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Old 01-29-2009, 02:51 PM   #1  
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Boogie Nights's Avatar
Joined APC: Oct 2006
Position: KC135 IP
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Default What is a Hero? (R U a Hero for doing your job?)

I was having a discussion with a friend about USAir 1549 and he asked a thoughtful question.

Are you a hero for doing your job?

My thoughts to him were this.....

As someone who has been in the situation, yes / no. When my crew and I got the DFC for what we did during the War we were called "Heros". If you read the book"Flags of Our Fathers. The guys who planted the flag were called heros, though the guys who did the planting would tell you they were not. But I bet the guy who wrote the book and who's dad was one of the guys who put the flag on the hill, his dad was probably his hero.

Heros are not heros for themselves, the are our creations; they are our heros. Wow this is an excellent philosophical question. I knew I was not a hero. Like you said and like Sully said today in the news conference, it was just hapstance that put an expirienced crew in that position and was able to make it happen. We are all trained for outcomes like this.

I have to say when I watched the jet land on the river and everyone make it out alive, my eyes welled a little at the accomplishment and the outcome.
I was proud of him and the crew.

When I stood in front of the CORONA conference briefing all the Gen's and Sec AF about my mission I knew I did nothing more then my job.

That night, that mission could have been done by any resonably training aircrew. I suppose the difference between Sully and our mission was we had a choice as to whether we fly over Tikrit or not, but he had no choice.

It amazes me how your question has unleashed this stream of thought.
It boils down to this,
we recognize people as heros for:
- great deeds because honoring them makes us feel good about ourselves (our humanity),
- honoring those who achieve eg Michael Phelps, Chuck Yeager ETC (yet both trained)
- people like to imagine that we may be caught in an extrodinary circumstance and do something extrodinary
- A hero is a way to elevate someones "name" to so that it lives on long than they do
- I can not think of a single hero who would think of themself as a hero.
- Purely to elevate the human condition, a collective human high five.

I bet most heros who faced a challenge who had a choice were not scared. (reaction)
My sortie
I bet most heros who faced a challenge who did not have a choice were scared.

Sully's sortie

Regardless of how you look at it Sully is a hero, because society wants him to be. The Crew did good FO Jeffrey Skiles FA's Donna Dent, Doreen Welsh, and Sheila Dail
People are proud of them.

They are probably just happy to be alive. So am I.

SO guys / gals what is a hero? Are we all just heros in training for when we are called to make the hail mary pass, or fail in a spectacular way?
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:07 PM   #2  
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A few that have been recognized in our time.
Medal of Honor recipients in Iraq and Afghanistan : Profiles in Honor : The Rocky Mountain News
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:17 PM   #3  
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I think Smith pretty much sums it up nicely:

Ask the pilot, Flight 1549, hero | Salon Technology
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:38 AM   #4  
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Originally Posted by Planespotta View Post
I think Smith pretty much sums it up nicely:

Ask the pilot, Flight 1549, hero | Salon Technology
I tend to agree that it's the most overused word in the media. Landing in the Hudson was certainly skillfull but I wouldn't call it "Heroic".

Now going back into an airplane filling with water?????? That's HEROIC. I could maybe see myself doing that for a crewmember but certainly not for a total stranger, maybe a couple of loud interrogatives from the cabin door before I unassed the aircraft

Last edited by Dougdrvr; 01-30-2009 at 08:40 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:01 AM   #5  
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It's true that the word "Hero" is tossed around in the media way too much. I know many here might take great offense to me saying this, but I do not believe that Captain Sully is a hero for landing that airplane on the Hudson River. I believe that being a hero is knowingly putting yourself in harms way in order to save others. Sully really only had two options: 1) give up and close his eyes and start praying, or 2) do whatever he could to save himself and the rest of those on board. Fortunately he chose the latter option.

Now, do I think that he was an extremely talented pilot who deserves recognition for his skill and character? Absolutely. And, while I dont think he is a hero for actually landing the plane, I probably would call him a hero for going back into the cabin to check for passengers, because he was knowingly putting himself in harms way when he didnt have to.
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