Off Duty: A spotlight on like-minded individuals that share their favorite Cockpit USA items, while telling their personal stories on what it truly means to be a Cockpit USA brand ambassador. Semper Fidelis America by Benjamin J Steele Although I cannot help feeling inadequate when speaking publicly in connection to the United States Marine Corps, my friends at Cockpit USA asked me to share a few thoughts, so I’m going to give it my best try. This inadequacy doesn’t come from a lack of training or knowledge, but from the immeasurable respect that I feel towards those that have served in the U.S. Armed Forces before me. It’s the selflessness of these men and women who have fought and died for freedom that enables us to live free every day. I am forever grateful to them.
I grew up in a small town in Colorado, was often surrounded by military members, and had considered joining from the time I was a teenager. Many of my good friends in high school joined and I nearly contracted to do Army ROTC at my University, but the timing didn’t feel right. While in college I had professional experiences that were quite different than those of the military including founding, building, and selling my own clothing company. These few years with the fashion world is when I first came across Cockpit USA and fell in love with their products and mission. So there I was, less than a year from graduating college having sold my little company and wondering what I should do next. After much research and debating, the calling to serve in the Armed Forces resurfaced itself from the back of my mind and I knew that it was likely now or never. Rather than the Army, I decided to try for the Marines and shipped out to Officer Candidate School in winter of 2017.
Over the past few years I have undoubtedly had some of the most powerful learning experiences of my 26 year life and am incredibly grateful that I took the leap to serve back in 2017. The first year of training was exceptionally challenging, but it was some of the best training of my life (you can read about some of my experiences on my website here or here). I now serve as a Logistics Officer with an Infantry Battalion in Camp Pendleton California and am continually learning new things everyday. Knowing my personality and personal goals, it is likely that I will leave the Marines after my four year commitment, but regardless I cannot put into words what it has meant to be able to serve. We live in a wonderful country and are blessed with freedoms that many people in the world lack. What a blessing it is to be able to determine our own destiny, to decide what religion to practice, to choose how to raise our families. I love America and I love Americans. In my mind, all of these things are worth protecting.
As mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of Cockpit USA. Not only are the products exceptionally made and designed, but the brand aligns with a lot of the things that I believe in. Here are three of my favorite jackets to date:
"Vintage Motorcross" Jacket Style: Z21A026 Featured in Cockpit USA'S "Off Duty" Selection The “Vintage Motorcross” Jacket in black. I really love the old school vibe of this one and the thickness of the leather. Maybe not for a warmer day, but in the winter this is a game-changer. I wear a size Large.
M-86© Flight Bomber Jacket Style: Z24R006
And USN Brooklyn Navy Tee, Style: Z12B101D The M-86 Flight Bomber Jacket in black. This is the first Cockpit USA jacket that I ever purchased and I loved it so much that I ended up getting one for my brother and best friend as well. It’s a lighter material, which makes it good for medium temperatures and can be dressed up or down. I wear an XL.
G-1 Flight Jacket with Removable Collar Style: Z2108M The G-1 Flight Jacket with Removable Collar. This jacket is absolutely incredible. I took it with me during my travels to the U.K. last winter and it was perfect in the colder temperatures. Seriously cannot say enough good things about it. I wear a size 44. Left: Weathered Field Jacket
Right: N1 Bedford Cord Navy Jacket Thank you for reading and I hope you gained some value from this short blog post. Have an exceptional week and Semper Fidelis. You can learn more about me on my personal website at https://www.benjaminsteele.us/ or on my Instagram - @benj_steele.