Patriotic Tendencies

14 03 2010

I went to see an early showing of, “Hot Tub Time Machine,” which by the way is very funny and you should go see it when it comes out. As I was sitting there in the packed theater and listening to the conversations around me, I was thinking how I almost felt like a civilian again. If you didn’t know what to look for you might think that this is a room filled with ordinary people watching a movie. Which it is, but these people have been called to serve in a greater capacity than most. It’s almost as if I’m not on a military base, surrounded by military personnel. The lights go down, the projector flickers on and the national anthem plays. The entire room snaps to attention and there is not a sound as we watch the patriotic video playing in sync with the anthem. The video has footage from wars past and present, and of members from every branch of our military. I get a chill, a proud feeling in my gut that rises in my chest, as I realize that I am part of this great nation’s military. What an honor to be in the finest military in the world and to be able to serve and protect the finest nation in the world. I think back to other times when I got this same proud, yet humbling feeling. I remember forming up for class one morning, before the sun has shown herself. It is miserably cold, there is snow falling, our visible breath is blown by a strong Northerly wind, the temperature is near the single digits as we march. Several flights march in unison as the cadence is called. The command, “Halt”, is given. A second later and there is a single crisp heal beat heard as we execute the command in unison. I get the same feeling as I admire the discipline on display that morning by my fellow airmen. The same feeling I got when I was being sworn in at my Basic Military Training graduation parade… I recently was in danger of, being separated from the United States Air Force because of suspected asthmatic issues. The testing for asthma ended up being a long process due to certain circumstances. I was recently informed that I am fine, and don’t have asthma. I don’t think the fact that I narrowly escaped the end of my military career fully hit me until today. I am so grateful that I can continue to serve, and I thank God that He has seen fit to bless me with the ability to do my part in service to my country.





Update

20 02 2010

Its that time again, time for me to take the time to update my crazy fans on my goings on! I am still in Texas, but not for long. I will graduate soon and be off to Nebraska for follow-on-training. More training, you say? How much training do I need, you ask? Well apparently a great deal of it. Its not like I will be working on aircraft worth millions of dollars everyday or anything. The silver lining here is that I will no longer be a tech-school student and wont be treated as such. I will basically be on a  TDY while in Nebraska and stay in much better dorms than here. Up until now all the training has been general system and theory of operation training, I will now be trained on the actual systems I will be working on, on my aircraft. The aircraft I am assigned to, incase I havent told you, is the RC-135. If you haven’t heard of it before, I will forgive you, because it is not a well known plane. It doesn’t get much spotlight because it is strictly an reconnaissance aircraft. Here is a picture of the RC-135.

By the time I am done with all of my training I will have been in the Air Force for a year. Wow, if I would have known there would be this much school I might have chosen another job! haha. Well I hope that I will enjoy my job, because I don’t have too much of an idea about what it will be like. Everyone says that tech-school is nothing like the operational Air Force, so I will just have to wait and find out for myself.

On another completely unrelated note, I just got a 1 TB Seagate external hard drive. Both my 230 GB laptop drive, and my 250 GB Western Digital external drive are completely full, so I needed some more space, hopefully the terabyte will last me for awhile.





Tech School Part Two: Chapter 2

23 11 2009

Small update on myself. I have started school finally and am now chugging along making my way towards the end goal of graduation. And once I do graduate I found out that my first assignment will be in Japan. I am beyond excited about this recent development. Not only is it very rare to get an overseas assignment as your first assignment, but for it to also be one that you requested is even more rare! I have been blessed and am so grateful for it. For those that know me, know that I like the whole Eastern culture and language, but especially Japan’s. I am going to spend as much time as possible, while I am there, taking advantage of my surroundings and being a tourist you could say.

On a slightly different note, I am very glad I have my Xbox 360 with me now. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Dragon Age Origins keep me occupied when I have down time. It also saved me money as well. Which might sound weird considering both games cost $60.00, but it keeps me from being bored and going out all the time spending money.





