A small group of people are going to gather today at the main intersection in our town to protest what they believe to be significant government overreach. Some will wave signs with incredibly outlandish claims. Some are likely to make bold claims and misapply an already poor working knowledge of the US Constitution. Some will continue relying upon their DIY legal educations, and others will just be along for the ride because they’re a part of a tribe and this is what their side is doing today. …


smalltownwashington.com, Lara Dunning

It’s time for us as a community to have a discussion about some concepts that have come to define this political season, especially races for the school board. Two topics that would benefit from some examination: what constitutes research, and the idea that greater parental involvement always leads to greater district (and student) performance. Each of these ideas have been brought to the fore in recent community conversations but not necessarily with a level of nuance that would yield truly productive dialogue.

Let’s begin by settling on an objective definition of research and what constitutes good research. …


The Silver Waterfall, Captain Kevin P. Miller USN (ret). San Diego, CA. Braveship Books, 2020.

Early on the morning of June 4th, 1942, the situation in the Pacific remained bleak for the United States. Though the Americans had found recent strategic successes with the Battle of Coral Sea (April) and the ensuing Doolittle Raid (May), the Imperial Japanese Navy remained an ambitious and daunting threat. Admiral Yamamoto believed an attack, similar to that of the Pearl Harbor raid, would spell the end of the US Pacific fleet’s viability as a fighting force. …


Memorial Day stirs an array of emotions in many of us. There is no shortage of articles, essays, and interviews with pious voices imploring civilians to recognize that the holiday isn’t just about their barbecues and steep retail discounts. There are families who’ve suffered the unimaginable and find this day just as difficult as every other day since their worlds were first shattered. And there are those of us who just wish we had our friends back.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong way, per se, to spend the holiday. The best any of us can strive…


US Navy Photo

Below is a note I sent my squadron last year on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr Day. It was early in what would turn out to be an extremely difficult seven months at sea. I’ve since moved on into retirement, but after having spent only four months at home (some of that away on training), this team is back out on deployment — again. This time it’s with another Skipper and some new faces, but I’m confident what remains consistent is the unwavering focus on the team.

January 20, 2020:

Zappers, Back home our families and friends are…


I spent the better part of 20 years thinking about landing jets on ships, preparing to land jets on ships, or actually landing jets on ships. During the day, this is the second most fun thing an adult can do, and most pilots can’t believe they get paid to do it. Conversely, there’s no amount of money that makes doing this in the dark seem worth it. That said, even in my relatively brief career, landing a jet aboard a ship at night became a lot easier thanks to various technological advances. …


At first glance, it doesn’t seem there’s much common ground between the National Football League and the high stakes world of carrier aviation. However, when it comes to winning, they share a lot.

Between 2005 and 2011 the New York Giants made five NFL playoff appearances and won the ultimate prize — the Super Bowl — twice. By any objective measure it was a good run for a storied organization. However, in the next eight years they made only one post-season appearance. Between 2017 and 2019 the team went through three head coaches and never won more than five games…


It’s difficult to find a pejorative that doesn’t apply to 2020. Some of the less explicit ones revolve around the wholly unpredictable nature of what the year’s thrown our way. Words like “unprecedented” and “unbelievable” have been tossed around quite a bit — and with good reason. And while we can all agree that this year has been tough, most of us haven’t been able to do what we’ve really wanted: shrug our shoulders and curl up under a blanket until January 1st. This is especially true for the leaders of our organizations, teams, and companies. When you’re responsible for…


Two weeks ago I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my professional life — I left my job. In the same one-hour ceremony I turned over command of “my” squadron, and I retired from the Navy. It’s the way I wanted it, and with each passing day I grow increasingly convinced that I made the right decision.

Before I rose to deliver my remarks, one of my long-time mentors spoke. He had many nice things to say — most were true. He pointed out that we’ll all take the uniform off at some point, and the…


I’ve held an incredible job for the past 15 months. Serving as the commanding officer of the finest jet squadron in the Navy has been nothing short of an absolute privilege. But, in a few days (and on schedule) I’ll relinquish command to a good friend — my executive officer. It’s not uncommon for officers in my position to get nostalgic as they near the end of their command tours, and typically these trips down memory lane focus on the good times, when things were easy and fun. But, the past few days I’ve been reflecting on a period of…

J.E. Curtis

Retired Naval Aviator.

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