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November 11, 2020

Profiles of Valor: LtCol Mike ‘Dozer’ Shower (USAF)

A fighter pilot in the Alaska State Senate is targeting the status quo.

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.” —John Adams (1776)

For six summers, when the age spread between our kids allowed for cross-country road trips that would be meaningful for our youngest son, we would load up the Suburban and set out for two weeks. Most often those trips started from our home in Tennessee, and over six years we covered most of our great nation at the ground level. In every case, designing the itinerary for those trips was a labor of love, figuring out how to optimally take advantage of our time and distance.

A few times, our starting point required a flight and then a rental car. That was the case in 2009, when we mounted up for Alaska and had many adventures between Homer and Fairbanks.

That Alaska trip was the most memorable of all — at least for the boys. I’ve been there many times over the last 40 years, and I knew our family would love it. Our activities, beyond taking in the majesty of this vast frontier, included dog-sledding, hikes, August snowball fights, grizzly encounters, watching glacier calving, wilderness bush and snow landings, and, of course, crossing paths with Patriot Post friends. One of those paths led us to Elmendorf AFB, where we caught up with an F-22 squadron commander, Mike “Dozer” Shower — a member of our National Advisory Committee.

On Veterans Day each year, I profile a veteran whom I’ve found to be an inspiration. Dozer is one such Patriot. His story will be familiar in some ways to all veterans, but I think those of you who haven’t had the privilege of serving our nation in uniform will also find it meaningful.

When Mike was a toddler growing up in Florida — a long way from where he and his family live today — his mom said he would annoy the heck out of her until she would take him to the airport to watch planes.

He says: “I used to get in trouble during high school football practice in Lakeland because the F-16s had low-level routes that ran by, and when they’d zip over I would just stand there in the middle of practice to watch. I think I’ll look up at the sound of a plane until the day I leave this earth.”

His first airplane ride was on a trip to Alaska with his grandparents in 1977 (also the first year I went to Alaska, but I’m 10 years older than Mike). “It was a floatplane ride and that was all it took,” he says. “Anything and everything aviation — I couldn’t get enough of it.”

According to Dozer, this was his path to F-15 combat missions and F-22 squadron command — and now … wait for it:

“The fast jets were an irresistible call for me. I knew I wanted to be a fighter pilot as far back as I can remember. I told my 8th grade homeroom teacher I wanted to be a fighter pilot and asked what I had to do to make that happen. She laughed — I wonder what she’d think now? I was a decent student and athlete, and I figured the Air Force Academy was the place for me — sign me up! I did - every - single - thing - I could to get there. I was in JROTC during all of my high school years, and I was able to get a JROTC USAFA appointment.”

“I had a file an inch thick when I showed up at USAFA. JROTC, CAP, every sport, advanced classes, and I took the SAT and ACT multiple times to keep getting a better score. I had a job when I was a teenager in order to pay for flying lessons starting at 15, and I completed my private license with single- and multi-engine ratings before I graduated. I wasn’t going to college or flying jets unless I got a scholarship — as one of four kids with good parents who didn’t have the money to send one of us to college, USAFA was the best option.”

“I was an average student, but my flight scores were high, and after graduating from USAFA and entering pilot training, I was in my element. I ranked well in just about everything I did in the air, and was the top graduate of my initial pilot training, then F-15C training. By the grace of God I was in a place where I could excel. A succession of assignments in the F-15 would lead to a dark night over Kosovo, where I engaged and shot down two Mig 29s (although given credit for only one). That was an exciting night. (The Kosovo engagements were the last air-to-air shootdowns on record — more on that night here. Needless to say, the F-15 has a perfect combat record: 104 to 0!)

"Then it was back to weapons school as an instructor in the F-15C. When the F-22 popped up in late 2001, I wanted to fly that shiny new jet. I joined eight other pilots and flew the operational tests at Edwards AFB, before helping stand up the F-22 combat wing at Langley. (You can view one of Dozer’s Raptor flight demonstrations here and a heritage flight here.)”

“From there it was off to Elmendorf to stand up that F-22 combat wing. At 20 years in, the options for next billets looked like flying desks — after squadron command you’re lucky if you ever get to fly again. I was privileged to see and do more than most people ever do or I ever dreamed I would. At the age of 42, God had my family and I where He wanted us, and Alaska was where we wanted to live so, I ended my AF career there.”