Prayer for the Fallen

5 11 2009

Today I had to attend a practice for a Veterans Day parade. I don’t know how many of you have ever been to an event that had a military parade or a pass and review to know how long they are, but suffice it to say they can be quite lengthy. I have been in the Air Force about 7 months now and this next parade will be my fourth. I will be honest and say that I did not have the best attitude towards being in this parade. I was quietly grumbling to myself that I have done enough marching to not have to practice for the parade and that there had to be others who luckily were exempt from the event. “Why did I have to have such bad luck,” I thought to myself as I wallowed in self pity and silently resumed my lackadaisical mood. Well, much to my surprise the practice was cut short and we marched back to the squadron, where we were briefed on the shooting incident that happened at Fort Hood. I felt like such a dirt bag. Here I was feeling sorry for myself for having to do something as simple as participate in a parade, for VETERANS DAY for crying out loud! While just hours away, American men and women were being put in danger at their homes and some losing their lives. Suddenly being in a parade didn’t seem like such a chore anymore, maybe I could march a little better than I had been and with a bit more pride. things were put back into perspective as my childish thoughts dwindled. So if you could say a prayer for those who have fallen in the line of duty, as they protected their families and their friends. Also for those family and friends who were caught up in this, and who have been affected by this tragic ordeal.





Tech School Part 2: Witchita Falls Edition

19 10 2009

I am now waiting to begin my second and final stage of technical training. After I complete this step I will be given orders to report to my first assignment. I am excited knowing that I am closer to achieving that goal, but also somewhat disheartened as I learned when I arrived here, that the avionics program is backed up and not only will I wait to begin classes, but my particular AFSC has a bit of a longer stay here than others. So by the time I leave here, I will have been in the U.S. Air Force for a bit over 1 year. As of right now, I will go ahead and say that I would have preferred to have my longer stay be at Biloxi rather than here, and that is as far as I’ll go into that. I will say one thing that has been especially tough, well maybe not tough, but more challenging than I originally thought it would be, is the whole Op Sec(Operational Security) and impartiality when it comes to politics deal. I’m sure some of you are aware that when you are in the Military you can’t go around voicing your opinion on matters such as politics, and other touchy issues because it might give others a bad impression of the Military and such. There are many different reasons but it would take too long to go into it. And I am sure that most of you know that I tend to have rather decided views when it comes to political issues. So I have had to check myself on a number of occasions and just keep my mouth shut. It isn’t easy folks, but I am getting used to it. The same, to a much lesser extent mind you, goes for Op Sec. There are things that I would like to talk about and go into detail about, but cant. Maybe not because they are classified, but because the wrong people knowing too many details is very bad. So When posting updates like these I have to go back through and edit a bit more than I was used to. Or when talking on a cell phone in a public place, I have to watch what I say and how much detail I go into. Just things like that, that weren’t a part of my everyday routine in the past, but are now becoming the norm. It just took a little getting used to.





Tech School Part 1: Biloxi Edition

27 09 2009

My AFSC, or job, is Integrated Avionics. In short it means that I will be dealing with and troubleshooting all the electronic consoles and circuits on the planes that allow them to function. Depending on what I am trained in later on, it could be anything from communication, navigation, or weapon systems. I am taking an Electronic Principles course program here at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi. They say that by the time I am done here, should be in early October, that I will be 6 college credits away from having an Associates Degree in Electrical Engineering. I have another stage in my tech school journey that, to my current understanding will be the hands on portion of my training, to be done in Texas. My awesome family came and visited me this weekend, we had a grand time. It was nice, I know I missed them, but you realize just how much you do after you say goodbye again. I look forward to seeing everybody at Christmas! So the next week or so will be filled with finishing the last two blocks of my training, attend a good number of briefings, and getting paperwork done for leaving for Texas. So I probably wont update until I am settled in at Texas. Hopefully my wonderful sister will get some pictures up of their visit sometime soon. And by soon I mean at her earliest convenience that is directly proportional to her free time. 🙂





