Fighter Pilot Ace Talks to Base Personnel about Discipline, Leadership
By Global Positioning Systems Wing, SMC
/ Published November 06, 2009
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As part of Air Force Space Command Year of Leadership Initiative, the Global Positioning Systems Wing hosted a talk with Air Force (ret) Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie.
An 1964 Air Force Academy graduate, General Ritchie was the only Air Force Academy Fighter pilot Ace, the only Air Force pilot Ace in more than 50 years and the only American pilot ever to down five Mig-21 enemy fighter airplanes.
General Ritchie spoke to the men and women of GPS Wing about the importance of discipline and how discipline ensures proper training which assures we're prepared to accomplish our jobs effectively and efficiently.
"Due to the complicated deadly nature of the [fighter pilot] business, there is no room for anything less than highly trained professionals with the discipline to do the right thing every time."
He also discussed the importance of leadership and how discipline is one of the key traits of a successful leader. He spoke about highly successful leaders such as Navy Adm. Hyman Rickover, Army Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and George Patton, and Air Force Generals Charles Gabriel and Jerome O'Malley. "What makes these leaders so great is they understood people. They had the ability to inspire in others a desire for excellence and a passion for achievement. Great leaders know the tremendous power of positive discipline. It inspires and instills a desire to achieve, to win, to be the best one can be."
After the general's motivating speech, Col David Madden, Global Positioning Systems Wing commander, presented to him a GPSW Commander's Coin and a highly coveted GPSW Green Monster stein with his call sign "Cinco."
General Ritchie currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., working as a motivational speaker and flies F-104 Starfighters for "Starfighters International" in Fla.