Dan serves with the United States Secretary of the Air Force and with Air Force Four Star General Chief of Staff on their National Civic Leaders Board.
Dan was also invited to be the Master of Ceremonies at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of NORAD in Colorado Springs, CO, where he shared the program with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Canadian Minister of Defense The Honorable Peter MacKay, and Four Star General Victor Renuart, Commander of the USNORTHCOM. In the aftermath Dan received a personal VIP tour of Cheyenne Mountain.
Dan was invited to the final reunion of the Doolittle Raiders at Wright Patterson AFB. Sixteen of the Raiders were still alive – eight were healthy enough to attend. Dan sat in the sacred “Goblet Ceremony” with these heroes and their families, listened to the roll call, participated in the toast, and listened to their stories for hours on end.
Dan has been a keynote speaker to cadets at all of the U.S. military academies, has three times been the general session speaker at the Air Force Academy Character and Leadership Development Symposium, has been a headliner at West Point’s National Conference on Ethics and West Point’s Women’s Conference, and had the distinct honor to be a keynote speaker at “Corona” – the Air Force Four Star Generals Leadership Conference, and at the Air Force “World Chiefs Conference” and “International Public Affairs Conference.”
Dan is a graduate of Air University National Security Forum 2002 Maxwell Air Force Base Montgomery, Alabama.
Dan also graduated from Army War College National Security Seminar 2006 Carlisle Barricks Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
A highlight of Dan’s relationship with the military was when he spoke to the U.S. and Coalition Forces Commanders in the Grand Ballroom of Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad, Iraq and then spent the night sleeping in the palace guest quarters.
Another highlight for Dan has been sharing the stage with Tuskeegee Airmen at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
How Dan’s Relationship Began
In 1999, Dan was invited to speak at a Navy Leadership Conference. Immediately following his long standing ovation, he was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Navy Commanders Conference later that year at the Naval Museum in Pensacola, Florida. When Dan returned to the dinner table following his speech and another rousing ovation, Admiral Dwyer, Admiral Clark and Admiral Healy all thanked Dan and expressed that if there was anything any of them could do, to please let them know. Without blinking an eye Dan replied, “I would love to fly in an F-18 fighter jet.” On January 17, 2000 Dan got his ride out of Patuxent River, Maryland Navy Test Pilot School.
Details of Dan’s all day long safety/survival/physiology training experiences and his incredible flight can be found in Dan’s book, Significance. You will laugh until you cry as you read about Dan catching 7 G’s, soaring to 55,000 feet altitude where you can start to see the curvature of the earth and cruising at Mach II, twice the speed of sound! Flying at 640 knots at only 500 feet off the ground over the bombing range in North Carolina was exhilarating to say the least. Did Dan “pop his cookies?” Read Dan’s book to find out!
The Air Force got a great recommendation on Dan and asked him to speak at Hill Air Force Base to the 388th Fighter Wing and Support Wings. Twelve squadrons in Hanger 37 heard Dan’s powerful speech in January 2001. Wing Commander Colonel Johnny Weida was elated with the long standing ovation and expressed that if there was anything he could do for Dan, to let him know. Without blinking an eye, Dan replied, “I would love to fly in an F-16 fighter jet.” On June 6, 2001 (D-Day!), Dan flew with Colonel Bill Couttes, went 1.1 mach, caught 9 G’s and chased and later was chased by another F-16 in air to air combat maneuvers (this experience is also found in Dan’s book Significance) Dan was made Honorary Wing Commander, given the official call sign “Hot Lips” and his lifelong love affair with the military was full on!
Military Service At A Glance
Dan was never in the military, but feels he is serving his country each time he speaks to our troops and their leaders. From July 2001 to December 2011, Dan addressed every new class of Lieutenants at the “Air and Space Basic Course” at Air University – Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama. Currently, Dan speaks every six weeks the new class of Captains at “Squadron Officer College”and oftentimes to the “Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Leadership Academy” across the way at Gunter Annex.
Dan has spoken at Commanders Conferences throughout the United States and the world, including the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Japan and Africa, NATO meetings in Germany and United Nations Command in Korea.
Dan’s Southwest Asian Tour
From February 15 to March 1, 2005, Dan was a guest of Air Combat Command’s 9th Air Force Central Command and traveled to Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Iraq. Dan spoke 23 times on 12 bases, to 30,000 troops and to 2,500 sailors, officers and NCO’s on the U.S.S. Harry Truman aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Dan took 30,000 packages of Juicy Fruit gum, sponsored and sent by Telecom Corporation out of New York, with the support and blessing of their amazing and generous CEO, Ed Donelan. The troops loved it! They send their heartfelt thanks to Telecom!
At the conclusion of each speech, Dan offered to phone their loved ones when he returned to the States to say hello and pass on their love. Over 500 airmen, soldiers and sailors gave Dan names and numbers. It took him several weeks to make the calls, but what a magnificent experience to connect with the families of our brave and unselfish service men and women. When asked if Dan was proud of his efforts, he replied that everything military-related has always been pro bono. This is his small way of serving his country, helping his America and giving back a little to our finest, most noble military men and women, whom he so deeply appreciates and loves!
Because of Dans dedication to the morale and well being of our military personnel, Dan has had incredible experiences such as visiting the Demilitarized Zone on the border of North and South Korea, and staring down a North Korean officer looking at Dan through binoculars from only fifty yards away, and receiving a piece of the barbed wire fence in commemoration of Dan’s visit.
Dan has also had the opportunity to fly most of the US military aircraft. Although they are called “incentive rides,” Dan was given control of every aircraft for approximately thirty minutes to fly and feel the exhilaration of each of these military masterpieces. Dan has flown:
T-38 – with instructor at Randolph AFB, Texas (Mach, 6 G’s, formation flying, maneuverability demo)
F-4 – Eglin AFB, Florida (.98 Mach, 6 G’s, bombing runs and playing in the clouds!)
F-15 – Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina (Mach, 7 G’s, 648 knots at 1,000 ft, bombing runs)
F-16 – Hill AFB, & Nellis AFB with
the Thunderbirds, & in USAFE (Mach, 9.4 G’s, all air show and air-to-air combat maneuvers)
F-18 – Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland (Mach II, 7 G’s, 55,000 feet altitude, bombing runs, on the range in North Carolina, simulated carrier landing)
KC-135 Refueler – Edwards AFB, California (90- minute orbit, refueled F- 16, F-18 and F-117)
B-1 Bomber – Edwards AFB, California (Mach II 50,000 ft. altitude – sat in left seat for take off and landing, and spent time sitting with the engineer and weapons officer. Dan executed an aileron roll while flying – experienced auto pilot low level flying at 500 ft.
B-52 Bomber – Minot AFB, North Dakota (#7 engine started on fire in flight, bomber call sign “Torch”)
Flew in a helicopter to a live missile silo – Minot AFB, North Dakota – received a DV Tour down into the silo – met the missileers – experienced the drama of a nuclear launch sequence.
U-2 Reconaissance/Spy Plane – Beale AFB, California. 3.5 hour sortie to over 70,000 ft, where Dan saw the curvature of the earth, gazed into the blackness of space, and pondered eternity. Dan flew it at 30,000 ft. and again at 65,000 ft.
KC -10 – With Three-Star General Walter “Buck” Buchanan, Commander of the 9th Air Force and US Central Command flying from Shaw AFB, South Carolina to Southwest Asia, being refueled over Nova Scotia on the way and returning back to America!
Hercules Transport – 18 flights over 13 days throughout Southwest Asia (total blackout “Night Vision Goggles” take-off, tactical high speed rapid descent landings!)
Blackhawk Helicopter – Fast and furious! 100 feet off the ground at 100 mph all over Iraq.
Dan was the speaker at the Commanders Conference for the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, which provides transportation for the US President, Vice President, Cabinet Members, Combatant Commanders, and elected leaders as tasked by the White House. Dan was invited aboard “Air Force One” and given a private VIP tour wherein he met the pilots and flight attendants and sat in the Presidents Conference room chair.
Dan’s father-in-law was a Prisoner of War in World War 2 for one year. When his father-in-law passed away, Dan arranged for a “Four Ship – Missing Man Formation” fly-by with four F-16 fighter jets to honor him at the cemetery service. It was spectacular and moving, with the Honor Guard folding the flag off his casket and presenting it to his wife. The 21- Gun Salute and bugler playing “Taps” brought an amazing spirit to the surroundings. Then the jets roared overhead! Wow!!
And wouldn’t you know it? When Dan lands at Balad Base in Baghdad, Iraq he sees twelve F-16′s with “HL” painted on the tail. They were jets with the 388th Fighter Wing from Hill AFB, Utah, where Dan was an Honorary Wing Commander. Three pilots and two of the jets that flew Dan’s father-in-law’s fly-by were there in Iraq fighting the bad guys. Dan spoke to all the troops that night and there on the front row were Colonel “Calvin” Klein and the other pilots, maintainers and support personnel!
Dan’s itinerary in Southwest Asia included visiting with enlisted troops at their job work stations and speaking 23 times to the large gatherings of all ranks and civilian workers in the afternoons and evenings at twelve bases: Al Dhafra U.A.E., Al Udeid Qatar, Bagram and Kandahar Afghanistan, Camp Behring and Ali Al Salem Base in Kuwait, Camp Victory (Saddam’s Palace in Baghdad Iraq), and Baghdad International, Balad, , Tallil and Kirkuk Iraq.
Dan also had the incredible honor and privilege to speak to our brave men and women in the Seventeenth Air Force stationed in Djibouti, and Addis Ababa and Arba Minch, Ethiopia.
We Must Always Remember And Defend The Fact:
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gave us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who gave us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gave us freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, that gives those who selfishly choose to, their right to burn the flag!”
God Bless Our Military And God Bless America