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USN

  • Introducing the Off Duty Profiles With Benjamin Steele

    Off Duty: A spotlight on like-minded individuals that share their favorite Cockpit USA items, while telling their personal stories on what it truly means to be a Cockpit USA brand ambassador.

    Semper Fidelis America by Benjamin J Steele

    Although I cannot help feeling inadequate when speaking publicly in connection to the United States Marine Corps, my friends at Cockpit USA asked me to share a few thoughts, so I’m going to give it my best try. This inadequacy doesn’t come from a lack of training or knowledge, but from the immeasurable respect that I feel towards those that have served in the U.S. Armed Forces before me. It’s the selflessness of these men and women who have fought and died for freedom that enables us to live free every day. I am forever grateful to them.

    Picture: Me on the left and three of my best friends to the right.

    I grew up in a small town in Colorado, was often surrounded by military members, and had considered joining from the time I was a teenager. Many of my good friends in high school joined and I nearly contracted to do Army ROTC at my University, but the timing didn’t feel right. While in college I had professional experiences that were quite different than those of the military including founding, building, and selling my own clothing company. These few years with the fashion world is when I first came across Cockpit USA and fell in love with their products and mission.  

    So there I was, less than a year from graduating college having sold my little company and wondering what I should do next. After much research and debating, the calling to serve in the Armed Forces resurfaced itself from the back of my mind and I knew that it was likely now or never. Rather than the Army, I decided to try for the Marines and shipped out to Officer Candidate School in winter of 2017. 

    Picture: Good times in Quantico at Officer Candidates School.

    Over the past few years I have undoubtedly had some of the most powerful learning experiences of my 26 year life and am incredibly grateful that I took the leap to serve back in 2017. The first year of training was exceptionally challenging, but it was some of the best training of my life (you can read about some of my experiences on my website here or here). I now serve as a Logistics Officer with an Infantry Battalion in Camp Pendleton California and am continually learning new things everyday. Knowing my personality and personal goals, it is likely that I will leave the Marines after my four year commitment, but regardless I cannot put into words what it has meant to be able to serve. 

    We live in a wonderful country and are blessed with freedoms that many people in the world lack. What a blessing it is to be able to determine our own destiny, to decide what religion to practice, to choose how to raise our families. I love America and I love Americans. In my mind, all of these things are worth protecting. 

    Picture: No caption necessary.

    As mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of Cockpit USA. Not only are the products exceptionally made and designed, but the brand aligns with a lot of the things that I believe in.  

    Here are three of my favorite jackets to date: 

    "Vintage Motorcross" Jacket Style: Z21A026 Featured in Cockpit USA'S "Off Duty" Selection

    The “Vintage Motorcross” Jacket in black. I really love the old school vibe of this one and the thickness of the leather. Maybe not for a warmer day, but in the winter this is a game-changer. I wear a size Large.

     

     

    The M-86  Flight Bomber Jacket in black. This is the first Cockpit USA jacket that I ever purchased and I loved it so much that I ended up getting one for my brother and best friend as well. It’s a lighter material, which makes it good for medium temperatures and can be dressed up or down. I wear an XL. 

    G-1 Flight Jacket with Removable Collar Style: Z2108M

    The G-1 Flight Jacket with Removable Collar. This jacket is absolutely incredible. I took it with me during my travels to the U.K. last winter and it was perfect in the colder temperatures. Seriously cannot say enough good things about it. I wear a size 44.  

    Left: Weathered Field Jacket
    Right: N1 Bedford Cord Navy Jacket

    Thank you for reading and I hope you gained some value from this short blog post. Have an exceptional week and Semper Fidelis. 

    You can learn more about me on my personal website at https://www.benjaminsteele.us/ or on my Instagram - @benj_steele

  • From Sails to jets and Beyond...

    The Continental US Navy was founded in Philadelphia on October 13th, 1775 when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution creating one of the cornerstones for the expansion of the United States into a global power. But it is the town of Whitehall in New York State, a town founded by a British Army Captain in 1759, that claims the honor of creating the first fighting ships known as the Valcour fleet. These ships sailed on Lake Champlain under the direction of General Arnold against the British Navy. Although they did not win the fight in 1776, the fleet stopped the British Naval efforts to invade the northern colonies via Lake Champlain, a major trading route southward from British controlled Canada.

    From left to right: Portrait of General Benedict Arnold, and a painting depicting the Battle of Valcour Island. (Painting: National Archives of Canada)
    A 1781 painting of John Paul Jones by Charles Willson Peale

    Generally recognized as one of the first heroes of our Continental Navy was a Scotsman named John Paul, who cleverly later added the “Jones” to his name in order to avoid un-pleasantries in England due to bad behavior. Nevertheless, John Paul Jones became a notable naval hero of the American Revolution wreaking havoc on the British Royal Navy with his small fleet of ships operating in European waters ultimately contributing to the American victory.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7 fly over USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Fast forward to our present-day Navy, whose backbone of might is based on aircraft carriers, airpower, nuclear submarines, and a relatively small fleet of surface warfare ships equipped with enough sophisticated power to “encourage” entire unfriendly nations into diplomatic agreements. The aircraft carrier became preeminent in WWII from 1942 to 1945 and the Navy combat pilots, deck crews and seaman became our heroes for generations.

    Tom Cruise wearing the "Top Gun" jacket next to Kelly McGillis

    The Navy pilots flew with leather flight jackets since the late 1920s as well as Bedford cord cotton flight jackets. The G-1 iconic flight jacket, originally called the M-422, was part of the pilot’s uniform since the mid- 1930s. Their leather jackets were decorated with squadron emblems and hand painted images, classically portrayed in many movies including the iconic1986 feature film “Top Gun” which became a worldwide symbol of carrier-based air power: Navy Jets, sailors, and pilots who flew in harm’s way recalling another era of the adventurous events of the sailing ships in combat during the American Revolution.

     

     

     

     

    The symbol of the legendary quality of iron men and wooden ships translated into the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers of today along with the nostalgic and historic US Navy Pilot’s leather flight jacket has transcended USN history into an important and sought-after element of American culture. With guns, missiles, and lasers from high seas to high skies, the US Navy has a heck of a 243-year legacy.

  • History.com: Jack Yusen

    Being faced with disaster is always a catastrophe. Being faced with disaster while at sea is an entirely different beast. Navy Seaman 1st Class Jack Yusen had been enlisted in the forces for only a year when he was confronted with the calamity of his ship sinking off the coast of the Philippines. While over 500 lives were lost on that harrowing day, Yusen escaped by the skin of his teeth and lived to tell his tale in this captivating short video taken for History.com. Be sure to check it out - we at Cockpit USA have!

     

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