Joe de Jesus

Navy Enlistee/Pilot


I’ve been a stutterer for as long as I can remember. I have a couple of uncles that stutter on my mom’s side so I’m guessing that’s where it came from. My stutter is pretty mild but it’s always there. Like most of you, my stutter gives me a lot of anxiety and stress, always, ALWAYS, on the back of my mind every time a word is coming out of my mouth, hell even when I’m not talking lol. I honestly believe that if I didn’t think about it, I wouldn’t stutter. 


That being said, I also want to point out that I don’t let my stutter stop me from doing anything I want to do in my life. I used to let a lot of opportunities pass by because I thought “why even try, I can’t do that being stutterer.” My mentality changed when I read a book called “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho. My childhood dream was to be a military pilot, a dream I thought was impossible as a stutterer. I wasn’t even going to try that route but after reading the book I thought that by not even trying in the first place I’m already destined to fail. So the first thing I did was join the Navy Reserve while I went to college. I messed up MANY times throughout boot camp but hey I made it. When I came back home, I started flight training dreading the radio communications, but hey I still did it. I just earned my bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and I am pleased to say that I took the Navy officer/pilot exam and scored well enough to be auto-selected for pilot, don’t have to show up to a board (something I was dreading).


But it hasn’t been easy, I’ve stuttered in front of a whole lot of people while calling attention on deck (that was pretty damn embarrassing). I’ve stuttered through many college presentations. I even had a simulator instructor pick on me, he used to love making me fly while others watched and I was sure he only did it because he knew I would mess up the comms.


The thing I fear more than my stutter is thinking about the “what if…” so because of it I take on any challenge. If I wasn’t able do it, well at least I tried and I tell myself it wasn’t meant to be. I still doubt myself, I feel like I don’t have the voice required to be a pilot. Have you heard pilots in movies or when you fly?! They sound freaking amazing!! Tom Cruise didn’t say “T-t-t-talk to me Goose” lol. I’m doubting myself but you damn right I’m still going to try. If I get to continue and go on to military flight training and I fail, well at least I tried. If I never tried I’m pretty sure that “what if” would have haunted me for the rest of my life. 


Don’t be afraid of failure, giving up is the only sure way to fail. Oh and one more thing, every time I accomplish something , as minuscule as it might be, I gain a little bit more confidence and by doing so my stutter gets smaller. 


“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden