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Jason Ladd

Jason Ladd

Alaska, United States

Jason B. Ladd is a comedian, author, and Marine. Now he flies 747s on his off time. He and his wife, Karry, are the parents of seven children.

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About the author

Jason B. Ladd is a Marine, an Iraq War veteran, and author of the award-winning book One of the Few. He's the founder of Boone Shepherd, creator of IndieListers, and writes for FIGHTER FAITH, a blog on leadership, parenthood, and worldview development. He and his wife Karry live on a mountain in Alaska and are the parents of seven children. Jason is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.

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One of the Few

A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview

A Marine fighter pilot struggles with doubt during his reconnaissance of the Christian worldview. Join him on his most important mission as a husband and father: the search for truth.

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The views presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the DoD or its Components.

(Using a tablet? Hold it horizontally to view the sidebar options. iPhone? Scroll toward the bottom to see package descriptions)One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview is my story--a Marine fighter pilot's struggle with doubt during his search for truth and a reasonable defense of the Christian faith.

Many people fail to recognize the importance of establishing a coherent worldview. As a result, they are unable to think critically, solve problems, or provide their children with answers to life's biggest questions.

The purpose of this book is to show how a search for truth will lead to a Christian worldview, allowing parents to provide meaningful answers, defend against false teachings, and protect their children from the dangers of spiritual apathy.


(From back cover)

"His mission began with a realization: though ready to defend his country, he was unprepared for his most important missions as a husband and father. Drawing from his military experience as an F/A-18 "Hornet" Weapons and Tactics Instructor and a former F-16 "Viper" Instructor Pilot, Ladd warns seekers about spiritual apathy and teaches Christians tactics for withstanding spiritual attacks.

Birthed from a legacy of service, One of the Few speaks from the spirit of a man reborn—with the soul of a Marine, the mind of a fighter, the heart of a father, and a commitment to the Son. Join him as he uses fighter pilot fundamentals to embark on the greatest mission of all: the pursuit of truth."

I've had the privilege of following some of the worlds greatest leaders, and the number of collaborators on this project is growing. I'm asking you to join us. The questions you ask along the way could bring you to people and places you never knew.

It might just be the beginning of your own journey to becoming One of the Few.

I used to laugh at Christians. Now I've joined them. I've led Marines in combat. Now I want to lead others to Christ.

-Jason B. Ladd

Who is this book for?

This was written for anyone looking for a worldview capable of revealing meaningful truths about life.

It will also connect strongly with:

  • Parents
  • Students
  • Spiritual seekers
  • Aviation enthusiasts
  • Christian community
  • Military service members and veterans
  • Men desiring to understand faith
  • Women desiring to explain their faith

Benefits and Features

When you read One of the Few, you will:

  • Learn about the influence of secular culture, its effect on your children, and why a Christian worldview is the best defense
  • Understand why it is critical to establish a coherent worldview, how it affects every aspect of life, and why you can believe in the truth of Christianity
  • Discover or strengthen your faith, become better equipped to teach your children, and gain confidence to share your faith with others

Because the book will:

  • Capture you with an inspiring love story and a thrilling profession.
  • Leverage arguments from the world's most renown pastors, theologians, and apologists as a Marine struggles with doubt amid the onslaught of New Spirituality and secular evangelism
  • Reveal how a pilot responsible for employing the world's most advanced fighter aircraft used fighter pilot fundamentals to plan his most important missions as a husband and father

Is this a Christian book?

This book was written for both the faithful and the skeptic. Whether you're looking to strengthen your faith, or you think Christianity is the opiate of the masses, this book is for you.

Table of Contents



Part I: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Search for Truth

Ch 1 Rising Son

Ch 2 He's Got That Loving Feeling

Ch 3 What's the Question?

Ch 4 Good-To-Go

Ch 5 Bloody Boots

Ch 6 The Marines

Ch 7 Wings of Gold

Ch 8 You Really Believe That?

