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Diary of an Air Force Pilot

The air is there to help us fly,
To determine whether we live or die,
To spiral, swirl, and twist in flight,
Both every day and every night.

The air is there to create a force,
With hearts of passion at its source,
The air is there as a helping hand,
To defend, secure, and protect our land.

The air is there to channel sound,
As missiles, shots, and bombs abound,
The air is there to scare the ears,
To ignite a pilot’s greatest fears.

The air is there to funnel light,
To supply a pilot’s mode of site,
Eyes focused through clouds for countless days,
Defending their nation in countless ways.

The air is there to wreak havoc and hell,
As hurricanes, tornadoes, and droughts do tell,
To create disasters for pilots above,
To hinder and torture the ones we love.

The air is there to keep us from spouses,
From neighbors, and pets, and lonely houses,
To help us appreciate blessings we share,
For loved ones so far whom we always will care.

The air is there to deliver our mail,
Across seas, across deserts, through heat and through hail,
The letters from home that propel us through,
Show the power of words written “ I love you.”

The air is there to age our kids,
From inches to birthdays, to “hads” and “dids”,
Wondering each day “When does daddy come back?”
They may have a pilot, but a father they lack.
The air is there due to Brothers Wright,
The founders of all aviation and flight,
Establishing soaring in 1903,
And setting the precedent for inventions to be.

The air is there to improve our rank,
To ensure our breast pocket shall never stand blank,
For hearts, for medals, for honors we’ve won,
Yet work in this team seems to never be done.

The air is there to trigger the rush,
The adrenaline pumping as faces flush,
From dodging, to diving, to death we can taste,
It’s the moment of truth as our hearts start to race.

The air is there to give us a job,
So our wives do not steal and our kids do not rob,
We must risk our lives until duty is through,
Insane some may say, but not “Catch-22.”

The air is there to form a pact,
A brotherhood bond that lay always intact,
For not one man shall be left behind,
A system effective and rightly designed.

The air is there to change a mind,
It’s thinking, it’s turning, it’s thoughts redesigned,
For once one embarks he is never the same,
A life changed forever from a world so untamed.

The air is there to end a story,
Some in silence, while others gory,
A process accepted yet never forgot,
Many ignore it. I simply cannot.

There air is there to protect the life,
One free from terror and constant strife,
To protect our dreams and future sights,
To secure forever our inalienable rights.

The air is there to support a nation,
To feed the breed of aviation,
To aid, to guide, to serve these groups,
The air is there to Support Our Troops.


Reilly Philliben is currently a junior studying neuroscience and astronomy at the University of Michigan. Many relatives of mine served in the Air Force and inspired the voice behind this piece. My hobbies primarily include ski racing, softball, and playing fetch with my two incredible yellow labs.