05 June, 2013

Profile 78 - "Pardo's Push"

You know, they're all interesting.  And they're all thought-provoking.

And they're all important.

"They" are The Stories I get to hear.   And the more I hear, the more I become convinced that Combat and Peace are more alike than not.  Both have their moments of bone-chilling fear, horror, courage and victory... as well as monotony and, ironically, peace.

For me it works like this—I'll be in the thick of something, from business to yard work and suddenly, I'll remember a story and my perspective will change; somehow, inspiration will come and a fresh outcome will occur.

Maybe that's why studying History is so important—it's the story of "us." Minute by minute, we climb a little higher atop the shoulders of giants of the past.*

But, there are those stories that somehow separate themselves from the grit, grime and guts and take on a glow that's almost, well... holy.

Last week, I received a commission to do one of the most fantastic moments in combat aviation.   The moment is regarded in aviation circles as "Pardo's Push."  In short, an F-4C pilot named Bob Pardo literally pushed his stricken wingman's dead Phantom fighter out of enemy air space in order to give the the crew* a better chance of surviving a bail out and avoiding the hell of a POW camp.

You can google "Pardo's Push" yourself.  If you know anything about aviation, aeronautics, physics or that quality called cojones, you'll shake your head in disbelief.  But it's all true and right now, I've got the chance to dig a little deeper and learn more about the man himself.   This is going to be so cool!

Oh.  And the guy who commissioned me?  There's a story in that, too.  He stated,  "(Bob's) selfless act of love and compassion for (his) wingman and complete disregard for personal safety, is among the greatest acts of valor ever exhibited. Quite simply (Bob is), and will always be, my hero."

In short, he wants a picture of Pardo's F-4 on his wall for inspiration.   He too get's the "standing on the shoulders of giants" quote. 

This story would normally just end with two like-minded guys toasting a minor business deal.  I'd get to work while he cleared space on the wall of his den and you'd see the final work. For better or worse.

But like Pardo's Push, the story isn't a normal deal.  Instead, the Commissioner is someone who ended up with the very fate that Pardo risked so much to avert.

Yeah, my Patron was a POW himself.

Stick around. 

This one is important.  For more reasons than you might be thinking...


*F-4's had two people aboard - pilot and weapons officer.