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Cadet - 18. Cadet First Class • III

While in Washington the previous December, following the conversation about the incipient community for homeless veterans in Colorado Springs, Brett insisted Ritch accompany him to Heroes Haven for a visit between Christmas and New Year’s. “You haven’t been there in a while. The place’s grown and matured. It really is like a small town neighborhood.”

“I’m sure the documentary winning an Oscar helped them raise money.” Ritch already had a DVD of A Home for Warriors stashed in his backpack to carry back to Colorado.

“It did, but more importantly, it raised awareness of the issue. A few similar places have joined together to share ideas and solutions to issues affecting residents.”

“The foundation’s still supporting this one, right?”

“To a degree.” Brett stepped on the gas and his old Ford pickup zoomed by a car apparently out for a leisurely, Sunday drive in the middle of the week. “We made a commitment to them similar to what we did with your aunt’s rescue center. Guaranteed contributions for five years. We’ll keep supporting them, but at a lower level after the initial cash injections. They’re doing okay raising money.”

“Are we going to do the same for the place in Colorado?”

Brett was a child at heart. Getting him to have a serious conversation without him injecting levity into it was difficult. Surprisingly, he did not crack jokes during the drive to Delaware. “Not sure that’d be a smart move, Ritch.” His acceptance of his younger’s son adult nickname was another change in the man; he had not used “Ritchie” much during the week.

“Why?”

“Because all these efforts should be supported by the public and not only by us. Of course, you’re on the board now, so you could make a proposal.” Brett appeared lost in thought for a moment. “Tell you what. Let’s talk to César, CJ, and Ozzie tonight. Maybe we can come up with something to help the Colorado place raise money and get some positive publicity, like the documentary did for this place. I’ll even push to throw a little money their way.”

Back at the Academy in January, Ritch thought he had enough balls in the air at the time and did not feel like adding another one. The family gave him space, but blindsided him during spring break. The little money Brett had mentioned throwing the organization turned out to be a five-figure check. The foundation’s board had met without him and approved the contribution.

To gauge the interest of the Colorado Springs organization, Ritch called Kyle Bryson the day after returning to the Academy. According to the article Ritch had read, Kyle was the executive director. Ritch mentioned the small contribution he had made, told Kyle he had an idea for recruiting volunteer labor, and a proposal for a large fundraiser. He also mentioned having another check for him. They agreed to meet as soon as Ritch could get a couple of free hours and a pass.

The following Saturday, Ritch drove Heinrich over. The Porsche attracted the attention of everyone working on staking out what Ritch assumed were outlines for houses to be built. A lanky man with scruffy facial hair wearing Carhartt overalls and a backwards ball cap peeled himself away from the crowd and approached the Cayenne. “Ritch Peterson? I’m Kyle Bryson. Nice car, dude.”

“Thanks. It belongs to the family, but I get to drive it until I graduate from the Academy.”

“Nicer wheels than I’ve ever had.” Kyle gave Ritch a crooked grin. “I went back and looked for the contribution you mentioned. I was surprised an Air Force cadet could afford to give us a hundred bucks, since I know how little you guys get paid. It makes sense now I see what you drive. Come on, let me show you around and introduce you to a few people. We can chat after.”

“Actually, before we do that, let me give you this.” Ritch pulled an envelope out of his uniform’s pocket and handed it over. He had come armed with a foundation check for ten grand and a rough draft of a proposal he held back for the moment. “I was home for spring break last week and the family agreed to make a contribution to help you guys out.”

Kyle’s eyes widened when he saw the amount. “Goddamn! I could kiss you right now, son.” Kyle looked to be in his mid-thirties, so him calling Ritch “son” made the younger man grin.

“Thanks, I’ll pass. You already know I’m at the Academy, and one of my fathers’ a retired Marine. We all support the military.”

Kyle tilted his head and looked either confused or surprised. Maybe both. “One of your fathers?”

Ritch steeled himself. “Yes, sir. I have two fathers, and a gay brother married to another man. The four of them were behind a documentary about

A Home for Warriors? You have got to be shitting me. Your family was behind it? I have fucking royalty in front of me!”

Ritch blushed. “I had nothing to do with it, sir. I was too young when Brad lived there. Once I turned eighteen, I joined the family foundation’s board of directors.”

“Damn! You realize watching the documentary inspired me to get this place going? I recall Sergeant Kennedy praising the four gay men who were the driving force behind the project. I tried to get in touch with him afterwards, but was unable to reach him.”

“Really?” Ritch grinned. “I’ll text him and have him call you if you want. However, you should really talk to my brother and my dad. CJ used to be on the Heroes Haven board of directors. Cap took over his spot when my brother was posted overseas by the State Department.”

Ritch was introduced to the volunteers, and the one identified as the construction manager painted a picture of what he saw happening in the coming months. Ritch ended up sitting on the tailgate of Kyle’s pickup afterwards and handed the man the one sheet proposal he had drafted.

As Ritch described each section, Kyle could not agree fast enough. He glanced at the Davenport Family Foundation’s check repeatedly. Each time, he shook his head and smiled. When Ritch left by the end of the afternoon, Kyle was on his way to call Brett. Ritch had somebody else to talk to.

Following the chain of command, Ritch first approached his group commander. The Cadet Colonel was supportive, kicked the proposal up to the vice wing commander, who brought in the wing commander. Armed with the cadet hierarchy’s endorsement, Ritch composed an email to Major General Anita C. Moore, Commandant of Cadets. A few days later, he was summoned to her office.

“Are you sure you want to be a pilot, Peterson?” Major General Moore later admitted she had spent time dissecting his proposal. “You’d be a good addition to our public relations department.”

“Sorry, ma’am, I would wither if I was stuck behind a desk all the time.” Realizing that was what the woman did, Ritch tried to remove his foot from his mouth. “No disrespect meant, ma’am. I’m just not cut out for that type of work.”

“You could have fooled me, Cadet. You garnered positive attention for yourself and the Academy by saving a teen’s life. Feedback to the Air Force Times article about the animal shelter was also positive, and I expect your latest project will make us look good again. Approved. Figure out the details concerning your squadron volunteering, and we’ll work with you to make it happen.”

Ritch had requested the small houses community become the Dirty Dozen’s project. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ll have it done by the end of the week.” Ritch hesitated for a moment. “I have one more request, ma’am. There are a couple of cadets in other squadrons I’d like to involve.”

“The Wing?”

Ritch was surprised. “You know about our group, ma’am?”

“Cadet, it’s my job to know. Approved, subject to their squadron commanders agreeing. Let me know if anyone gives you grief.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.”

“Guess we’re done. You’re dismissed.”

Ritch stood to leave. As he opened the door, the woman spoke again.

“Good job, Peterson.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Get to work, Cadet.”

 

It took no time for Ritch to realize putting on a benefit performance of the magnitude he envisioned would be fraught with difficulties. He was not a participant in every email sent or conversation held, but he was copied in or made aware of every one.

Surprisingly, securing the talent was in some ways the easiest. Chipper had agreed to perform the moment Ritch asked. “The Squad sticks together, bud. You want me to sing to help something you support, I’m there. Although considering CJ, Brad, and Cap’s relationship with the original Heroes Haven, this one’s a no-brainer.”

As a result of negotiations between the organization in Delaware and the one in Colorado—encouraged and brokered by Brettthe western location adopted the same name. Heroes Haven and Heroes Haven-Colorado Springs remained independent but agreed to consult and assist each other as necessary.

Chipper was on a world tour begun in the first half of 2022, to be completed in September 2023. The earliest he could return to Colorado was October. Although Ritch wanted to rope in the Colorado Springs Rodeo Association as a sponsor, providing a location and handling ticketing and crowd management, he and Kyle Bryson tentatively planned to erect a covered stage on the open fields surrounding the houses under construction.

JT Howard’s eventual agreement to support the event on Veteran’s Day meant there would be less cost to Heroes Haven-Colorado Springs or a potential underwriter. More money would flow into the group’s coffers that way.

Major General Moore also came through as promised. Once the date and location had been nailed down, the Academy promoted the event as a cadet-initiated community project and agreed to absorb the cost of lodging for Chipper and his five-person band at Rampart Lodge. With the help of JT Howard, Ritch secured complimentary transportation from one of the major airlines. The crew would all be locals employed by the rodeo, hired and paid for by them, or volunteers.

Unfortunately, the Academy stressed Ritch’s role, and he was reluctantly forced to grant interviews to print, cable, and over-the-air media. The local NBC affiliate interviewed him, Bryson, and Moore in person; Chipper they reached via Zoom.

Ritch thought maybe because in 2020 Chipper had been a participant in The Voice, an NBC Universal property, the network picked up the local station’s report for national broadcast. The Today show asked to interview Ritch.