“It was actually much harder to hit the transmit button on retirement than I thought it would be — it was at that moment I truly realized just how much I loved serving. But it was ultimately the right thing for my family, so off we went. I took my 20 years and 3,400 hours of experience right out the door — one of the less-than-optimum policies of the U.S. military — up or out. It took two years for another pilot to get as many Raptor hours as I had. I tried to join the reserves to keep serving but the 3-star Reserve Commander didn’t want an ‘old’ guy. So, I did what a lot of career service pilots do — got a great job with the world’s best cargo carrier, in my case home base Anchorage and routes to Asia.”

And here’s the “wait for it” part of Dozer’s story: “After departing AF active duty, my sense of duty and desire to serve kicked me in the tail again. I had no expectation or desire to be ‘IN’ politics, but God has this way of putting us where He wants us.”

In 2018, there was an open seat in the Alaska State Senate, and Mike was appointed by then-Governor Bill Walker to fill that seat. Later that year Mike won election to that seat.

Naturally, he immediately started making trouble for the status quo: “I refused to join the Republicans’ corrupt binding caucus — and went head-to-head with Senate leadership five minutes after being sworn in. They have since learned about how stubborn and focused a fighter pilot can be. I really didn’t see this coming, and I really don’t like politics. But I’ve been watching our nation slip from a constitutional republic to something much less desirable. So my wife and I decided as a family that taking on the Senate was the right thing to do — and we jumped in with both feet. God never promised life would be fair or easy.”

Without going into the complexities, suffice it to say that Alaska has a draconian and unethical binding caucus rule unlike any other state, and it perpetuates a bloated government and an unsustainable fiscal path overrun with union and special interests. With a population of only 730,000 people, Alaska has the highest per capita state government cost and is over $2 billion in the red.

Dozer is now plowing through the sludge, and he’s the right person for the job. Suffice it to say, however you imagine he won the call sign “Dozer,” the backstory is better — but for the sake of our younger readers, I will refrain from elaboration, other than to say his Kenpo Karate black belt was a factor.

In the most recent Alaska state legislature election, seven RINOs got the boot and were replaced with genuine conservatives. That happened in other state legislatures in the lower 48.

Mike says: “I’m outnumbered, but when you love our country, love our state, and have a vested interest in wanting to make it better — it’s hard to say no. I can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I choose the latter. I also believe the great unwashed masses, the deplorables, the bitter clingers to their guns and Bibles, must awaken, as we are in a full-on battle for the soul of our nation — in fact in a fight for its very survival. Grassroots folks, including tens of millions of Christians, must get off the bench and get in the game before it’s too late. Fact is, despite the Trump v. Biden outcome, millions of American Patriots who love our country are rising in greater numbers to the call.”

Like many of you reading this, Mike concludes, “I have always had an emotional attachment to our nation I can’t explain, but it runs to my core. I take great comfort in the knowledge that a hundred million Patriots of all ages share this attachment.”

That is a snapshot of how my friend converted his military service into civilian service, and the support of his family, as with all military families, remains essential to his success.

I’d like to report that Mike’s next stop would be the U.S. Senate in 2022, putting mushy RINO Lisa Murkowski out to pasture. But I don’t think he or his wife, Michelle, would tolerate the Beltway swamp. Thus, we might have to settle for Governor Dozer when the time is right.

Finally, while Mike and I have few disagreements, there is one point on which we just can’t agree: His carry weapon of choice is a Glock while I know SIGs, which I carried as an LEO for years, are far superior!

I should note, Dozer did have an undue influence on our son’s choice of USAFA over the Naval Academy, but he found his way back to the Marine Corps!

Fellow Patriots, we set aside Veterans Day to honor the sacrifice of generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen, and those serving today, who have carried forward the banner of Liberty since the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord. Our family’s long line of military Patriots are among them.

Millions of American Patriots have honored their oaths “to support and defend” the Liberty that is eternally “endowed by our Creator,” as affirmed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in our Constitution.

Amid all the political rancor that dominates the public discourse and news cycles, we should remind others of the following observation from Army veteran Charles M. Province:

It is the Soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

At one point in their lives, all veterans have written a blank check made payable to “The People of the United States of America” for an amount up to and including their lives.

To genuinely demonstrate gratitude for our military veterans and those still serving, Patriots who have and continue to defend the Liberty we enjoy, here is my suggestion: Strive to be, first and foremost, an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice.

And I would add, we should also honor their service by ensuring the integrity of our elections.

And last, as my friend Gen. B.B. Bell (USA, Ret.) wrote earlier this week: “Now more than ever, our young military men and women need a clear and unequivocal touchstone for American Liberty. There is no more clear and consistent voice for Liberty than The Patriot Post and I ask that you help keep this voice loud and clear, especially for our young people in uniform. Please support our 2020 Year-End Campaign today.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

"Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

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