Ch 9 Read, Fly, Repeat

Ch 10 Will Send the Hornet

Ch 11 More Than Atoms

Part II: Christian Mores and Cultural Issues

Ch 12 Born In a Bar

Ch 13 Down to the Dregs

Ch 14 A Gift From God

Ch 15 (Don't) Follow Your Heart

Ch 16 Eating Leaves

Ch 17 Splashing Myths

Ch 18 A Fighter's Faith

Ch 19 Conscientious Objector

Ch 20 You Can't Handle the Truth

Ch 21 Solving PID

Ch 22 Down In Flames

Ch 23 Your Wingman For Life

Part III: Seeking Peace, Waging War, Defending the Faith

Ch 24 Seeking Peace

Ch 25 Putting Out Chaff

Ch 26 Love On the Nishiki

Ch 27 Waging War

Ch 28 Spiritual Reconnaissance

Ch 29 Going to School

Ch 30 Defending the Faith


Chapter Summaries


The prologue begins with a search and rescue (SAR) mission for a downed F/A-18 "Hornet" pilot over Death Valley, California in 1990. The SAR helicopter pilot, callsign "Arnold," conducts a harrowing rescue attempt and ends with a cliffhanger.


The introduction raises philosophical questions and describes how a coherent worldview is required to provide meaningful answers. Next, I outline the book's three parts with brief descriptions of chapter content. I close by stating my desire for the reader to develop a passion for Jesus Christ.

Part I: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Search for Truth

Chapter 1: Rising Son

This chapter describes growing up as a military dependent, introduces my immediate family, and shares stories which serve as primers for lessons in later chapters. I describe my first trip overseas to Japan where I meet the girl who will become my wife and lead me to the Christian faith.

Chapter 2: He's Got That Loving Feeling

This chapter begins with a discussion about important life questions and marks the beginning of my search for truth. The chapter flashes back to how my wife and I fell in love and includes my first experience with colliding worldviews. It concludes with my departure from Japan and the beginning of a four year long-distance relationship with an uncertain future.

Chapter 3: What's the Question?

This chapter begins by describing my pre-Christian spiritual apathy. Stories contrast an indifference to spirituality with post-Christian-worldview attitudes in later chapters. I discuss the concept of worldview, encourage the reader to dig deeper into cultural issues, and explain the illusion of neutrality when parents let their children decide spiritual matters for themselves. The chapter ends with accepting the concept of sin as an explanation for what's wrong in the world.

Chapter 4: Good-To-Go

This chapter investigates the nature of man and God. The dawn of my marriage and the dusk of my parents' divorce provide the backdrop for a discussion on the depravity of man and the goodness of God. It references scripture, pastors, and theologians to establish support for this conclusion. Additionally, it uses systematic theology to deduce attributes classically ascribed to God (his simplicity, necessity, immutability, infinity, omniscience, and perfection) in order to justify Christian worship.

Chapter 5: Bloody Boots

This chapter opens with a citation for a recent Medal of Honor recipient and chronicles the making of (one of the few) United States Marines. It explains the Marine Corps values and ethos, uses military basic training stories to illustrate lessons learned, and shows how my grandfather's death opened my heart to spiritual matters.

Chapter 6: The Marines

This chapter continues to teach valuable lessons learned while at The Basic School and ends with analogies to illustrate the importance of nourishing both the body and the soul.

Chapter 7: Wings of Gold

This chapter describes flight training and the process of becoming a winged Naval Aviator. The reader will feel what it's like to train in the turbo-prop T-34 "Mentor," the single-jet-engine T-45 "Goshawk," and the Marine Corps' mutli-role fighter, the F/A-18 "Hornet." The chapter concludes with an aircraft carrier qualification cliffhanger and completes my transformation into a spiritual seeker.

Chapter 8: You Really Believe That?

This chapter completes the story about aircraft carrier qualifications and ends with the question that began my search for truth: "You really believe that?"

Chapter 9: Read, Fly, Repeat

This chapter shows how fighter pilot fundamentals helped prepare me for spiritual reconnaissance and contrasts Christian and secular worldviews. It begins with my decision to regularly attend church services and describes the exclusivity of most religions. I include a discussion about how everyone must exercise faith daily, whether they realize it or not. It concludes with the recognition that my new developing worldview is at odds with my old secular presuppositions.

