Dawn Patrol


Dawn Patrol connotes many things, but most of all for me, the sense of being up before anyone else and being on watch.

For what? Who knows, but then that’s the point.

After joining the Air Force in 1976 and being deployed overseas, my first “Exercise” (USAF fighters come from US for one to two weeks, to fly and do stuff from a NATO base) that I participated directly in was named Dawn Patrol, Gioia del Colle, Italy.

My drive this morning, 1:56, 127 miles, fastest do far this week, gives me too much time to think.

I think of duty.

“You have to go out, you don’t have to come back”

Taking this class now, which is all about, keeping your passengers safe, makes me cringe when I think of the two captains, Italian and Korean, who were the first off their sinking ships. Two countries I dearly love, yet the Desks have let people be in charge who had no honor, no sense of duty.

In the whole terrible episode recently in South Korea, with a high school class perishing on the ferry to Jeju Island, the only person who took responsibility was the poor vice principal of the school.  In his suicide letter, he apologized for advocating for the trip, and coordinating it.

You have to go out, you don’t have to come back.


Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

One thought on “Dawn Patrol”

  1. David Pilling wrote a good article for the Financial Times about the Sewol tragedy.


    Korean students should continue to take boat trips to Jejudo, that big volcanic Korean island. It was a great idea, just spend more money in the future.
    The company that sent out this ferry nearly went bankrupt not all that long ago, and the above article states that the crew included “many” temp workers. Did the captain ever have the feeling that his superiors cared about him? A captain should feel like a captain, and a captain should receive the occasional gift from grateful passengers. I’ve seen this happen, so it is not rare. That was on the Yangzi River. The Sewol went down in the ocean.
    Faulty equipment, carelessness with the cargo. These could be factors beyond the captain’s control. There is no way the captain and crew were just complete assholes. People are not like that.
    That poor vice-principal. So brave and so human.
    When I think about Korea, it’s about people in improved circumstances who pay a lot of attention to love. I envy them often.

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