Former Thunderbird shares inspiration for book “Survivor’s Obligation”

In 2003, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Chris Stricklin was performing in an air show as he had many times before. Only this time it would be a flight he would remember for the rest of his life. “The bottom line is I didn’t talk about it for 13 years and the thing is with trauma, it’s not good to not talk about it,” says Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Chris Stricklin.

He spoke to News 25 about his near death encounter, “I was a Thunderbird flying my opening maneuver in front of Mountain Home Idaho and 25.25 seconds after takeoff my aircraft exploded hitting the ground. I ejected and what they called an unsurvivable ejection. I landed in the fireball. ”

The life changing event inspired Stricklin to collaborate with a fellow fighter pilot, with a different type of near-death experience, to publish “Survivor’s Obligation: Navigating an Intentional Life”.

“I partnered with my co-author who is diagnosed with unsurvivable cancer. 15% chance of living in five years and that was nine years ago. We talked about this and we said we don’t feel regretful that we survived we feel and obligation.”

It also prompted Stricklin to help others.

“I partnered with an organization in San Antonio called Warriors Heart and it’s an incredible organization that is there to protect our protectors. It’s there for people who have P.T.S.D., first responders or warriors who come back and have chemical addiction.”

Stricklin says if that day in 2003 taught him anything, Stricklin says if that day in 2003 taught him anything, “You don’t have to survive an unsurvivable ejection or be diagnosed with unsurvivable cancer. We’ve all experienced trauma in our life, and how we deal with it, who we deal with it with— our spouses, our children, our community—is what makes us who we are. We need to open up and talk about it because ultimately we are all survivors.”

Survivor’s obligation: Navigating an intentional life, was released October 1st.

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