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 Public Lands from a Different Perspective

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In my time as a USAF Special Operations pilot I have been blessed with the opportunity to see America's western public lands from a different perspective, both physically and meaningfully. From above I see them not only as homes for wildlife and sources of recreation, but thanks to farsighted cooperative agreements between the US Forest Service, BLM and the Department of Defense as places integral to training for the defense of our country. By providing access to open areas free of encroachment of development, I and countless others have been able to temporarily visit the airspace over these remote places to hone airmanship and critical skills we have then taken to less friendly skies fulfilling the nation's call to duty. While preparing to defend her, we are also inspired by the majesty of the great land we have sworn to protect.

The first picture captures my US flag flight suit patch reflected in the cockpit window of a U-28 was taken over Dolores Canyon in the San Juan National forest on a navigation training mission.

The second picture of summit of the snow-capped peak reflecting off the aircraft's wing was taken on a mountain flying exercise over Mt. Hood National Forest

The final picture depicting the shadow of an MH-53M special operation helicopter was taken of the Tent Rocks, a BLM site located inside the Santa Fe National Forest while on a low level combat training mission.

All three of these images, while not the usual perspective that public lands are viewed from I believe well represent the philosophy of "land of many uses" wherein conservation, preservation, recreation, and inspiration are balanced carefully to maximize the greatest good for all.

Submitted by: Derrick S

Last updated: 12-20-2012