(Notes from a typical flight. See? I'm even writing in the cockpit. I guess that C in penmanship in third grade was right on. Thank God for computers.)

Chapter 10: Will Send the Hornet

This chapter takes the reader on a mission over Iraq and shows how combat triggered questions about spiritual matters. Stories compare the physical death of enemy combatants to the spiritual death of people not yet born again (like me at the time).

Part II: Christian Mores and Cultural Issues

Chapter 11: More Than Atoms

This chapter includes the story of an employment in Iraq and a discussion on what it means to be alive.

Chapter 12: Born in a Bar

This chapter uses the Marine Corps as a microcosm to discuss the need to deglamorize alcohol abuse in American culture. It addresses attitudes toward drunkenness and explains both realities and misconceptions of its consequences. Drunkenness is evaluated in a secular context.

Chapter 13: Down To the Dregs

Drunkenness is evaluated in a Biblical context and includes scriptural references.

Chapter 14: A Gift From God

This chapter opens in the red-light district of Bangkok for a discussion on sexual immorality. It covers the biblical intention for sex and how it has been perverted by moral relativism and ends with an examination of truth itself.

Chapter 15: (Don't) Follow Your Heart

This chapter looks at how sex is portrayed in popular media and includes a discussion of when sexual love is legitimized. It also warns about the consequences of conflating truth with belief.

Chapter 16: Eating Leaves

This chapter relates my feeling that something was missing from my life before my investigation of the spiritual life, looks at the impact of television in shaping attitudes towards Christian values, and challenges the caricatures it portrays.

Chapter 17: Splashing Myths

This chapter explores common misconceptions about Christianity and discusses topics such as faith versus science, religion and atrocities, miracles, creation and evolution, and the problem of evil. It then reveals how these presuppositions are unjustified.

Chapter 18: A Fighter's Faith

This chapter discusses the emasculation of men in American culture and how I once attributed femininity to the Christian worldview. It then shows how strength is found in weakness, sacrifice, and righteousness. Finally, it discusses the importance of both prayer and action, crimes of omission, the requirements for meaning, and how I learned my presuppositions were dead wrong.

Chapter 19: Conscientious Objector

Finally equipped with a worldview to think critically, I examine the topic of abortion. Using Roe v. Wade for historical context, I explain why some believe abortion is wrong. I describe the mechanisms, philosophies, and presuppositions involved and end the chapter with a charge to consider human life as sacred from the moment of conception.

Chapter 20: You Can't Handle the Truth

This chapter involves a look into the social strategies of Planned Parenthood, the contraception controversy, moral considerations for using the pill, and the definition of pregnancy.

Chapter 21: Solving PID

This chapter raises the most important question surrounding abortion and oral contraception: when does a human being have personhood worthy of protecting from harm?

Chapter 22: Down In Flames

This chapter explores the science of addiction, the dangers of pornography, and how overly-stimulating behavior is leading to the "demise of guys."

Chapter 23: Your Wingman For Life

This chapter discusses how marriage is viewed by different religious groups and concludes that Christianity provides both the basis for marriage and the strength to preserve it.

Part III: Seeking Peace, Waging War, Defending the Faith

Chapter 24: Seeking Peace

This chapter describes my struggle with doubt after investigating Christianity by analyzing popular spiritual "truths." It uses peace, war, and defense as a framework for both finding and defending faith in Christ.

Chapter 25: Putting Out Chaff

This chapter describes how it's possible to break the shackles of Naturalism, the allure of healing and power from popular worldviews, and the ulterior motives behind some organized religions.

Chapter 26: Love On the Nishiki

This chapter asks whether anything is worth believing, describes the three tests for truth, celebrates the wonder of rationality, and ends with my baptism in the same river where Karry and I first met.

Chapter 27: Waging War

This chapter contains military planning concepts which can be used to prepare for spiritual warfare and prepares the reader for spiritual captivity by analyzing the U.S. Code of Conduct for prisoners of war. A vignette about the heroism of Lt Col Chris "Otis" Raible during an insurgent attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2012 sets the scene for a discussion about the enemy's weapons of war, sources of power, and critical vulnerabilities.

