USAF Test Pilot Mark Jones, Jr. [YST Podcast Episode 038]

Mark Jones, Jr. is a USAF test pilot, mathematician, publisher, writer, and entrepreneur.

In this episode, we learn how to navigate our way to success and fly through life. 

Mark Jones Jr. usually describes himself as a husband, father, experimental test pilot and mathematician. To that list one might add many other things including entrepreneur and writer. 

Mark entered active duty in the US Air Force in as a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy in 1999. His first assignment was graduate school at the University of Hawaii. There he met his future wife, Beth, then a college nursing student in the US Army’s ROTC program. They were married In March of 2001. 

In September of the same year, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and changed their world forever. Mark completed Air Force pilot training and began flying combat missions in the C-17A Globemaster III in the spring of 2003, leaving his wife and two young children at home.

After four years, Mark’s lifelong dream came true, and he was accepted to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, CA. Mark spent four years in CA, during which he deployed to Iraq again. When he left the active duty to join the reserves in 2011, Mark was the US Air Force’s Command Chief C-17 pilot.

During the coming years, Mark began consulting, writing, and publishing, and eventually starte his own publishing laboratory, Rose Petal Press. Rose Petal Press has published technical papers, fiction, poetry, and 2 biographies of Apollo astronauts–twelve men have been on the moon, and Mark has worked with two of them.

Today Mark continues living out his dreams every day as a entrepreneur and experimental test pilot in Greensboro, NC. But he says that raising four kids with his wife Beth is a greater adventure, is more challenging and risky, than any test flight he has ever flown.

People like Mark show me that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. He wanted to be a pilot, so he went to the Air Force Academy, followed his heart, became a test pilot. But that wan’t enough. He felt a higher calling to bring new words and ideas to the world, to share them with his children and all of us. To do more. 

But it was scary, hard, sometimes dangerous. 

Mark’s story shows us that fear is afraid of motion.

It shows that you can do anything if you just start.

And that’s the lesson today. You have the map, the clock, and you can navigate in any weather by knowing where you want to go and breaking it down into small increments. Fear is afraid of motion.

Remember our five truths: Mark’s past losses, like air sickness, couldn’t define his future. He was determined to overcome, and he did.

Massive change- like starting a whole new business, requires massive action, like Mark not being afraid to reach out to an astronaut hero of his. 

And Mark wanted to feel better, to stop that tugging on his heart that he knew was his You Start Today moment, to avoid ending up being all about accomplishment and not his family and his faith. He did better. He started something new, left active duty, made the change. He obeyed his YST moment. 

He found peace by following his heart. He left his war behind and took action to achieve peace at home and in his spirit. And he blessed the world by it (and still is). 

Ultimately, Mark knew what he had to do, and he knew he had to start today.

You can’t wait. You can’t hope or dream or wish forever. You have to start. And you can’t look back and regret. You have to start.

My friend, you don’t have to be a test pilot like Mark to start. 

You can do it, but you have to start today.

Please check out Mark Jones Jr. on Twitter, @markjonesjr and online at and

Before we go, I want to remind you of the Book-a-week challenge! If you want to get smarter, you have to read more. Check out to learn more about the reading challenge.

If you want to become healthier, feel better, and be happier, you have to start today.

Life is short, and there are no guarantees. But you can take control, and you can enjoy and make a difference with the time you have. 

God is faithful, life is hard. They’re both true. But you can survive and thrive in the latter because you trust the former. Take a lesson from the test pilot, Mark Jones, Jr., and push those throttles forward into the life you were designed to have. 

I’m Dr. Lee Warren. I can’t wait to talk to you next week, but you start today. 

 yst block


I've Got Your Back

Get my best prescriptions to become healthier, feel better, and be happier.

Free every Monday when you sign up for my weekly newsletter!

Powered by ConvertKit

I'm Dr. Lee Warren. I'm a writer and a neurosurgeon.

I help smart people understand how they're wired, so they can become healthier, feel better, and be happier.

If you want to change your life, you have to change your mind first.

My free weekly newsletter will help.

Check out my Amazon author page!