“Joining us now, live from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, is the young man behind this project, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Richard Peterson.” The morning show’s host appeared on one half of the screen while Ritch was slotted in on the other one. “Good morning, Ritch. Sorry you had to wake up so early to be with us.”

“Good morning, ma’am. It’s not a problem. We have a mission to accomplish at the Academy, and we’re up early every day, working towards our objectives.” Ritch was certain the brass would eat up the comment. The internal groan was due to the realization he was looking at the politics of his efforts.

“I’m sure you’re kept busy at school. Why did you undertake the project?”

“Because of my family, ma’am. I was taught if I saw a problem and could help alleviate it, I had to step in. Heroes Haven–Colorado Springs was in need of financial support, and I saw a way to help them raise funds. Assisting veterans in need is close to my family’s heart.”

“Ah, yes, your family. Allow me to talk about them for a minute.” The show’s host mentioned Owen, César, and Brett, saying a word or two about each. “Last, but not least, is your brother, CJ. To remind the audience, CJ Abelló is an activist, diplomat, and author who’s been our guest several times. His most recent appearance was earlier this year after his second book, Diplomat Dad – Un Año en Mexico, was published. I contacted CJ and asked him to share some thoughts about you. If we could roll the tape?”

In the pre-recorded bit, CJ lauded his brother for his commitment to the Air Force and helping others. “I’m proud of my brother, the man he’s become, and the Air Force officer he’ll be,” was his closing line.

“Pretty high praise from someone rumored to one day run for office.” The woman’s comment was enticing, but Ritch did not take the bait. No way was he going to share what CJ and Owen had discussed while in Key West.

Ritch was literally sweating. He had never had to deal with the hoopla usually associated with CJ, and didn’t enjoy the attention. He thought a small amount of humor might make it all more palatable. “He has to say that, ma’am. Our fathers would clip the back of his head if he didn’t.”

The hostess laughed. “I’ve known your brother for a few years, and that’s the type of comment he would make. Let’s talk about Chipper. I understand you and he are childhood friends.”

The interview lasted a couple more interminable minutes. If he ever did anything like the benefit concert again, he would enlist someone to be the spokesperson. Being groomed, alert, polite, and wearing make-up before sunrise was not the way he preferred to start his days. Once the cameraman gave the cut off signal, he could not get out of the room fast enough. He did agree to another appearance nearer the day of the concert. At least Chipper would be part of that one, taking the pressure off him.

Before tickets went on sale to the public, Ritch bought fifty of them. He had told the Academy he would personally underwrite his squadron and his friends attending. He did not want free passes reducing the amount raised.

From the semester’s start through concert’s day, the Dirty Dozen and The Wing were fixtures at the old farm land that would one day soon welcome residents. The cadets performed manual labor and helped with behind-the-scenes projects. Thankfully, JT Howard was true to his word, and the rodeo’s permanent staff handled many of the show’s logistics. One less thing for Ritch to stress over.

He was part of the small delegation meeting Chipper and his band when they flew in on Thursday before the concert. Not wanting to be the only cadet in the group of Heroes Haven and Academy big shots, he asked for two other cadets to be part of the reception committee. He was overwhelmed with volunteers, but ended up tapping the cadet wing’s commander and vice commander to join him. Right after he invited them, and they accepted, he knew he had earned tons of brownie points. It amazed him how his childhood friend had become such a sought after celebrity.

 

“How do you put up with this shit?” Ritch had reluctantly agreed to be interviewed again for the Today show, this time with Chipper at his side. Suffering the application of junk to his face bothered him even more than having to appear on national TV. After the last interview, he had been severely abused about wearing makeup while in uniform.

“I only get made up when I go on air.” Chipper had participated in a handful of specials since his appearance on The Voice. “I sweat too much during concerts, and it would all run off.”

The network had requested the interview be conducted outdoors, with the mountains and the striking Polaris Hall in the background. Their segment would air as the sun rose in Colorado. The crew placing a small heater between the two high chairs helped with the near freezing temperatures.

“Thanks for lending me the hat, bro. I’m keeping it.” Chipper wore a long, quilted overcoat and an Air Force Academy knit beanie. Ritch was in uniform wearing his flight cap.

Mercifully, most questions were aimed at Chipper. When done, Ritch could not disconnect the microphone and run indoors fast enough. While Chipper and the band headed to the rodeo grounds for rehearsal and audio checks, Ritch had classes to attend.

