Barksdale Air Force Base - Mad Max awoke in the early morning darkness, humidity invaded his room as he stepped out of the BOQ. Just 3.5 hours earlier he had been out in this darkness walking the flight line. You good to go brother? asked Robi Powers, the founder of American300‘s Never Quit Series of resiliency visits to Air Force Global Strike Command bases. Cranking his head to the right Max noticed Robi, Yep, good to go Master Sergeant is gonna be here in 25 mikes... see you in 20.
With that the two stepped back into their rooms and readied their kits for the day. First on the docket was breakfast with the bases Explosive Ordinance Device Team, a team that had lost several of their own to the war on terror in Afghanistan earlier this year. Joining the Never Quit Series guests would be Chaplain Colonel McManus, he and Robi had made a plan to let Mad Max eat breakfast alone with the EOD team while the Command’s head Chaplain got caught up with Robi on the programs efforts over the past 3 months.
I couldn’t be happier Father, your Chaplains are all weighing in and not only making suggestions on how we can better move throughout the bases during our 24 hours visits, but several of them are volunteering to make enough whitespace in their schedules to actually come out and embed with our special guests, help out...
... So the mission brief was that we’d be landing on the Island, but half way to the objective word came down that we’d be jumping without reserve shoots and most likely at an altitude of under 500 feet... into enemy cross fire...
Another typical Never Quit Series Tour day was well underway. Powers and the American300 nonprofit working in concert with Air Force Global Strike Command had brought another amazing American; living, breathing billboard of ‘can do’, ‘overcome’, ‘lean forward’ ... life living. The goal being to showcase the men and women behind these amazing stories in a way that is real... up close... personable.
We can only teach so much out of a book, movie or powerpoint... and the feedback that we’re getting from all five bases is that the Airmen are really enjoying these special guests and the time that they’re carving out of their own personal lives to be here as volunteers. I’m all super happy with that, but what really has me so stoked is that the messages, life stories these folks are walking on base with are very powerful... combined happy to see us with want to hear your story and there’s a pretty great loaf of resiliency bread in the oven, commented Robi to one of the groups on base liaisons as she feed him another cup of coffee... just the way he likes it - straight up.
... guys, there’s just no way I would have pulled my 26 years of duty, obtained the rank of Master Sergeant (Army E9) if it hadn’t been for my NCO’s pointing me straight and fellow infantry battle buddies keeping me on that azimuth . There were so many times early on in my Army career when I had doubts, assignment dissatisfaction... it would have been so easy to back off and just cruise to the land of no accomplishment and punch out after four... but, the people around me, the people I worked with weren’t going to let that happen... they had my back.
Over the years, Mad Max Mullen had more then one back to cover and support then his own. As a young enlisted grunt, he entered the Ranger School eyes wide open... ‘ It was the toughest program I had ever been involved with, exposed to in my life... even now looking back on it I shake my head and ask myself; how did I make it. With a nearly unnoticed pause, one that comes from a man who has seen so much, trained so many and sadly lost too many of his battle buddies over the years, Max finished the sentence... It has always been the man on my left, man on my right... my Ranger Buddies, who pulled me through the scrapes, pushed me to be excellent and knew that I was always doing the same for them.
It just doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re presenting the World’s first amputee to summit Mount Everest or Olympians and their hard fought road to Olympic and World Championship Gold, the messages are nearly all the same, reflected Robi between sips of coffee...
With breakfast cleared the duo, who first met in person on their way to another American300 series of base visits in Afghanistan last fall, found themselves stopping by the 2nd Bomb Wing’s Parachute Rigging shop. I told you guys I’d bring him by... we’re on our way over to EOD to mess with some of their toys, but there’s no way that I could have a master parachutist with English, French and German wings collecting dust on top of his US Army top gun jump wings. Max check these guys out... see that huge shooter over there... that’s the B52 chute, let’s go pack one.
From parachutes to explosive ordinance with a wrap via the award winning Munitions shops... just another morning on the American300 Never Quit Series.
I’ve got so much respect for these Airmen, Robi... they bring such a level of professionalism and honor to this base. It’s not something you can flip a switch on and create over night is it Max. Negative, it starts when they first show up in an AOR and grows from that moment on. I like what’s growing down here in Barksdale Max, copy that Robi, no doubt these shops we visited today have got to be some of the finest in the Air Force, I want to bring Colonel Danny McKnight back next time I come back... he’d like being around these warriors very much. Roger that Max... XENDX
The American300 NEVER QUIT SERIES Air Force Global Strike Command ‘Mad Max Mullen Tour’ continues tonight at Malmstrom Air Force Base. Special thanks to 2nd Bomb Wing Staff and especially our P.O.C’s SMSgt Van Vranken, MSGT McCleary along with PAO Photographers Sean and Andrew for the amazing base visit.
PHOTOS - SURVEY - VIDEOS at: www.American300.org
JOIN THE AMERICAN300 TEAM ON FACEBOOK at: American300 Warrior Tours
For more information on the United States Air Forces ‘Air Force Global Strike Command’ please visit: USAFGSC
To connect with Never Quit Series guest MAD MAX MULLEN visit: www.tacticalmilsim.com
American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit organization. Our staff and guests are all pure volunteers focused on connecting Amazing Americans with our Armed Forces Warriors. No federal endorsement of nonprofit or sponsors is intended. The Air Force Global Strike Command American300 Never Quit Series is an on going joint effort to increase the strength of our Airmen serving here at home on USAFGSC bases and areas of operation. For more information contact American300’s Rob Powers - firstname.lastname@example.org