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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day: Friday Flyers

Happy Veteran’s Day Friday Flyers

Marvin Richard Petitt Senior, "Marvin."
Marvin Richard Petitt Junior, "Dick."

Marvin Petitt

Each Friday I honor a special person involved in Aviation as my Friday Flyer. But today it’s important to honor a Veteran—that under appreciated hero who went to war ... out of duty and obligation to his country. Sometimes we don’t have the ability to choose the path our life takes, especially if we’re drafted. But if we’re lucky enough to return home to the life of freedom that we fought for, we do have the opportunity to choose the remainder of our journey.

Marvin on the left.

Marvin Richard Petitt Senior, born in 1910, was a WWII Navy Chief Machinist Mate. Marvin was Naval mechanic who loved planes. As a naval reservist, he was stationed at Sand Point Washington until he was activated in the January of 1941, and sent to Georgia, missing the birth of his son, Marvin Richard Petitt Junior—Dick—April 7, 1941.

One of the older kids in the war, he was 31 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Sent to Georgia for two years, he was shipped out to Hawaii in 1943, where he stayed through the end of the war. He passed away with a heart attack in 1966 at the young age of 56.

Marvin is the father-in-law that I never had the opportunity to meet because he'd already passed before I became part of the family.

A family connection: Our eldest daughter and I were looking for a condo to purchase for her to live while she attended the University of Washington. While we looked at numerous places, only one "felt" right, and we knew we had to have it. That condo happened to be in Sandpoint Washington, across from the Magneson Park. It wasn't until that night that my husband told me that's where his father was stationed prior to the war. We dug up some old photos... those above... and from the unit we purchased, we can look out the window and see where Marvin once stood by the planes he was so proud of.

Dick Petitt

Dick doesn't work on planes, and he isn’t a pilot, but he is married to one. He’s my husband, and literally the wind beneath my wings. We've been married for 30 years and have three beautiful daughters and four grandchildren with two more scheduled to arrive in the very near future.

Dick and Karlene

When I speak of heroes, my husband comes to mind. Not only for his contribution in a non-popular war, but for the support he's always given me. My first flying opportunity came earlier than I’d planned. I was waiting until our daughters were in grade school before I began my career as an airline pilot. But when Evergreen called and offered me the job to fly a 727, and our daughters were two, three and four, I was torn. I couldn't do it.

I’d wanted to fly, but I couldn’t leave the girls. How could the family survive if I wasn’t there every night? I was afraid to take that plunge. The dream I’d worked for and wanted as long as I could remember was being offered, and I didn’t know what to do. How could I take this job, and have a family too?

Dick and Kalimar, our eldest daughter

It was Dick who's said, “An opportunity like this only comes along once in lifetime. If you want to be a pilot, you've got to take the job. We’ll figure it out.”

Dick and Kayla, our middle daughter

He’s always been understanding and encouraging when the company called me to fly a trip on my days off. Dick supported my college endeavors, as well as my writing.

Dick and Krysta, our youngest daughter (and biscuit)

Flexibility. Understanding. Encouragement. Support. Pride. How many people with crazy jobs and crazier schedules that keep you away from home for weeks, or up all night writing, have a hero in their life that they would like to honor? How many people have their hero in war right now?

Veterans Day might be the best day to remember all our heroes. Our heroes who fought and died in the war. Our heroes who fought and lived to carry on. Our heroes who struggle daily with what life has thrown their way, and yet they somehow find a way to carry on with love, concern and support of others.

When I ask Dick what he wants in his life, he says, "For you to be happy." And he means it. When we talk about our daughters, his joy comes from their successes in life. His ability to be able to hold and rock his grandchildren, is something he had never envisioned, and always wished for his father.


Kohyn and Kadence


He walked his daughters down the aisle to wonderful son-in-laws, and smiles knowing they are happy. How do you measure the success in your life? How do you measure a hero? Why do we go to war? Family. Freedom. Future.

Honor your Veteran today.

Honor your hero today.

Who is the wind beneath your wings?

Happy Veteran's Day!

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. What a beautiful tribute to your husband, Karlene. I'd say you are each blessed to have the other. Too bad you never knew his father.

  2. Your photos and writing made me happy!! Thank you for sharing wonderful story,Karlene san!!! I am happy that you have wonderful family!!!!!
    Have a great day,

  3. Happy Veteran's day to Dick, and all the veterans and their loved ones. I'm so very grateful for all that you've done for us.

  4. Yes!! What a perfect way to honor a wonderful and supportive family. With a 'near' perfect husband, three beautiful daughters and a gaggle of grand children, you made some darned good choices along the way. One of these days, we'll celebrate Karlene as Friday's Fabulous Flyer! Go for it!! -Craig

  5. Karlene, this is so touching and meaningful it brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for reminding us to honor our personal heroes as well as our war veterans. And kudos to Dick for being such a great supporter. Wonderful.

  6. Karlene, what a fantastic way to honor and support your husband and to introduce your beautiful family! Thank you for sharing. You, Dick and your daughter (and grandchildren) are blessed to have each other.
    All the best to you all, dear.

  7. Thank you Dave, Yes... I am so sad to have never known his father. I think he and I would have been out flying planes all the time. He loved those birds. He would have been a wonderful grandfather too. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Jun, Thank you so much. And soon you'll get to meet everyone in person when you come to visit. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you for the nice comment.

  9. Thank you Heather, he does a lot for many. And, he's looking forward for your return visit. We all are!

  10. Thank you Craig! I told my husband that he was "near" perfect. He laughed and said, "he got that right." I asked him if he knew why he was near perfect. He told me there were too many reasons. I told him there was only one: He didn't fly planes. But, heck... we can't have everything in life. One day I'll share a story about him flying planes.

  11. Thank you so much Linda. He doesn't read my blog much... because it's on the computer. But once in awhile I'll set one in front of him and he reads it. This brought a tear to his eyes too. Thanks for the great comment.

  12. Angela, thank you so very much. Yes... blessed is the word. Especially when you never envisioned what life could be, then it is. Well... I always knew. He's beginning to realize. Thanks for a heartfelt comment.

  13. Yup, you are lucky to have him and vice versa, Kar!!

  14. Karlene, I know this is an old post, but it just brought tears to my eyes! Beautiful.

    1. Oh... Thank you. And, thank you for reminding me to come back and look at this again. Old or not, these photos and message is priceless. Thank you!


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