 

The Air Force, like the rest of the Pentagon, was always interested in improving relations with Congress. After all, the elected officials held the keys to the piggy bank. That was what Ritch thought when ordered to attend a reception the night before the game and concert.

The announcement the state’s governor would be in attendance at both, to show his support for the Air Force and all military veterans, was laughed at. Posts by his kids on social media made it clear he was attending at their insistence.

The flimsy excuse put out by Colorado’s chief executive precipitated similar announcements by both the state’s senators and a couple of representatives.

“I don’t know how my brother likes this schmoozing shit. They’ll all stand around drinking free booze and talking crap.” Ritch had been ordered to escort Chipper and his band to the cocktail party.

“Bro, think about it. You’re about to meet the Secretary of the Air Force. Shit like that may just get you in one of those fucking planes you want to fly much faster.” Chipper grabbed his overcoat and palmed the key card. “Let’s go. Wouldn’t do for the guest of honor to show up late.”

Ritch grinned. “Yeah, they’d probably blame it on me and demote me.”

With all the politicos coming to town, the Academy organized the reception and informed Washington. The Air Force Secretary promptly announced their attendance. Ritch was able to wrangle three additional invitations. They went to the group commander, the cadet wing’s commander, and his second in command. Graduation was a long way off, and he did not want his superiors upset at him for showing them up.

“Bro, and you complain about your brother? That move was smart and political as shit.” Chipper had asked if any of his friends would be there.

“Asshole.”

The reception was held at the Falcon Club, adjacent to Rampart Lodge. Ritch grinned, thinking how much things had changed since his first year at the Academy. Then, a similar event had been held for Brad Kennedy, and Ritch had not been invited.

He had a couple of widely spaced out Scotches. In between, he sipped club soda with a lime. At least the club had better quality booze than Hap’s Place. Much to his chagrin, Ritch had to speak to every politician in the room. The Secretary of the Air Force took him around and personally introduced him after Major General Moore had called him over so Ritch could meet the boss. The secretary, during the introductions, credited Ritch with being the driving force behind the weekend’s events. Proof of the heart and drive of Air Force officers. He also stressed how important it was to “support cadets like Colonel Peterson, who will be the officers protecting our nation in the future.” Ritch felt used.

 

“Welcome to Falcon Stadium!” The announcer’s voice boomed over the sound system. “Please direct your attention to midfield for the presentation of the colors.” The boom of a pair of F-16s flying overhead was greeted by a nearly as loud cheer from the crowd.

“And now… please rise… and remove your hats as international recording star and Grammy winner, Chipper, sings the National Anthem to honor America.” It seemed impossible, but the cheering was a tad louder.

“No hat, no gloves, no coat. How the fuck is he not freezing?” Edrice, wearing several layers like his friends, shook his head.

In a move begun a few years before, the November football game had been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Schools in Mountain and Pacific Time Zones had figured out by playing morning games, they could be featured on TV in prime time instead of late night. Although not an issue at the Air Force Academy, the early start also reduced the number of inebriated fans in the stands.

“He’s sitting with us, right?” Joel pulled the watch cap a little lower over his head.

“Second half.” Ritch had spent the previous morning and evening with Chipper, but The Wing had yet to meet him. “He has to hang with the VIPs first. Did you hear the governor’s kids threatened to run away if he didn’t bring them to the concert?”

At the end of the first half, Ritch’s phone vibrated. The text informed him Chipper was on his way. Ritch stood and squeezed his way out towards the end of the row. Still wearing the Air Force sweatshirt and knit hat Ritch had loaned him, augmented by his long overcoat and gloves, Chipper was delivered by two cadet captains. Ritch returned the proffered salutes and dismissed them.

“Bro, where’s your entourage? We saved seats for all of you.” Ritch, as usual, sat with his squadron, although members of The Wing not in it had joined the Dirty Dozen for this one game.

“The pussies are all from California and Florida. They whined it’s too cold for them, so they decided to stay in the warm press box.”

“How was it up there?” Ritch was extremely happy he had not been ordered to join that crowd.

“Same people as last night. You didn’t miss much.”

“Okay, guys. In case you’ve been sleeping, you know who this is.” Ritch placed an arm around Chipper and pointed at Joel. “That’s Joel, my roommate.” He repeated the move with each of the others while mentioning their names. “Edrice’s from the D.C. area. That’s Will, he was my roomie our first two years. Fred’s from Miami. Last but not least, Simon’s from the Tampa area. Maybe you’ll run into him next time you go visit your dad. Mitch, you’ll meet later. He’s on the field.”

