Rick Perry, one of the latest Republican presidential hopefuls, was a military C-130 transport pilot, 1972-77. He claims this makes him “mission oriented.”
But there are two very different kinds of missions. One is lifelong, including spiritual missions like those of Saint Francis and Martin Buber, and social spiritual missions like those of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
The others are immediate, and as a World War 2 bomber pilot, I know about that kind which can range from something simple, like bomb a target, to more recent and much more complex, like seek out and destroy Osama bin Laden.
Transport pilots do important work delivering troops and supplies, and when each mission is over, they can relax. After each bombing mission in Italy. I was debriefed, offered a shot of bourbon, then off to a shower and chow. I left the long term mission—victory in WW2 —to General Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Rick Perry’s experience as an airplane driver (that’s what fighter pilots called us bomber pilots) doesn’t begin to equip him to guide the U.S.A. through its most perilous era since World War 2.