(954) 224-6908 Flysich@gmail.com

My Background and Beliefs

I grew up on the southside of Chicago, the son of second-generation Italian immigrants, who worked their way out of poverty through hard work and good-paying union jobs. My parents and grandparents knew the importance of education and hard work and instilled those values in my sister, brother, and I.

I have seen firsthand how important strong unions are to raising the middle class out of poverty! I believe in “unionism”!

My father lost his job at International Harvester after the company declared bankruptcy and moved their tractor production out of the south side of Chicago and into Mexico, rebranding under the “Navistar” name. The executives all received millions in “golden parachutes”. My father, uncles, and aunts all lost their jobs and were given the “boot”! My father died soon after of lung cancer, a non-smoker. The factory was declared an asbestos hazard zone and super-fund cleanup site. My Dad never received a dime. My uncle survived on his $150 per month retirement check until he found other work.

I have seen firsthand how capricious corporate America can be to its employees!

My family’s misfortune served as a wake-up call. I applied for and received an Air Force ROTC scholarship as an engineer and tore into my studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. I graduated first in the class, more out of drive than talent, and managed to get the engineering scholarship changed into a pilot scholarship. At last, I would get to fly!

I have seen how important hard work is in accomplishing success. Hard work always trumps talent! My track record of accomplishment in every endeavor I undertake will be continued if I am elected.

I worked hard in my first squadron as an RF-4C “Recce” pilot and was one of the lucky few to be selected to convert to the F4-G “Wild Weasel” before Desert Shield turned into Desert Storm. Unfortunately, before I could fight in the “storm” I reacted to vaccinations and was paralyzed with Guillain-Beret syndrome. I eventually recovered but lost my flying tickets for a few years and went to Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles to recover, falling back on my degree as an electrical engineer.

I have seen firsthand how precarious our medicals can be and I have lived through the tumult that occurs if we lose them. I have a special appreciation for all of our members that are LTD/medically disabled. I have been there!

My time in LA came to an end and I was fortunate enough to return to the cockpit, this time in the A-10. I received an assignment to Eielson AFB Alaska, where I was lucky enough to see the Pacific and European theaters, combat time, and experience serving with the Army as a Battalion Air Liaison Officer (BALO). Still, I realized that a military career was probably not my ideal fit, so I left active duty for the Air Guard. The lifetime of pilot friends I had made throughout my military career took care of me as I navigated a divorce, partial employment, and the separation from my children. I am still indebted to my pilot friends for their guidance and mentorship. I probably wouldn’t be here without them!

Pilots helping pilots is the key to success in this industry. We have an incredibly talented group of exceptional pilots on the seniority list. We need to stress our commonalities and not our differences or the company will drive wedges between us!

My friends believed in me enough to write numerous recommendations and walk my resume into the Flight Office. I was hired by American in 1998. I feel honored and lucky to be here! But still, there are many improvements to be made. Since day one I have worked diligently to improve our contract, our quality of life, and the protections afforded to the pilots in my union! As your President, I will continue to do so!