Fist bumps and greetings later, Chipper sat in the middle of The Wing. He acknowledged assorted greetings, and signed a couple of autographs. Once the second half began, Ritch was happy everyone returned their attention to the game. At the end, Chipper agreed to pose for selfies with lingering cadets.

 

Ritch, Chipper, and The Wing stood by the locker room’s doors, waiting for Mitch Simmons. The cadets had surrounded Chipper as they left the stands, and with a squadron commander leading the way, all others moved aside to allow them passage. The desire to speak or touch the singer was in many of their eyes. Ritch realized his friend was famous in a way few people ever were, but at times could not reconcile the celebrity status with the kid he had grown up with.

His rank also facilitated Ritch jumping barricades and ignoring No Access signs on closed doors. They meandered through the bowels of Falcon Stadium, avoiding exposure to the general public. Chipper usually traveled with security, but had given his bodyguard the weekend off; he felt safe at the Academy.

Mitch walked out in his OCPs and a Falcons Football knit capthose were popular amongst The Wing. As soon as his eyes met Ritch’s, he tilted his head up and to the left. The player Ritch had asked him to ensure walked out at the same time, followed in the direction Simmons indicated.

“BAKER! With me.” Ritch’s shouted order went unnoticed by most players. They were either looking at Chipper or lost in their thoughts.

“Yes, sir. How can I help you, sir?” Jerome Baker, the cadet Ritch had singled out for abuse on I-Day had landed in the Dirty Dozen. Ritch tried to treat everyone under him the same, but he had developed a soft spot for Baker. The kid had replaced his cockiness with a desire to learn and improve and had diligently worked at Heroes Haven. Ritch was in the process of taking him under his tutelage. And probably into The Wing.

“What are your plans for the afternoon?”

“Ummm… Nothing sir. I was gonna hang out in the dorm until it was time to leave.” Later in the day, Baker, as part of the Dirty Dozen, would attend the concert.

“Change of plans. You’re coming to lunch with us.” Shocking Baker was always fun. His facial expression would shift between surprise, fear, confusion and who knew what else. This time there was glee and gratitude.

“Yes, SIR!” For a fourth classer to be invited to spend time with a bunch of first class cadets had to be a surprise.

Add in these seven had a reputation for being friendly but keeping others away from the inner circle, that standing in their midst was Chipper, and Ritch figured mind blown would be an apt description of what Baker was experiencing.

“Nice game, doolie.” Chipper had been clued in to Ritch’s plan and on the proper moniker for freshmen. He had paid attention to Baker’s play, once he knew the man’s uniform number. The freshman was pretty good, they had all agreed. No wonder he had been aggressively recruited and was a starter.

“Tha… Thank you, sir.” Baker’s smile stretched his entire face.

“Drop the sir, kid. I’m Chipper.”

Ritch could not resist the temptation. “Or as we called him while growing up, asshole.

“Fuck you, Ritchie.”

For the most part, lunch was uneventful. There was a lot of laughter, and Chipper had to again sign a few autographs. Ritch would drive Chipper to the venue several hours before the concert was scheduled to start, for a final audio check. The singer wanted to ensure there were no hiccups. When The Wing said goodbye, Chipper urged them to follow him on social media. He promised if they were ever close enough to attend a concert, he would get them tickets if they reached out.

Copyright © 2021 Carlos Hazday; All Rights Reserved.
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My thanks to Mann Ramblings, Parker Owens, and WolfM for their assistance. The story is better that it would have been without their assistance.

If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Welcome to the discussion thread for CJ’s series. All things CJ are fair game, I simply ask you be respectful of others. I will actively participate in the discussion. Ask questions, speculate about what’s coming, or bitch about what happened. We’re now open for business!    

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(I see you had a birthday.  Happy Birthday! 🎂🎁 Hope it was enjoyable!)

I was just wondering if the Rampart Lodge is the hotel located on the base.  If so, nice.  My husband and I have stayed at a couple of Navy Lodges while traveling (he’s retired Army National Guard) and the accommodations are top-notch!  What’s really nice is that room prices are based on rank. So the higher your rank, the higher your rate.  You help subsidize the lower ranks who have to utilize the facilities.  

