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  • Writer's pictureMatt Jolley

Bernie Vasquez & Warren Pietsch - The Power of Showing Up!

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

WARBIRD RADIO - Bernie Vasquez, now known simply as Bernie, is living proof for the power of showing up. Early this morning my phone rang, it was Bernie. He was alone in the Week's Hangar sitting with his friends Thunderbird and Bonnie. It was Thursday morning (his only day off this week) during the world famous EAA fly-in, AirVenture. Of course it was early in the morning, and of course he was at the airport. That's the whole point, he never leaves the airport. Bernie's been showing up to the airport since he was old enough to ride his bike, but around 11 years old, he decided to never leave.

This paradigm shift happened the first time Bernie walked into the Seghetti family hangar, and laid eyes on their P-51. "I couldn't spell P-51 back then, I didn't know what it was, I hadn't had World History, I didn't know anything about WWII. I'm an 11 year old! I remember thinking, if this is what airplanes are...I want to do this. I want to fly one, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Fast forward about 15 years, and Bernie soloed that very P-51, in Reno... at the Reno National Air Races! He's living proof that the kid who shows up, and keeps showing up, can do big things in life. As an aviation journalist and airshow announcer, who's covered warbirds most of my career, this is the story of the truly successful icons in the business.

Showing up, literally means showing up, and you'll hear Bernie say that during our conversation. When most kids were home playing video games, he was pedaling his bike to the airport. For parents, it also means having the ability to discern when to let the leash have some slack. Bernie's mom is a saint! You'll hear that too in this episode.

It's good to be Bernie, but it's also a lot of work, hard work. Being Bernie also means lots of late nights, early mornings, and years of pedaling towards where he is today. The "best seat in the place" isn't given, it's earned. If you read his social media pages, you'll see he's enjoying life. For that matter, we're all enjoying his life too, but I hope some of you younger readers are paying attention.

You don't have to be born with a trust fund, all you really need is the drive to get up, get dirty, and not be afraid of hard work and showing up.

Bernie's flown several airplanes to AirVenture this year, but the P-51 Thunderbird, and the P-47 Bonnie have gotten the most attention. Both airplanes were restored by AirCorps Aviation, and are truly tops. During this episode I also caught up with Thunderbird's owner Warren Pietsch, who like Bernie, knows the power of showing up.

[Image courtesy of Fagen Fighter's Facebook Page]

Warren and Bernie, are two of the greats in the warbird business, and I'm so thankful they were able to join me as we kick off our new series of shows here on Warbird Radio. Take their advice, and show up! For that matter, keep showing up, and before long you'll be the one sitting up there with them... in the best seat in the house!

Speaking of which, Bernie has several pictures of the best seat. Take a look!

Please like, follow, and share our stories and posts, because every time you do, it helps us stay on the air as a free service (and not cluttered with ads). Our library of warbird content is unmatched in the podcast sphere, and we're currently working hard to curate a library of our legacy shows while recording new ones just like this one.

Thanks for all the support, and stay tuned!

Matt Jolley


[The story images are shared from Bernie's Facebook Page, email if you took the images so we can provide credit.]

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