Chapter 28: Spiritual Reconnaissance

This chapter introduces the Boyd decision cycle (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) and helps the reader learn how to exploit the enemy's weaknesses to win the spiritual war. It highlights the prevalence of linguistic terrorism in the cultural narrative and identifies division and destruction as a few of the enemy's weapons of war.

Chapter 29: Going To School

This chapter focuses on the techniques used by the military to maximize performance and prevent the duplication of errors which stunts professional advancement and spiritual growth. It illustrates how to identify the enemy's center of gravity and critical vulnerabilities so the ready can formulate a strategy for certain victory.

Chapter 30: Defending the Faith

This chapter demonstrates the utility of apologetics for Christians to impact spiritual seekers. It is written as a discussion amongst a "believer," a "seeker," and an "apologist," and emphasizes the importance of providing reasonable answers to those with questions. Most important, it restates the single question introduced in "Chapter 2" which ignited my own search for truth: "You really believe that?"


The epilogue resolves the SAR rescue cliffhanger from the prologue. After "Arnold" rescues the two downed pilots, he discovers just how much danger he was really in during the recovery. I make a parallel with the unrecognized danger of spiritual apathy, and include the historical text of his AIR MEDAL award. The citation reveals "Arnold's" identity, the book closes with Matthew 22:14 ("Many are called, but few are chosen"), and poses one final question to the reader.



Somewhere over Death Valley

August 14th, 1990

The navy pilot looked down toward the earth at the desert brush below. He was drifting towards the side of a ridge covered with rock outcroppings and perilous vegetation. So that's what it is like to eject. There was little time to reflect on what went wrong. He recalled the procedures from his egress training and put them into action. Oxygen mask – off. Gloves – on. Steer into the wind. Eyes on the horizon. Brace for impact. I hope my WSO got out okay.

Whether or not to eject from an F/A-18 is one decision a “Hornet" pilot hopes never comes but is always prepared to make. The Martin Baker ejection seat has a broad ejection envelope, but getting out too low, too fast, or too late can be fatal. Descending with consciousness, a good chute, and air between your feet and the ground is one of many small victories in the fight to survive an ejection.

A parachute that fails to fill with air, known as a “streamer," will lead to excessive sink rates and bone-shattering landings. Water landings bring danger of entanglement and drowning. High winds can drag survivors at dangerous speeds over rough terrain. Low winds and bad luck could have you floating into your own fireball. God forbid one ever ejected over a remote desert mountain range with steep cliffs covered with jagged trees and deadly reptiles.

The pilot's wingman overhead assumed the duties of on-scene commander, and a loud repeating noise blared over the emergency radio frequency. The emergency locator transmitter automatically activated upon ejection and squawked like a staccato siren into the headsets of nearby aviators.

An instant before the pilot felt twenty g-forces compress his spine, the Weapons and Sensors Officer (WSO), pronounced “whizz-o," rode his own rocket seat out of the Navy grey jet and into God's blue yonder. He floated toward the southern slope of a steep ridge somewhere near Hunter Mountain, California. Black smoke rose from a forest fire ignited by the downed aircraft while dark clouds surrounded the valley and signaled the advancing thunderstorm. The sun would be down in a few hours. A bad day could quickly turn into an even worse night. These “Rough Riders" from VFA-125 needed help, and they needed it fast.


A small beeper went off inside a base housing unit on Ticonderoga Ave. The squadron. Here we go. This was not the first time Arnold was on call. He was involved with several other rescue missions involving downed aircraft since moving to the small base in the Mojave Desert. The streets of Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC), China Lake were named after famous admirals, ships, and battles. Neighborhood kids rode bikes up Leyte Road, over across Kearsarge Avenue, and back down Midway toward the local elementary school where they traded Transformer stickers and memorized the lyrics to “Ice, Ice, Baby." Arnold had just arrived home and was still wearing his green flight suit when he got the page. He called the Operations Duty Officer (ODO) back at the squadron. It was 1730 military time (5:30 p.m.).

“It's Arnold. What have you got?"

