Living to Learn From It
By Lieutenant Commander David K. Sidewand, U.S. Navy
Crucible events are life-changing, frequently traumatic, and almost always unexpected. Mine, ejection from an out-of-control jet trainer, set in motion a series of events that changed my outlook on
life, my career in the Navy, and my leadership philosophy. The need to take care of the people who work for me was strongly reinforced, as were the importance of making ethical decisions and remaining adaptable in the face of tumultuous change.
Just Another Exciting Day
The morning of 6 January 1999, I was well on my way to fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a naval aviator. I was assigned to Training Squadron Nine (VT-9), stationed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Mississippi. At the time, VT-9 flew the T-2C Buckeye, a twin-engine jet trainer that the Navy had used for about 40 years. I was working my way through the intermediate strike training syllabus and had about 25 hours of flight time in the T-2C, not counting time in the simulators.