During my Ramstein Air Base assignment, I bought a Sonor drum set for the simple reason that I always wanted to play the drums, and dreams are always worth chasing even if you don’t ever catch them.
A few F-16 pilots in the 86th Wing wanted to jam after work, so I brought my drums into the squadron and they met me after work to rock the house in the 86th OSS briefing room – here I am at the drums living my dream.
They liked to play, “AC/DC” and, “Metallica;” so we worked up a set list – that I still have packed away in a box today – and just rocked together after work in the 86th OSS briefing room.
They were all excellent guitarists, and I did my best to keep up with them – and we even played a few of my original songs.
I was also the designated singer for the session, which was a lot of fun – I had the words written out on the music stand to help me with the lyrics.
After a while I stepped away from the drum set and took the camera to be sure to capture the session on film, and did my best to take some, “rock star” pictures of everyone.
I was always amazed at the high-powered talent that surrounded me in the Air Force fighter community during my career – it was simply amazing to walk into a room and realize everyone was sharper than you were.
Every pilot and WSO had a unique and high-powered history, qualifications and background that had brought them to this point in their lives; with talents and skills that went beyond life in the Air Force and flying jets.
Although I had my own unique background and twisting path as well to reach this point in my career, I always felt that I had to struggle and work twice as hard as the rest just to try and keep up with everyone else in the squadron; since every chapter of my career seemed to take tremendous effort on my part – often at the very limits of my talent and ability – for me to be successful.
The fact that so much talent was concentrated in any one fighter squadron – officer and enlisted alike – made for an amazing environment where excellence was the standard every day of the year, and failure was never an option…not on our watch.
So it was a special event for me to rock with these guys, who could have all played for a crowd of thousands – let alone the few onlookers that were watching from the back of the briefing room; it was an evening of pure satisfaction for me to participate, and another step along the path of my dreams to live, “out loud” and just rock.
For me it was another chapter of my dream to be a songwriter, but I found myself becoming the musician that I had never considered becoming – because like a cut diamond – a dream can sparkle in the sunshine and cast many different facets of the same ray of sunshine in many separate directions simultaneously.
Life is such an opportunity to explore and experience, needing to be lived as a participant and not as a bystander – and the prize isn’t always to cross the finish line first or even at all – but to have traveled along the way in whatever capacity you were able to.
We had a blast and rocked through the evening – and, “For One Night Only” (like a marquee sign) it was an amazing experience for me to rock with these musicians – and one I’ll never forget. 🙂