“There's an aircraft down over Panamint. We need you here right away. I'll brief the rest once you get here."

“I'll be there in five minutes." He kissed his wife and gave his boys a hug. “Gotta go, babe. They called me in."

“When will you be home?" she asked, already knowing the answer.

“Not sure. I'll be home as soon as I can."

“Be careful," she reminded him.

Arnold was a Marine's Marine. He majored in physical education evidenced by his trim, muscular build. His call sign was pronounced “Ah-nuld" and came from excessive time spent at the gym aboard the USS Inchon while deployed with his AH-1 squadron to the Mediterranean Sea. The allusion to the famous Austrian body-builder-turned-actor-turned-politician was fortunate in light of the mostly less than desirable call signs traditionally dished out in the Naval Aviation community. “Bullet Bob" got his call sign from accidentally discharging his pistol during a squadron formation.“ Morty the Mortician," in spite of resistance, never escaped the moniker he earned for being negative.

Arnold was the number one Marine and honor graduate of his Officer Candidate School (OCS) class and garnered respect from all he led and served. He loved the Marines and he loved to fly. He loved his country and was ready to go whenever the nation called. Twelve days earlier, Saddam Hussein's forces invaded Kuwait sparking international condemnation and economic sanctions, and he wondered if his future would include combat in the Persian Gulf. Trained as an attack helicopter pilot, he was an expert at providing assault support for Marines on the ground. Marine Cobra pilots are more like airborne grunts than your stereotypical “flyboy." They are close to the ground, close to the ground-pounders, and close to the enemy. When they shoot, or get shot at, it's up close and personal.

China Lake was a change of pace from the high operational tempo of a Fleet Marine Force attack helicopter squadron. During his three years there, he participated in weapons development and testing and flew the HH-1K and TH-1L helicopters (Vietnam era “Hueys") in search and rescue (SAR) operations. He already had several SAR missions under his belt as a co-pilot, and responding to the beeper was a normal part of his routine.

At the squadron, the ODO filled him in with what little information they had. The downed aircraft's wingman was still on the scene and provided them with a rough estimate of the crash site location. Two good chutes were observed which meant there was a good chance of recovering two survivors. He expected to find the aircrew somewhere in the Panamint Valley--a wide swath of flat desert wash and dunes. They could land anywhere in that kind of terrain. So far, it sounded like a piece of cake.

After a quick flight brief, they loaded up with a mission crew of pilot, crew chief, and corpsman along with approximately 200 pounds of rescue equipment. The co-pilot seat was occupied by the base Safety Officer instead of another helicopter pilot. That meant Arnold would be on double duty as the pilot and Mission Commander--he was in charge. They launched at 1800 hours (6:00 p.m.) and flew across the desert terrain at three thousand feet wondering what challenges they would face. Everything changed when they rounded a mountain ridge and turned north to reveal the Panamint valley. They saw smoke but not from the nearby desert floor. The tiny cloud rose in a thin column far in the distance north of the valley in high mountainous terrain.

All wrong, he thought to himself. Too high. Too heavy. Steep terrain. Not enough power. The image of a piece of cake crumbled. It was 1840 with the sun getting low on the horizon, and the mishap site was at seven thousand feet on a forested mountain. The mishap pilots were on the southern slope of a steep ridge with one about 75 meters below the crest and the other 150 meters below the crest. The downed aircraft started a forest fire burning three to four hundred meters south of the pilots. A northerly wind blew the flames away from the crash site, but the blaze continued to creep in their direction. The fire was not an immediate concern, but a shift in the winds and the setting sun made a rapid rescue imperative.

One of the survivors smashed his leg on a tree during his parachute landing, and there were no suitable sites nearby to land. They would have to use one-skid and hoist operations for the pickups. Arnold made calculations and conducted power checks to determine the performance he could expect from his aircraft at the current elevation and weight. It was as he suspected--they were too heavy.

