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An Air Force Pilot's Post-Retirement Career Dilemma: A Job at a Big Bank or the Pilot of Air Force 2

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2023 3:01 am

An Air Force Pilot's Post-Retirement Career Dilemma: A Job at a Big Bank or the Pilot of Air Force 2

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 6, 2023 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, on the morning of September 11, 2001, Peter Braxton was the first military pilot in the air over the burning Twin Towers. It was his first day on the job. Not long after that, he did flew multiple combat tours in the Middle East and then retired from the Air Force. Here’s Peter with the story about the phone call he received shortly after his retirement: "Do You Still Have Your Uniform?"

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Always good. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. To search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Peter Braxton was the first military pilot in the air over the burning Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. It was his first day on the job, not long after he did multiple tours of flight combat in the Middle East and then retired from the Air Force.

Here's Peter with the story about the phone call he received shortly after his retirement. You know, I was a distinguished graduate and, well, why didn't you fly F-15s or F-22s or F-16s? And you're going to remember, I want to be a doctor, A. B, this is before the war. C, I was homesick. I wanted to go home. I promise you, if the closest Air Force base to where I grew up was a fighter base, I would have picked a fighter. I wanted to go home.

I wanted to go home. And I was happy with my choice until one day I was listening to this Israeli F-16 fighter pilot. And he said, well, you know, well, why did I fly a fighter? And he said, because it was personal. We were being attacked in my neighborhood and my sister was there. And you can fly an F-16 across Israel in 22 seconds.

You know, I mean, that's how small the country is, kind of width-wise. And, you know, for him, it was personal. And I remember thinking, you know what, if this was a day after, if this, yeah, it's personal, right? I'm from New York. And so an interesting story that I've told is after I got out of the Air Force and I was fully out, I was in business school, I got a call from the Pentagon and the voice on the phone said, hey, this is Peter Braxton.

Yes, it is. Do you still have your uniform? Yes, I have my uniform. It's been a couple of months. Does it still fit?

You know, I'm not sitting on the couch eating Cheetos. Yeah, it still fits. But everyone who's been in the military knows it's illegal. You're not allowed to wear your uniform after you get out. You can keep it.

You can't wear it. And so this colonel said, hey, can you meet me at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and meet me Saturday morning, 10 a.m. at this building? And I'm like, this is my buddies. This is a joke. It's another joke.

This is another, you know, who is this? He says, it's Colonel so-and-so and we'd like to talk to you. And I was like, okay, the joke's on you. Like, I'm not supposed to do this. So I'm out of the Air Force.

It's a Saturday. I show up and it was like a Jason Bourne kind of boardroom with a big long table and six colonels wearing full service dress uniform, which, you know, you don't see that unless you're at a funeral. I mean at a funeral.

Right. So, and so I sat down and they said, no, you sit over there at the other end. So I sat at the very end of the other table and they sat at the other end. That table sat like 24 people and proceeded to interview me for the job of Air Force Two.

This is Dick Cheney back in the day, 2007. And you know, I mean, I was like, gentlemen, like, I'm, I'm out. They're like, we can change that with one signature. And so I talked to them and, and they kind of offered me the, offered me the job.

Just think about it, talk to your family. So I did. I called my brother and he said, Pete, you know, you spent all this time deploying and, and, and, you know, getting into taking the GMAT and getting into business school and, and, and getting out of the Air Force, you want to go back in. And this is the, I mean, it's the ultimate job, right?

It's the ultimate, it's like the Thunderbirds for heavy transport, air filling jets. So, you know, honored to be asked. So I remember I got the job at Credit Suisse over the summer and you know, they asked me not to shop it, like, don't go to, don't go across the street to JP Morgan or Goldman and kind of like, try to get a job, just, you know, if you want the job, take the job.

You don't tell us. And so I remember saying, I want the job. And I went back to the president of the bank, the managing director. And I said, sir, I, you know, I had a question, can I defer this for a year?

I need to go back and try to do this. And he said, you know, congratulations, that's an amazing honor, but no, you can't defer it. You either take the job or you have to give it to somebody else. I said, okay. So I ran back and, you know, and I called the guys up at the Pentagon. I said, hey, can I defer this for a year? I'd like to, I explained all this time going to business school. I got this job in an investment bank. I'd love to do that, but I just need a year.

And then I can kind of like, they're like, no, you, you got to either take the job, you know, now it's, it's not an exploding offer, but it's not guaranteed. We just have this need. And so I kind of thought long and hard and I'd flown at that point, I had flown Donald Remtfeld around in the KC-10. The KC-10, you know, I would say by all intents and purposes, the fastest jet in the world, because we don't have to stop.

We can sustain 0.92 Mach almost indefinitely if we have enough fuel and then we can get refueled. And so I ultimately turned the job down and, you know, this is another funny, true story. My roommate from the Air Force Academy is currently the commander of Air Force One. Now I'm not going to say his name because he's not posting the stuff on social media. And I don't think he really wants everyone to know, you know, that he's the 17th ever presidential pilot. So he flew for Obama and then Trump and then now Biden and potentially whoever is either A, reelected or elected next. But he got the job and he's an outstanding American and a great aviator.

And a terrific job on the production, editing and storytelling by our own Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Peter Braxton for sharing the story of the interview he got to be the pilot of Air Force Two after graduating with a master's of business and accepting a job offer at Credit Suisse. Which way did he go? Which should he choose? Well, he chose in the end his future life as a civilian.

But what a job offer it was. The story of Peter Braxton's first job after his military service here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American and click the donate button. Give a little give a lot. Go to our American and give. Learn more at

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-06 04:56:42 / 2023-11-06 05:01:25 / 5

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