9 Lives of a Fighter Pilot: One pilot’s personal story as an American patriot

A pilot's life is never dull, especially when you're a jet fighter pilot in the Marines flying assault missions in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's reign and then when you work at the White House under President Clinton! Sometimes you have close calls with Death. Sometimes you get nine lives. You better live the ninth to its fullest! This is Colonel Greg Raths' life... a roadmap for success. More

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About Gregory Raths

Born in 1953 in Phoenix, the young boy with an adventurous spirit would grow up to become Colonel Greg Raths who wouldn't just fly jet fighters in combat, but also go on to work in the White House for our Commander-in-Chief, President Bill Clinton. After time in early education in Catholic schools, young Greg made a plan for his life, starting with college and then the Marines. It turned out that these were excellent choices. After graduating high school in 1971, Greg went to Arizona State University, where he would earn his Bachelor Degree in 1975, the same year he entered the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant.

Sticking to his plan, Greg would fulfill his lifelong dream to become a fighter pilot. He earned his Navy wings in 1977 and began his overseas tour in Japan and on the Aircraft Carrier USS Midway in 1979 flying the RF-4B Phantom II.

In 1986 he was promoted to Major, commanded the Recruiting Station in Detroit, and in 1991 he was deployed to Bahrain during Desert Storm, flying the F/A-18 Hornet. He showed his abilities as a leader there, and in 1993 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. From there, Greg headed a Marine Corps Fighter Squadron and took the squadron to sea aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (1993-1994). In 1996 he earned his Masters Degree from the National Defense University. After school he went to work at the White House as Assistant Chief of Staff of the White House Military Office, for three years.

From 1999 until 2001, Greg was a Marine Aircraft Group Commander, from 2003 to 2004 he was the Chief of Staff of a Marine Aircraft Wing, and in 2004 he took on his role as the Marine Aircraft Wing Commander for a brief period.

After his career in the military, Colonel Greg Raths retired to live a more peaceful life with his wife and spend more time with his son and twin daughters. He flew as a commercial airline pilot for a short time, before deciding to become an author.

Videos

Come on let's go flying
Greg starts out his military career flying the T-2C in Mississippi and goes on the fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

White house Duty
Greg brings his family in to visit President Clinton in the Oval Office.

High School Football
My good friend from High School Jimmy O'Connor makes a good run, 1969 Bourgade High School. Notice the jets on our helmets.

Disneyland with my twin girls
1986 at Disneyland when my girls were just 3 years old.

Pick up game of football, 1971.
Pick up game of football with my good friend Nick (12).

Landing aboard an aircraft carrier at night
Landing aboard an aircraft carrier in rough seas

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