He found an adequate landing zone with a steady wind to use as a staging area one thousand meters away on top of a ridge. He dropped off the co-pilot and rescue gear which lightened the load by 400 pounds. That put them at the maximum weight for the “hover out of ground effect" operations needed for the rescue. Hovering close to the ground, in ground effect, yields better performance for the aircraft. After climbing out of ground effect with the additional weight of the rescued pilot, lift capacity would decrease. If available power was already approaching limits in the hover, Arnold would have little power left to maneuver. There could be no mistakes.

The worst thing a SAR pilot can do is crash over the rescue site. He remembered the cardinal sin of SAR pilots. Crashing would be even worse than not trying in the first place. One crash site becomes two, and the rescuer needs rescuing. The worst-case scenario would not be a fast plummet, but rather a slow settling into the trees, an eventual impact with the ground, and a breakup of the aircraft.

This is why I get flight pay. I need 40% torque, and I have 41% available. It's gonna be close. He maneuvered to the injured pilot's location and worked the collective while he kept the aircraft balanced with the stick and rudder pedals. He targeted a rock outcropping 70 meters from the injured pilot and crept toward the ledge until a skid made contact. Half landed and half flying, one skid hovered in the air while the rotor blades struggled to create lift. The corpsman jumped out and began treating the mishap pilot's injuries while Arnold flew back to the uninjured pilot's position and prepared the hoist.

Having the co-pilot seat empty added several unusual risks. First, it adversely affected the ability to provide rotor clearance and general lookout doctrine during hillside hovering. Second, there was no one to actively monitor the engine instruments while the pilot prevented blade strikes and maintained a stable position over the ground. Third, having an empty seat on that side affected the center of gravity shift during hoist operations. Finally, they could not use a belay rope during the hoist--there was no one to tend it.

As he hovered above the site, he repeatedly pushed the left rudder forward within an inch of the mechanical stop to keep the nose from yawing to the right. Powerful rotor wash bent the tops of the trees downward as they swayed in the melee, and gusts of wind required full throw of the left rudder just to maintain control of the aircraft. There was no extra power, no extra nose authority, and things were about to change with the additional weight of the mishap pilot on the hoist. As soon as the winch lifted the mishap pilot, the combination of increased weight and adverse right shift of the lateral center of gravity caused the nose of the aircraft to yaw to the right in spite of full left pedal. He glanced at the torque--41%--and pulled the collective harder against the stop. They began to sink.

“Get him up!" Arnold commanded. He looked through the window under his feet; the branches were getting bigger. He fought to keep the aircraft steady while the winch reeled the pilot in. “Where is he? We gotta go!"

“Almost clear of the trees!" the crew chief yelled back.

A gust of wind pushed the nose to the right and Arnold slammed his left foot forward. The helicopter continued to settle and yaw to the right. Arnold was out of control…


  • Run preorders campaign (2 months)
  • Finish revising, editing & layout (3 months)
  • Receive endorsements from advanced readers (2 months)
  • Printing & delivery (2 months)
  • Ship: November 2015


  • Cover Design $900
  • Editing $700
  • Book Design and Formatting $500
  • ISBN and Bar code $300
  • Book production (400 soft cover) $4,000
  • Shipping $900
  • Miscellaneous $500
  • TOTAL: $7800 to break even

About the Author

Jason B. Ladd is a Major on Active Duty in the United States Marine Corps. He received a B.A. in Peace, War, and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2001). He has over 13 years of service and is a qualified F/A-18 “Hornet" Weapons and Tactics Instructor and a former F-16 “Viper" Instructor Pilot. He is an Iraq War veteran and has participated in exercises throughout the Pacific while stationed overseas.

Unsatisfied with his secular worldview, Ladd's search for truth and acceptance of Christianity occurred in spite of the New Atheists' assault on Christian beliefs. This allows him to reach readers both with and without a recognized worldview while describing his transformation from a faithless adult into a Marine, fighter pilot, and Christian.

He is also a husband and father of six who realizes the importance of raising children to understand spiritual truths about the world. His combat experience, passion for apologetics, and burden to help others find and strengthen their faith make him the perfect author for this message of hope.

If you preorder One of the Few, you are doing more than support a book. You are supporting the encouragement of a Biblical manhood which respects authority, rejects debauchery, cherishes women, cares for children, and honors the sacred.

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