Monday, April 28, 2008

Sim B1001 Complete!

This morning we got up in time to make it for a 0730 Self-Aid Buddy Care (SABC) briefing. Only problem was, we were the only ones to show one was there to instruct us! So, our flight commander apologized, and told us to go home and be back by 9 for our first class of the day. It's funny because promptness is drilled into our heads over and over again here, but so far every base-sponsored event we have been to has started late, and there was another briefing where the instructor did show up at least, but was 14 minutes late in getting there. Oh well.

I had my first graded sim today: B1001 with 'Caveman'. He seems like a really nice guy and was very helpful in the sim earlier. He made sure that I knew all the 'whys' behind everything we were doing and gave me some good direction on how to improve my methods from today. He also made it very clear that I should go to him with any more questions I may have. The LSI instructors here definately seem to be very helpful on the whole, and definately focused on the 'teaching' part of our training. We had some good conversations today, I hope I get him again, I feel like I really learned some new things today. I was pretty happy with the results too. For most of the sim we get an 'unsat' rating for the individual parts (because we 'can't do it so far' by their standards), and then we get a 'good' rating overall for it which means we still passed the sim as a whole. It's a funny system, I know. But evidently my study payed off because I got a 'good' rating on my mission preparation and knowledge section. I'll take it!

We have our next test coming up on Wednesday and are going to have our first study group tonight to start going over the material for it. So far no one thing has been difficult, but the aero topics as a whole for this portion are rather confusing so it's probably pretty good for us to start studying early for this one. Also, we'll be having our PFT finally this Friday. Again, this is just pass-fail, but I'm not too worried about it, but I'm tailoring my workouts this week for that specifically.

Oh, and I got a call from Michelle yesterday that Dad is supposed to be in Montgomery this weekend! Thanks for telling me, Parents! Anyways, I'm going to confirm that tonight and if he really is coming down then I'll be planning on staying with Mich and Luke this weekend. I'll just have to bring some study material along with me.

Chaos and Oreo also seem to be getting along pretty well with each other. At least, they tend to ignore each other more than anything, which is good, I guess. Chaos was definately very nervous at first, but he's gotten used to Oreo pretty quick. Dumb dog had an 'accident' in my room this morning, though! We had a lot of rain yesterday and I guess she refuses to do anything in wet grass. So even though Ryan took her out 7 times yesterday and once again this morning before we left, she decided that the middle of my room was the best place to leave her present for us. Ugh. Oh well, good thing I had some scented candles, I lit 2 of them for this one!! Crazy dog. She's impossible to stay mad at though!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oreo has arrived!

So there we were (Chaos and I), just minding our own business with Chaos helping me to study for Monday's sim. We weren't hurtin' nobody, and everything was fine with the world. Then, all of a sudden Ryan came back and we heard the front door open and the clatter of nails on the hardwood floor. And suddenly, in came this other raging beast--tail wagging and tongue licking with plenty of hello kisses. Oreo had arrived! At first Chaos hid under the bed, but with a little coaxing from me, he soon reclaimed his spot on the top of the bed watching Oreo's antics and trying to figure out who in the world let the dog in anyways. Here's a shot of them getting to know each other a little bit:

Chaos seems to be doing pretty well with this so far. I wasn't worried about Oreo as Ryan's family has cats, so I knew she would be ok with Chaos, but I wasn't sure how Chaos would react (can cats have heart-attacks?) But, he hasn't hissed or even raised the hair on his back or anything since seeing Oreo, I think he'll get used to her pretty quick. This is really good especially since the two of them will be spending a lot of time together as just the two of them over the next couple of weeks.

And here's a good shot of Oreo with her Daddy:

She's a pretty Australian Shepherd mix and has a great personality. She definately loves attention! And she litteraly has a toybox full of doggy toys that came with her! It's going to be fun having Oreo with us for a while, and I'm going to enjoy seeing Chaos's interaction with her from here out as well.

Back to the books!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thurs and Fri

Yesterday was a pretty 'typical' day for academics. Right now we're getting into the aeronautics portion of academics, and I don't even know if I can spell it right let alone get all that down! But luckily the instructors have been very helpful so far in putting everything into the level that we need to grasp. Last night I played FF XII for a few more hours after a decent workout. Again, I'm capitalizing on what little free time we have now before it's all gone! I tried out that shin splint sleeve yesterday but if anything my shin was hurting worse. I had to stop about 10 minutes into my run and walk it out for a while to get it to stop hurting. Not a good thing. My only consolation is that I won't be forced to do a lot of 'running' anytime soon. I prefer hitting the gym anyways.

Speaking of which, this past Wednesday night I hit the gym and did a great circuit of lifting. Then I joined Ryan and Rob in a game of cut throat racketball. I actually managed to squeak out a win against the two of them! Talk about a good workout though! I'm heading out this evening to lift again and then Ryan will meet me over there for a rematch!

Today we attended the 08-08 graduation ceremony. I was assigned to a detail to greet the arriving DVs for the ceremony. It was great to see them graduate, it really shows me what I'm aiming for over the next year. Going for those silver wings!

