, , , , , , ,

Top HatMind – The Top Hats have a special place in my heart because it is the squadron I went to USAF Fighter Weapons school from, and then almost 7 years later commanded. The Top Hats greet you with “Dressed to Kill” and their mascot is Mr. Bones.  The Top Hats were a night flying squadron designed to “top off” newly graduated F-16 pilots’ skills with Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) and Targeting Pods. In addition, the squadron was also the only F-16 fast Forward Air Controller-Airborne (FAC-A) school-house. I could go on for pages about all the unbelievable guys and gals that made up this team, but I’ll keep it to a paragraph with fill ins at a later date. Becoming a commander is in many ways like becoming a parent. I look back at the many good ones that I have already talked about, and some that didn’t get any mention (Haze, Bees, Cluso, Nut, Monty, BC, Jethro, Tap, DB, Bags, Nubes, Babba, Schtick) with much appreciation. Once in command you truly understand the responsibility, for all the good and all the bad that comes with command, it is a privilege to be cherished. The time in command goes quick, just like being a parent, so here is a plug to hug and squeeze your kids. Below are but a few pictures of the many stories I will share at a later time. First is Lisa and I at a Top Hat graduation. Then are the graduates, they were full of pranks, like stealing SHIP’s bomb and delivering it my my house. The Mad Mallards from hell did not let that go easy though. Finally, pictures of my fini flight with the Top Hats and my kick ass crew Chiefs.
Top Hat Graduation
Newest Graduates
The Bomb
Big Red Truck
Ransom note
Top Hat Fini Flight
Me and my crew Chiefs
Body – Endurance
Photo By Dan Reshef

Photo By Dan Reshef

Row 2000m
Flight Leads/Instructors
Row 5000m
Weapons Instructor Course
Row 5000m
Run 3 Miles
100m Large Tire Flips
Recipe of the Day 
Photo by Bon Appetit, D. Prince

Photo by Bon Appetit, D. Prince

Chicken and Cherry Butter Lettuce Salad
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs , fat from pan reserved
4 thick slices rustic bread, crusts removed, torn into 3/4″ pieces
1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed, pitted, and lightly crushed
3 heads butter lettuce, cored and torn into pieces
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Whisk first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir; set aside. Remove crispy chicken skin and tear into pieces. Pull chicken meat from bones and tear into pieces; discard bones. Reserve skin and meat.
Heat chicken fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread to skillet and toast, turning frequently, until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper while still hot.
Place chicken meat in a large bowl. Add cherries, butter lettuce, radishes, and chives and drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Divide salad among plates and garnish with croutons and chicken skin.
Spirit – 
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.