21 September 2007


I saw a pair of F-16 fighter jets flying yesterday, and my girls asked where they were going to fight. I said they weren't going to fight anyone today - they were probably just going to practice. And then it hit me that being a fighter pilot is sort of like having a blackbelt in karate.

It's an admirable accomplishment, achieved by only a few. It's the result of a lot of work and training. It's impressive, teaches valuable skills like strength, patience, teamwork, etc, etc... but from a combat perspective it's also sort of irrelevant, because nobody really fights that way these days.

Yes, fighter pilots do engage in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not of the air-to-air variety. Their mission is almost 100% air-to-ground, and while that has its own challenges and dangers, it's not the same as an old-fashioned dogfight. I'm probably oversimplifying things a bit... but only a bit.

No comments: