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 Fly Into the Wind Book Report 

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Michael Santos

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We encourage members of our community to use their time inside to prepare for the success they will become once they complete their sentence. Writing book reports is a strategy that some people use. Jeff shares his reaction to Fly into the Wind.

Title – Fly Into The Wind 

Author – Lt Colonel Dan Rooney 

Genre – Non-Fiction 

Why I Read Fly Into The Wind: 

During one of the many daily sessions I was in the prison library reading, one of my fellow PB’s (Prison Brothers – That is my own substitute name for inmates) handed me a magazine that had an article about Tim Tebow and what he is doing now. The Christian based magazine is called “Jesus Calling.” All the articles are no more than 2 pages long. 

The Tim Tebow article is doing quite well for himself after his NFL dreams were cut shorter than he would have liked. His aspirations of being an MLB player did not exactly pan out, either. But he works as a college football analyst on ESPN and he married a former Ms. Universe contestant.

I was perusing through the magazine and I came across an article written about a Lt Colonel Dan Rooney. Per the article, Lt. Col. Rooney is the only person to ever simultaneously be a fighter pilot with 3 combat tours in Iraq and also distinguish himself as a PGA golfer!! The article intrigued me. 

It turns out Lt. Col. Rooney wrote a self-help book called “Fly Into The Wind.” He also wrote a second book called “A Patriot’s Calling.” Further, he founded an awesome non-profit called Folds of Honor Foundation.

What I Learned from reading Fly Into The Wind: 

A majority of the 13 chapters in “Fly Into the Wind” explains Lt. Col. Rooney’s philosophy on how to use 10 tactics to achieve “CAVU” in our personal life. CAVU is an acronym pilots use for Ceiling and Visibility Unrestricted. 

With CAVU we have a guide to get the most out of life. An example is how you interpret PRESSURE. As the name of the book implies, fighter pilots take off INTO the wind because the increased air pressure makes it easier to lift off. Therefore, do not view pressure in your own life as a negative but as a positive and Lt. Col. Rooney explains how in detail.

The chapter that hit home most for me is titled Volition. Don’t worry because I had NO IDEA what it meant either!! But, if I were you, I would remember it from now on because I think it is one of the most important words in the English language. Volition is the freedom to CHOOSE.

While attending the University of Kansas, Lt. Col. Rooney decided to take Sports Psychology 101. On the first day of class, the professor asked the class if anyone knew the definition of Volition. No one knew how to answer. 

So, the professor defined Volition and explained there are millions of people all over the world that don’t have Volition in their lives or in their Country like we do here. However, just having Volition does not serve you well unless you COMMIT to the choices you make. 

The professor then broke down the different degrees of commitment one can choose:

  • –I Won’t 
  • –I Can’t 
  • –I’d Like To 
  • –I’ll Try 
  • –I Can 
  • –I Will 

As you can see, the degree of commitment increases from basically “No Way!!” to “Let’s Do It!!”. 

One more interesting note about the above list is only 1 option gives you ZERO wiggle room in terms of full commitment to your choice — I Will. Even saying I Can does not have the same level of accountability as I Will. 

Although I am in prison, there are still plenty of examples of the power of Volition. 

What to eat and not to eat,

What to watch on TV or not to watch on tv at all, 

How much sleep do I need and do I need a nap, 

Should I even bother exercising when I know Winter is coming and I will be stuck inside most days, 

What books should I read or should I even bother reading anything at all, etc..

If you treat these choices like New Year’s Resolutions where there are more I’ll Try’s than I Will’s, failure is almost certain. By committing to I Will AND telling others I Will, you have created accountability and your drive to succeed increases exponentially. 

In my personal case, I’ve been working on the I Will concept since surrendering to prison. I cut out sodas, chips, and sweets since Day 1 when I self-surrendered. The I Will momentum has continued to my commitment to exercise daily, reading daily, and contributing to society WHILE still being incarcerated. 

The snowball of success of an I Will attitude not only is the backbone for people like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, and Jeff Bezos, but also for outstanding Americans like Lt. Col. Rooney when he decided to return to fighter pilot school when he was still on the PGA Tour. 

How reading Fly Into The Wind will contribute to my success: 

The power of Volition and an I Will attitude not only made Lt. Col. Rooney a great golfer and a fighter pilot but also someone I wish to follow in the footsteps of when it comes to giving back to society. Lt. Col. Rooney saw first hand the devastating impact war can have on the children of those soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died while serving their country. 

Lt. Col. Rooney started the Folds of Honor Foundation. To date his foundation has awarded more than 29,000 college scholarships to family members of KIA or disabled soldiers. It strove to honor soldiers’ families by allowing their children to receive a college education and accomplish an American dream. The father or mother may have died or been permanently disabled trying to protect our country, but the dream should live on. 

The combination of Volition and an I Will attitude that started Folds of Honor led to Lt. Col. Rooney to use his contacts at the PGA to hold a Patriot Golf Day, which is now a nationwide fundraiser held at golf courses across the Country over Memorial Day weekend. 

The Fly Into the Wind book made me ask myself a question: 

Will I choose to help others not just when I get OUT of prison, but while I am IN prison? 

I have 2 words in response to that questions – I WILL!!! 

About Me: 

My name is Jeff Piecka and I was sentenced to 34 months in a Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, WI, after committing and pleading guilty to a white collar crime. Before self-surrendering on June 6, 2022, I promised my wife and family that I WILL exit prison a better husband, son, brother, Christian, future employee, and overall better member of society because I am going to better myself in 3 ways: 

1) Physically–Not just for vanity purposes but a better operating body equals a better operating mind. 2) Mentally–Reading books, stories, papers, and magazines that educate and elevate my mind and expand my vocabulary. 

3) Spiritually–For ME, this means learning more from the Bible but it can mean whatever “Greater Good” you believe in. 

Shortly after self-surrendering and reading Michael Santos’s book “Earning Freedom–Conquering a 45 Year Prison Term”, it inspired me to want to help just 1 person who is possibly heading to prison so I started emailing my family Posts that my sister uses to post as a Blog on Reddit dot com called “Letters From Federal Prison”. 

I believe to date the blog has close to 7,000 views and shares plus 3 comments from people that the Blog has helped them. This has motivated me to keep writing (which I have NEVER done anything like this before) and I REALLY want to help more people when I return to society next year. 

Thanks for Reading!! 

Jeff Piecka 

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