Spent a lot of time on the computers today going over some more aero and a LOT of operating procedures. The procedures aren't 'testable' but I'll be required to really have them down on the flightline. So it's still really important stuff!

On monday I have my graded simulator ride! It's just a 'checklist' ride where we basically follow and execute a checklist, so it should be pretty idiot proof. That being said, I have made an idiot of myself once or twice in the past...So over this weekend I'll be putting a lot of study into that as I want to score as well as I can.

Tomorrow I have an errands day scheduled. I need to get the oil and brakes replaced on my car, and I need to wash it and my motorcycle as well. Then I'll be driving around finishing up some other odds and ends as well.

Also, we'll be adding a new 'member' to the house tomorrow. Ryan is meeting his parents halfway to pickup his dog for the duration of a vacation they're taking. So Oreo will get to meet Chaos! I'm really curious to see how they each react, Chaos especially. He may be spending a lot of time under my bed covers over the few weeks...It will be pretty cool to have a dog around again, though!

I'm attaching a picture of a bunch of us at the game from last weekend. Everyone went down onto the field after the game and got to meet the players, and of course every one's favorite, the 'mud kittens'. Don't ask.

And a random shot of me trying to get the G-suit on last week:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Somber day

We had a very sobering event today. Here's a news article I found on it from a local Columbus paper: can't give out any other information than what's in the article, but to sum it up we had a T-38 go down early this afternoon and the IP and Student both died in the crash. We were on lockdown in the OSS for most of the afternoon after our test until officially released as they wanted to control the flow of information (or most like the mis-information) and have a chance to inform us of what happened. Also, it's only right that they wanted to have the chance to inform the families of the pilots first.

My heart breaks for those they leave behind. After going through a close and sudden loss a couple of months ago, I know a little bit of how it feels to have your heart ripped from your chest at the loss of someone you love so much. Only those unfortunate enough to tragically and unexpectedly lose someone like a spouse or close family member can truly understand the unbelievable pain associated with that loss. It's unexplainable. My thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families.

This whole event really hits close to home. This is my job, this is what we do, and it can be dangerous. Do I want to give it up? No, life would not be worth living if your goal becomes to play everything as safe as possible. 'Every man dies, but not every man truly lives'. This only makes me appreciate everything I have now and really makes me want to capitalize on every moment of every day. You never know when your last breath will come; life is but a vapor. I'm just glad that I know the Lord has my life in His hands. Please be in prayer for these two families.

Below is a little bit lighter news from today:

This morning I had a great sim. I was the odd man out so I got the whole 2 hours with just myself and the IP, and on top of that I was in the only IFT sim which actually has a projection screen and everything instead of just the cockpit and controls. So, he actually even let me fly the sim for a bit, run through a few emergency procedures, as well as land the plane. And I didn't crash it either! That was great! And it really helped me in reviewing for our test today too.

This test was the hardest we've had so far. We even had 1 guy fail the test, and from every one I talked to it sounds like most scores were lower than on the last one. Ironically I actually scored higher! I only missed one this time giving me a 97.87! So I'm definately happy with that! I went over every question at least 3 or 4 times and there were a good number that I put a lot of thought into, and then relied on just my best guess for the answer. The one I missed was a little shady: I knew the concept completely but the wording and meaning were vague and two of the answers should have actually been correct; but I guess I didn't pick the 'most correct'. Oh well, a 98 is pretty good.

Today was also my day to put the flags up outside the OSS building. I did that this morning after my sim, but after everything this afternoon I totally forgot to get them before I left. So I made it all the way home before I remembered and had to go back out to the OSS to take the flags down...Oh well. At least I hadn't changed back into blues again.

Oh yeah, when we were on lock-down earlier we discussed patch ideas for our class. I came up with the idea of doing a more serious patch, as most class patches are just plain silly. My idea was to have a patch commemorating those flyers who gone before us, and Rob and I worked on it a good bit. The idea we have now is seeing from behind a formation flying into the sunset with a T-6 as lead and a T-38 breaking off as the plane for the 'missing man formation.' We want to get some heritage in there too, so the other planes in the formation would be a selection of planes from different eras of military flight. The top would have a selection of the High Flight poem: 'Do one more roll just for me' and then the bottom of the patch would have 'To those who have gone before'. I think it's a really great idea and it's a patch that actually means something. It's one I'd be very proud to wear, and I'm going to be working on it tonight to get a better design put together. I wish I had some artistic ability!!

We toast our faithful comrades
Now fallen from the sky
And gently caught by God’s own hand
To be with Him on high.

To dwell among the soaring clouds
They knew so well before
From dawn patrol and victory roll
At heaven’s very door.

And as we fly among them there
We're sure to hear their plea--
"Take care, my friend; watch your six,
And do one more roll...Just for me."
-- By Captain Gerald Coffee

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Light day

Today was a very nice light day here at sunny Columbus. The only thing I had today was an hour and a half review at 3. I was able to get a lot of random errands done during that free time as well as a good review of the topics from the last few days.

