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Taking Flight

Maybe it's the first predictable weather month after a long winter, but May is definitely a month of flight. Charles Lindbergh, fighting fatigue and delirium after being awake more than 55 hours, landed "The Spirit of St. Louis" in Paris on May 21, 1927. Have you ever rolled down the windows of your car when you feel sleepy when driving? Lindbergh did a similar stunt. He buzzed the ocean at only about 10 feet above the water line so that the spray from the ocean would rejuvenate him. At higher altitudes where the temperatures were much colder, he couldn't take the chance to close the windows because he knew he would sleep.

Lindberg was lucky to not disappear like Amelia Earhart. Lindberg almost didn't make it on takeoff when his full fueled and heavy plane climbed over the telegraph wires with only 20 feet to spare. His days as a daredevil and stunt pilot were called into action.

Amelia Earhart knew she wanted to fly after her first flight. After finishing school in Philadelphia she started college in Boston but six months after her first flying lesson she bought her first plane, and school was soon forgotten. She set her first record as a woman when she reached an altitude of 14,000 feet. Soon she received a call to see if she would like to be part of a transatlantic team. She and two men took off from Newfoundland and 21 hours later landed in Burry Port, Wales. Earhart returned to America as a hero and soon to marriage to one of her sponsors, George Putnam. Putnam was a publisher and he soon became her husband. Being true to her beliefs in breaking barriers for women, she referred to her marriage as a "partnership with dual control" (AmeliaEarhart.com). Secretly Putnam and Earhart worked for her to be the second person and the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic. Five years to the day after Lindbergh took off from Long Island, Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Paris. According to the Amelia Earhart website, "Strong north winds, icy conditions, and mechanical problems plagued the flight and forced her to land in a pasture near Londonderry, Ireland. After scaring most of the cows in the neighborhood, she said, 'I pulled up in a farmer's back yard.'" She became a media darling and Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross, the first ever given to a woman. This award sparked controversy and was later limited to military personnel only. The second female recipient was awarded as the result of her work during WWII. On December 28, 1944, the Distinguished Flying Cross was posthumously awarded to 1st Lieutenant Aleda E. Lutz. Lt. Lutz had flown over 800 hours when the C47 hospital plane evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefront near Lyons, Italy, crashed killing all aboard.

Lt. Col. Christine Mau before taking her first flight in the F-35A at Florida's Eglin Air Force Base. Courtesy of NBC News.

This May another woman made an historic flight. Lt. Col. Christine Mau, the deputy commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group, became the first woman to fly the F35 Lightning II, a state-of-the-art fighter. After she finished her flight from Elgin Air Force Base in Florida she said, "Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn't know or care about your gender as a pilot, nor do the ground troops who need your support. You just have to perform." (NBC News.com)

Competitive Drill: Things I've Learned as an Experienced Driller

This coming year marks my tenth year as a driller, and my sixth year as a professional driller. I currently have the longest running active streak of World Championship appearances, stretching back to 2009. During this time, I've learned a lot - not just about drill, but about the community itself.

1. Be active in the community. Where the community gathers has changed over the years, but the community itself has only changed for the better over the years. First, with the Drill Jungle, then with The Driller's Consortium, and now, with the Independent Drill Facebook group, the community is your ticket to more knowledge, more connection, more friends, and an overall more fulfilling experience in the drill community. At the time of this writing, the community tends to gather on the Independent Drill Facebook group. Go join!

2. Give back to the community.There are a lot of gaps in drill culture that need to be fulfilled. Five years ago, there was a lack of traning videos on the internet. This led to my project of Independent Drill, where I started putting up tutorial videos. This opened a lot of doors for me in the wider drill community. A little bit before that, there was an gap in drill culture about shirts and merchandise - what better way to show pride in your community, and to spread the word on drill, than to wear clothing about it? For The Art Clothing closed that gap. There have been several training units formed to give top-class instruction to JROTC units. The best part is that there are more opportunities to give back! Figure out your skill set and work to improve the overall community. You'll be surprised how fulfilling it is.

3. Seek opportunities, they're there. With every company that starts up in drill, there are also a lot of positions to be filled. Every training company needs trainers. Every vendor at a competition needs people to run it. You're more likely to get these positions if you have already given back to the community, but the opportunities to stay in drill after graduating high school or college are there. Real life is what you make of it, and if drill is a part of that, there's no reason to let it go.

4. Have fearlessness. Don't be afraid to enter into a competition you aren't ready for. Don't be afraid to ask for the opportunities you want. Don't be afraid to ruffle some feathers in pursuit of a better community. A lack of fear is your best ally in competition, in taking chances on your project to give back, on really getting to the place you want to be. Be fearless, and the doors will fly open for you.

That's all for this article. Stay tuned for more from Adam Jeup.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 11 years and has competed at IWDC. He owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Adam is a regular contributor to the Bugler. Stay tuned for his exclusive articles on competitive drill!

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