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About the Book
Most people don’t dream big enough!”
- Matthew Modleski
In 1980 when Matt “Mods” Modleski joined the Air Force, less than 100 Americans had served as Thunderbird demonstration pilots. In The American Dream, you’ll learn about Matt’s journey to join them. See how a small town boy from a working middle class family, had the audacity to dream big, and rose from the enlisted ranks to fly as a Thunderbird pilot! You’ll follow Matt though the mischievous adventures of his youth, and see firsthand an unwavering persistence to overcome obstacles. But Matt’s journey doesn’t stop there. And in the second half of this book, you’ll learn about his dream for the America he wants to leave to our children and grand children. It’s a big dream, built on the core American values of family, faith, competitive spirit, perseverance and accountability. Whether you’re joining Matt in the cockpit of his F-16, or navigating through his vision of the way forward for America, you’ll be happy you decided to ride along!
“Mods” uses his remarkable life story to illustrate his belief that in America, a combination of strong faith, strong relationships, and strong work ethic provide the foundation for achieving unlimited potential. From learning the news that he was physically disqualified to fly a jet, to the news that he was indeed qualified, to a thrilling two year stint as pilot on the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, this is a fascinating journey. In his second year as a Thunderbird Matt was dealt a devastating blow as his father lost a long battle with cancer. You’ll learn how Matt’s Teammates, his Family and his Faith in God all helped keep him focused while performing his job as one of America’s Ambassadors in Blue.
In part two, Matt candidly examines the current state of America. He illustrates how the lessons he learned while developing into one of the finest fighter pilots in the world can help restore a thriving America. Matt emphasizes big dreams, accountability, and responsibility, while laying out a blueprint for moving our country forward into the 21st century.
Sometimes critical, sometimes humorous, but always honest and thoughtful, Matt “Mods” Modleski proves that in America, anything is possible!
most, ‘to live the dream' is often just a laughable expression we use to
describe our temporary good fortune. Not
with Matt Modleski. When you read his
book, you will see just how real this man lived not only his dream, but lived
every day to make himself, his organization and his country better than it was
the day before. Matt and I were USAF
fighter pilots together, training and flying demanding missions in Europe and
Southwest Asia. The excitement of flying
fighters, the courage required to do it effectively, and Matt's pursuit to be
the best, are all here in The American Dream. Matt also passionately reflects his
insightful look at our country today. He
offers a most valuable and much needed review and an eye-opening process that
defines a needed course of action for our Nation. Matt shows how putting emphasis on
accountability will not only "right the ship," but get our country back on
course and the path our Founders intended.
Reading this personal and extremely thought-provoking memoir will leave
you motivated and energized. It is a
great story of a modern-day American Patriot - one who is not just waving the
flag, but is carrying it!"
"Flying extremely close formation...upside
down...75 feet above the ground at 500 mph tends to generate great interest in
the qualities of your formation partner. Mods is a leader, a wingman and
a lifelong friend. He is truly a man of integrity, energy and strength.
Have you ever known or worked with someone who motivates you to do better, work
harder and achieve more? That was my
experience with Mods when we served together on the Thunderbird Team and
continues to be my experience with Mods to this day. He has a wonderfully
inspiring story to share....I know you'll enjoy it as much as I did!"
- Russ "Puck" Quinn, Thunderbird Solo Pilot, 1995-1996
"It has been my
great privilege to know Matt Modleski since flying with him in Great Britain in
the early 90's. Matt is a clear standout among the very select group of
young American patriots who have served in our Air Force. His story
reflects the unique American characteristic of hard won success through one's
own effort, motivated by a laser-like focus on a distant dream. What
makes Matt's story even more unique is his particular motivation...Matt is
motivated to serve, not to accumulate wealth, fame, or power. It is this
sense of dedication to service that brings him to his message in the latter
part of his book. He is obviously right. For the sake of my
grandchildren and their children, I pray that he can be effective..."
- Charles D.
General, USAF (Ret)
"It is rare to find a person
that is the perfect match for their chosen career, and in the case of the
military, rarer still. In 38 years of
service I never met or even heard of anyone who could approach the perfection
that fit Matt Modleski into the United States Air Force. His story embodies the American Dream. He was born into a hard-working middle-class
family in New York State, entered the Air Force after high school and worked
his way up the enlisted ranks while pursuing a college degree at night. He was then commissioned, attended flight
school and had a remarkable flying career, culminating in his tenure as the
Lead Solo of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Aerial Demonstration Team. But this story is not the recounting of a
military career; rather, it is the tale of a man who stood at a crossroad in
his life and chose the more difficult path. The most remarkable thing about Matt, and the
most memorable to me, is the ease with which he made the tough choice. That reflects the character of a man who is
comfortable with his principles and lives them to their fullest every day. I was lucky to have him work for me; I am blessed to call him friend."
- Robert A. Knauff, Major General, USAF
"Every now and then you run
into someone in life who seems to standout from their peers not because of what
they've accomplished but because of how they accomplish it. When I think of the words integrity,
character, honesty and perseverance I think of Matt Modleski. I have known Matt "Mods" Modleski for more
than 22 years and it's been a pleasure to watch his service to the nation from
up close. I was in attendance when Mods
was chosen as the Top Graduate from his Officer Training School class and I was
the guest speaker who presented him with his Top Graduate award from his
Undergraduate Pilot Training class. The
reason I got to know Matt so well is because my son Scott and he were great
friends throughout all of that training and because of all his enlisted
experience he was a great help to all of his classmates. Matt and his family have served the nation
with honor and distinction. When I
endorsed him for his selection to the United States Air Force Thunderbird Team,
he was the first man in the more than 20 years since I left the Team to earn my
support, and he was a superb Thunderbird Team member after being selected. Enjoy the book and if you have the chance,
get to know Matt personally. You'll be
glad you did!"
R. Musser, Major
General, USAF (Ret)
a big believer in strategy...in a nutshell: what it is that one relies upon to
achieve their objectives in life. And
when I have the opportunity to spend time with individuals, I find myself
analyzing them from this same strategic perspective. I think of how I can capture the essence of
that person by the way I see them interact with others. I have had the privilege of getting to know
Matt not as a US Air Force professional, but first as a client, then a business
partner, and also as a friend. I find
that he is the same unwavering person in every situation. He is a man of integrity, focus, commitment,
loyalty, and faith. Matt's book captures
not just the challenges of his chasing every boy's dream of being a fighter
pilot, but also what it takes to make not just a name for one's self, but to
make a difference in life. I can
honestly say Matt fits into that rare category in my life of those to whom I
would entrust anything of personal and professional importance."
- C. Thomas (Tom) Stovall, President, SGM Inc.