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I think ritch is the one character of yours i have connected with the most, at least in this story due to the air force aspect. Presenting of the colors was always my favorite part of the football game, usually because i was in the color guard, at command (naturally). 

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So Ritch seems to be a natural political animal, much like his brother. SAFOS under POTUS Cj may be a destination yet.

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I enjoyed this when I beta read it, The final product is wonderful. It flows very well. Ritch is a product of his upbringing, he may not like the spotlight and all that comes with it, but he still does what's needed to get the job done. You're characters and their world are so fun. I needed this distraction this morning. Thank you for making my lunch break enjoyable. :)

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Officers need management training as well as pilot experience. Caesar and Cap guide him and expose him to many facets of life.; making ideas come to reality and sometimes schmoozing. Both CJ and Ritch have been educated this way. Ritch continues to mature an his way to becoming an adult. Nice chapter on a interesting event in Ritch's life. Thanks Carlos. 

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6 hours ago, mikedup said:

Awesome chapter, Rich doesn't want the limelight, however there is that saying "some people are born to greatness others have it dropped onto them" Rich doesn't like but he will no doubt have get used to it, 

His brother avoided the limelight for a bit but eventually embraced it. I don't think Ritch will ever be as comfortable.

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5 hours ago, Clancy59 said:

(I see you had a birthday.  Happy Birthday! 🎂🎁 Hope it was enjoyable!)

I was just wondering if the Rampart Lodge is the hotel located on the base.  If so, nice.  My husband and I have stayed at a couple of Navy Lodges while traveling (he’s retired Army National Guard) and the accommodations are top-notch!  What’s really nice is that room prices are based on rank. So the higher your rank, the higher your rate.  You help subsidize the lower ranks who have to utilize the facilities.  

Yes, Rampart Loge is the base's hotel. I gave details on it an earlier chapter when Brad Kennedy stayed there.

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I have to admit I chose the wrong Squad member to highlight the fundraising event by going with one of my favorites. Knowing it was a fundraiser for Heros Haven made Brad seem a natural though giving additional thought his rendition of the national anthem wouldn't be on par with a Voice finalist. My other fav choice would have been Harley but no matter how entertaining his talk on motorcycle mechanics might have been it wouldn't create the draw of a Grammy winner. I guess Chipper made the most sense under the circunstances.

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2 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

His brother avoided the limelight for a bit but eventually embraced it. I don't think Ritch will ever be as comfortable.

Yeah CJ didn't begin to attract real attention until he decked the biker at Rolling Thunder.

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3 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

I think ritch is the one character of yours i have connected with the most, at least in this story due to the air force aspect. Presenting of the colors was always my favorite part of the football game, usually because i was in the color guard, at command (naturally). 

Of course you were in command. LOL

So since Ritch is now your favorite, can I discard the outline of Harley's solo adventures?

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1 minute ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Of course you were in command. LOL

So since Ritch is now your favorite, can I discard the outline of Harley's solo adventures?

NO!

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2 hours ago, Kitt said:

So Ritch seems to be a natural political animal, much like his brother. SAFOS under POTUS Cj may be a destination yet.

I think Ritch has the capability, but not the desire. CJ has both in abundance. :)

 

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1 minute ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Of course you were in command. LOL

So since Ritch is now your favorite, can I discard the outline of Harley's solo adventures?

Um no!

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1 hour ago, WolfM said:

I enjoyed this when I beta read it, The final product is wonderful. It flows very well. Ritch is a product of his upbringing, he may not like the spotlight and all that comes with it, but he still does what's needed to get the job done. You're characters and their world are so fun. I needed this distraction this morning. Thank you for making my lunch break enjoyable. :)

This story owes more to you than most people will ever realize. Of course, knowing your husband is also enjoying it gives me a double bang. Oops, I said bang. He,he,he.

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28 minutes ago, Theo Wahls said:

Officers need management training as well as pilot experience. Caesar and Cap guide him and expose him to many facets of life.; making ideas come to reality and sometimes schmoozing. Both CJ and Ritch have been educated this way. Ritch continues to mature an his way to becoming an adult. Nice chapter on a interesting event in Ritch's life. Thanks Carlos. 

To a degree, Ritch is like many young military men who focus on learning how to fire weapons and fight. In his case the fixations on flying. Thankfully, he has the capability to rise above the one item. And we desperitely need good officers. Just this week the Air Force filed court martial charges against a 2 star General due to se ual misconduct. I smiled knowing I had dealt with the matter and Ritch had learned his lesson

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