Bizav Warriors: Patrick Donaldson

 - December 29, 2009, 8:57 AM

Some in the business aviation community leave behind their families and jobs to serve in active war zones. This month, in the first of a new AIN series intended to recognize those in our community who defend the way of life we continue to enjoy back home, senior editor David A. Lombardo spoke with Sextant Advisory principal Patrick Donaldson about his service in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Arizona Air National Guard. This is Donaldson’s story. If you or someone you know in business aviation is absent and in harm’s way on our behalf, we’d like to hear from you.    

In many ways flying for the Air National Guard is like being in a flying club with 50 great friends. Unlike an active-duty assignment, we serve with the same group for our entire career. We operate around the world, and while there are challenging moments there are also many good times in between.

People tend to think of us as making great sacrifices to have a full-time job and a military career, but it’s our families that really make the sacrifice. I’ve been married to my wife, Shannon, for 13 years, and she and our kids Thomas (12), Katie (8), Josephine (5) and Libby (3) are the ones who make the greatest sacrifices. While they are somewhat used to the fact that my commitments take me away, it is still
a challenge.

With Sextant Advisory I focus on sales, marketing, business development and project management. I find it interesting how my projects with the military and civilian sectors complement each other. I see opportunities, ideas and perspectives that cross the civilian and military lines.

When I’m deployed many of my obligations can be planned around but ultimately I rely on my partners and associates to pick up the slack. Family and work associates make many allowances so that I can serve with the Air National Guard. It is no small sacrifice on their part and something I think about every day that I’m not home.

From my perspective the air portion of the war is more a test of endurance.
My responsibilities primarily include refueling missions in support of any operation anywhere in the world, such as  flying around-the-clock missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I find it incredible that pilots and enlisted personnel in their early to mid-twenties have amassed as many as 200 combat missions already. Big kudos also go to our maintenance technicians, who keep an aging fleet safely and reliably in the air. It is a team effort that cuts across both military and civilian lines.  

If you know someone from the business aviation industry who is currently serving

our country in a war zone, please contact David A. Lombardo at