others, especially his own kids

   Dad was keen to observe his kids, and what they were passionate about, he was passionate about. I am astounded that he actually kept his promise and let me fly a hang glider at age 15. It must have scared him silly, but it changed my life.

   Later, after I achieved my dream with my first "Captainship," he confessed to me: "I wouldn't have given a plug nickel to bet that you could make it as an airline pilot without going into the military. Congratulations!" I was astounded, not because he didn't believe in me, but because he did, and supported me 100% in my dream, no matter how crazy it sounded to him!

What's going on here?
Me playing with my boy Tim.
Dad would have approved.

—Wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty

Later in life, several of my neighbor friends confessed to me that he had privately helped them out of jams, or inspired them to clean up their acts and make something of themselves. Incredible!

—Had a strong sense of Integrity, Honor, and Duty

And inspired others to be better people. 

I know every generation gripes about "kids these days," but it really does seem that kids today are spoiled beyond belief, and have a ridiculous sense of entitlement.

They expect things to be handed to them, and quit at the first sign of trouble. OK, so my generation pampered you way too much. . .

Did my recent post, Top 10 Downers of an Airline Career ( you from trying?

Tough cookies, pal!

Listen up, you aspiring young pilot types, nobody is going to hand you an airline career. You've got to go out and grab it for yourself! It's not too late. You don't need a world war to define who you are. . . 

Take a little inspiration from my father, as I did: stop whining, stop complaining, stop expecting things to be handed to you, roll up your sleeves and

Get the job done!

A stunning photo of my brother Allen visiting our parents' graves at the National Memorial cemetery of Arizona.

Don't believe an Old Man, or an Old Man's Old Man? Then listen to Ashton Kutcher's speech at the Teen Choice Awards!

Another Ashton Gem: "The only job beneath you is NO JOB!":

space, ISS, space station, space shuttle, astronaut
Chris Hadfield's YouTube Video Channel:

Here's astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield's take on the subject: 

   “Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow . . .

Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become.” 
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    1. What an awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

      I have to admit that my Dad is my hero too - especially with everything that he has gone through over the last few years, and still making sure that when we visited South Africa, he would do stuff with us no matter what - it is quite a sight to see him with his walker outside playing mini-golf with my son!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

      1. That's fantastic, Mark! So glad to see he delights in his grandson!

        Those of us who have had truly good, supportive parents definitely have to count our blessings. I don't think I would be anywhere near where I am today without that support!

        Have a Happy Thanksgiving as well, and look forward to seeing you next week for leftovers! ;-)

    2. What a privilege...Thank you for sharing this post and all the amazing people that shaped who you are today. What a great man of a DAD you have. He must be looking at you with his eyes lit up..and having that signature AUXIER smile. He's proud of you.
      BTW, Ashton Kutcher's looks got nothin on your Dad!!

      1. Thank you so much, Mary Mug! It's hard for me to read this post--let alone write it--dry eyed!

        And, yep, my Dad was a STUD! lol! ;-)

    3. Excellent post Eric! Your dad was a great man indeed! It's amazing how much our parents do for us that sets us up for success - most of it at the time I didn't understand. Now that I'm older and have kids of my own, I get it!
      Thanks for sharing a glimpse into you and your family! True Americana.

      1. Thank you, Brent! I always wanted to "pay back" my parents for all of their sacrifice for my success...then I realized, we pay them back by doing the same for our kids!

    4. Great article Eric! It's so great to hear stories about people finding inspiration so close around them! And I find it awesome that he served our country, please thank him for me.

      He's got to be so proud of you,
      Thanks again for the article,

      1. Thanks, Swayne! So glad you had a chance to stop by. It's for the young men like you that I wrote the post--to highlight those qualities that made him--and therefore me--a success. Not that you need it--you're doing just fine on your own!

    5. Eric, a beautiful post and tribute. Happy Thanksgiving. You have so much to be thankful for, and to have grown up with a hero, is wonderful. He helped to create who you are through his example, and I think he would not only approve but be honored.

      Now Ashton's speech was amazing! I had not heard that before. I think we should all be sexy!
      Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Karlene! The post is so personal, I didn't know if others would "get it" or be bored. Glad you enjoyed it!

        Yes, Ashton's speech is awesome, as are his words on the Ellen show. Very inspiring, I hope, to this upcoming generation!

        Happy Thanksgiving!

    6. Happy Thanksgiving Eric,
      Thanks for sharing this non-aviation post with your aviation friends, it helps us understand and appreciate your story. Looks like you were inspired just like you inspire the new generation now,
      Looking for more articles and once again,
      Happy Thanksgiving

      1. Thank you, Gofcharlie 232! Always an honor to see you here!

        Ya, I'm always a little concerned writing about something "nonflying." But I've always found that, if one writes from the heart, the words always find a way to to touch others, regardless of interest--sharing the "human condition!"

        For those few in the universe who DON'T know GC 232, he's got several fantastic cockpit GoPro vids over at (he's also on Facebook, Twitter, etc.)!

    7. Fantastic post! You are the motivational speaker! You are absolutely right - get the job done because the "airline fairy" is not going to give you a shiny new 777 or A380 on a silver platter. You need to work to get there.

      Ryan O'Harren

      1. Thank, Ryan!

        Haha, thanks for the compliment! This one was personal, but I really feel that by highlighting Dad's successful qualities, it may be able to help others in this brutal business. Glad you agree!

        ...Speaking of excellent pilot-photographers, Ryan's got an awesome site at:

        Thanks again or visiting, Ryan!

    8. i am very glad to read this post on your blog. thanks for shearing such kind of inspiring details.
      cheap Luton airport parking


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