Into the Blue

16 08 2009

I recently completed Basic Military Training for the United States Air Force. I must begin by stating that completing BMT was one of the hardest and most challenging things I have ever done. It was physically, mentally, and spiritually challenging. For those that don’t know, allow me to tell you why it was so challenging. Air Force BMT is 8 weeks long; it was changed from 6 weeks long November of 2008. The reason for the change is because the Air Force has evolved to do much more than only dominate the skies, thus more training was needed to prepare recruits for deployment. Anyway, I had minor cold symptoms for a few weeks and then got to the Sunday of the 5th week of training. My cold, despite the medication I was taking, had been worsening. I had been running a fever since Saturday and was not feeling well at all this Sunday. While at the dining facility for lunch, I was waiting in line to get my trey when I blacked out. When I regained consciousness only a few seconds had passed and the cafeteria worker was calling for an MTI (military training instructor) to come help. Long story shortened I was sent to the Emergency Room and after many tests I was told that I had a good deal of bacterial pneumonia in my right lung as well as a fever. I was given several IV’s and some antibiotics and sent back to my squadron with orders to be transferred to the 319th squadron. The 319th is a squadron dedicated to the sick, broken, and altogether unwell trainees. At the 319th the trainees receive medical care under slightly better rehabilitation conditions than the normal training squadron, and depending on each individual circumstance the trainees will either RTT (return to training) of separate from the Air Force. I was placed in a flight known as the Fever Flight where those who are contagious go to rest and attempt to get well. I was there for about 4 days as my condition steadily worsened until on a routine check up at the medical clinic I was sent to the ER again with a fever of 104 degrees. I was kept at the hospital for about a week and a half as they tried to find an antibiotic that would combat the pneumonia. Eventually the wonderful doctors prevailed and got my fevers and my pneumonia under control. I was cleared from the hospital and sent back to the 319th to await the go ahead to RTT. The doctors had suggested that I would not be at the 319th for very long, but that was not the case. The 319th’s policy for persons who have been hospitalized with pneumonia is to hold them for 4 to 6 weeks. Also my spleen had apparently been aggravated by the bacteria and was swollen. So they had to monitor both my spleen and my right lung before I could RTT. It ended up being about 4 weeks before I was cleared from the 319th. While at the 319th and the hospital I won’t lie and say I was fine and dandy the whole time, I struggled with doubt and depression at times. Just sitting around doing nothing for 6 weeks was torturous, as I watched my flight advance in training and graduate as my future remained full of uncertainty. I kept thinking that it wasn’t supposed to be like this, why me? But it did give me more time to spend with the Lord and in His Word. I believe that He taught me some lessons I would not have learned had I not become ill. While I became physically weaker through the sickness, I became mentally and spiritually stronger as a result of it. When I was given orders to return to my old squadron, the 331st, I was put in a flight that I ended up getting along with right away. They all said that after a few days it felt like I had been with them the entire 5 weeks prior. I made some good friends and had a good deal of fun along the way. When it came time to do the final 7th week physical evaluation I admit I was worried, because I was not back up to where I had physically been before. I passed both the pushups and the sit-up portion, but failed the 1.5 mile run with a time of 12:39 (passing is under 11:57). So I had to retake it in the beginning of 8th week, the week of graduation. That Monday I had to get a ultrasound done in the morning, so I couldn’t retest. So I ended up retesting for the 1.5 mile run on Tuesday, the day my family was going to leave for my graduation. Needless to say that I was very worried, not only because if I didn’t drop about a minute on my run I wouldn’t graduate, but also that I would mess up my families plans yet again. I prayed a lot more than usual for the ability to pass the run time again. When Tuesday morning came along, I ran as hard as I could, coughing up mucus and nastiness the entire time, making a time of 11:40. And that is some of why BMT was so challenging for me, but I would do it again if given the chance. I feel that I have changed for the better and have grown physically, mentally, and spiritually. I love the fact that my job for the next 4 years will be to serve and protect my country, my family, and my friends.