Quiet Confidence and the USMC

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Of all of the urban myths that float about on the Internet, this one seemed worthy of re-posting. There’s no way to verify it’s authenticity.

In addition to communicating with the local Air Traffic Control facility, all aircraft in the Persian Gulf AOR are required to give the Iranian Air Defense Radar (military) a ten minute ‘heads up’ if they will be transiting Iranian airspace.

This is a common procedure for commercial aircraft and involves giving them your call sign, transponder code, type of aircraft, and points of origin and destination.

I just flew with a guy who overheard this conversation on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai.

The conversation went like this…

Iranian Air Defense Radar: ‘Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.’
Air Defense Radar: ‘You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send ’em up, I’ll wait!’

Air Defense Radar: (no response … total silence)

Making assumptions about who is really calling the shots, even in the midst of a highly regulated environment, can be dangerous. The real lesson, though, is the confident response of the USMC pilot. He was compliant of the rules. He was respectful. He only told the truth. In the end, it was the confidence of his own abilities and strengths which were left to speak for themselves.

Even when you know you are right, sometimes the best response is one of quiet confidence.

Be confident. Be bold. Define YOUR success!

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