Tomorrow is the second Systems exam, and I'm hoping to do even better on this one if at all possible. A group of us are getting together at 8 to study, and then I'll have some time before the test tomorrow to study a bit more as well. In the morning I have another sim ride on the systems, and it should be a great review as well. Again, it will be good to get my hands on the physical controls to really be able to visualize everything we've been covering this week.

I'm also hoping to be able to get Chaos by the base vet tomorrow to register him on the base. Speaking of Chaos, he's actually coming out of his shell (bed covers) a bit now. He's actually been out on the couch a lot the last few days and hasn't been quite as much of an isolationist.

And I'm off to read over some more material before the study session later.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Madness

Have you gone through an entire day where you know you were busy all day, and you feel totally wiped out, but try as you can you can't really remember what you did all day? Today was like that... I have to admit that staying up late playing FF XII probably didn't help anything, but it was worth it! (I think) This morning we had CAIs through about 1230, and then we were at the personnel building for what was supposed to be a 3-hour safety brief; spare me! Luckily the guy giving it kept it to about half of that time. He was also really funny, I could definately see him as a stand-up comedian or something; but he definately kept things entertaining.

This afternoon I've been nursing another headache. I don't know if it's because of the changing weather we've been having or what, but it's not fun. Aleve has only been doing some marginal good. I also just finished ordering a shin-splint sleeve that should come in by the end of this week. I've had shin-splints since the second semester of senior year at the Academy, so about a year or more now and I haven't been able to totally get rid of them. I hope these sleeves will help me build the muscles back up. Thankfully it's only in one leg and not both of them. For the longest time I didn't think it was shin-splints, until I looked it up the other day online and every thing I read about them directly matched my 'symptoms'. I'm hoping this helps, if not I'll make it through UPT and then talk to the docs about it.

This past weekend was a lot of fun. Friday I was able to get the chain on my bike tightened which I've been needing to do for a while. Since getting to MS I've already put almost 600 miles on it, so I'm pretty happy about that. It's saves me gas money and it's been a lot of fun with the good weather we've been having off and on.

Saturday night was the fun part. 17 of us got tickets to go see the Mississippi Mudcats in Tupelo. The Mudcats are an arena football minors team, which I didn't even arena football had a minors! But, it was actually a great time. We drove up there in a few different vehicles, had a bit of an improvised tailgate beforehand, and then had center-field 3rd row seats close to the action! The game was great. Due in no small part to our wild cheering (I'm not kidding, a couple of our guys were out of there seats yelling for most of the second half), the Mudcats came back from behind to pull out a last minute W!

We even met up with one of our academic instructors out there who happened to be at the game, and he introduced us to the owner of the team. We even tentatively got his permission to use some sort of Mudcats theme for our class patch. It was a great time. The only thing I didn't like was this punk kid and his sister sitting behind me. His yelling was downright obnoxious as only a pre-puberty adolescent's voice can be, and I was on the verge of taking a bite out of his foam finger and spitting it back at him if he poked me with that thing one more time! Kids these days, I tell ya.

Also had good services on Sunday with a nice little nap in the afternoon. Then I studied back over everything we've covered since the last test to try to keep everything straight. And now I must go and study back over everything from today again. There were a few parts I need to get straight.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nice Splitting Headache

Had to run back to the house after finishing this morning's CAIs as I forgot to grab the Systems 2 book which we are now in since finishing the test yesterday. Thought I'd put up a quick update.

I couldn't sleep very well last night at all, not sure why; but I kept waking up at all times. I was also sleeping frustrated. If you've ever experienced it, you know what I mean, but it's sleeping with some sort of negative emotion (frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, etc) to the point where it messes with your dreams, and then you wake up feeling that emotion for no apparent reason. For instance, I had a dream where I so mad at Chaos (again, it's a dream, so I don't know why) that I was ready to strangle the cat; then I jerked awake right at that moment, and felt so frustrated at the cat, who wasn't doing anything but sleeping peacefully and minding his own business! The human mind is wierd...Anyways, I finally woke up this morning with a splitting headache behind one of my eyes, to the point where I was also upset to my stomache and I wasn't sure if I'd make it. I popped some advil and went ahead and pushed myself to get going, though, as i do not want to get behind at all! Besides, this should be a shorter day, and we should be out by 3 or so.

I am feeling a lot better now as the advil kicked in a while ago, but my head still hurts a little bit. Running out the door now, need to get back in time for our review over everything we did this morning.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday was a pretty packed day. We had CAI lessons all morning followed by a lunch at the Club where all the wing leadership ate with us and then had some time to talk to us about various topics relating to Columbus AFB. The food was really good, but you can never quite enjoy it fully if you are sitting next to someone with a bird on their shoulder. It's not like it's their fault, I just always feel like I have to mind my manners the whole time and I don't enjoy eating quite as much in that atmosphere.

In the afternoon we had 3 hours of review of all the systems covered up to that point. Then, I got home, did some exercises, showered, and left for church. After getting back and throwing a sweet potatoe in the oven, Ryan and I went next door to our neighbors' place (who are also in our class: Rob and Keith), and we studied together for a good while before coming back and going to sleep.

Also recieved some disturbing news last night: my PapPap passed away yesterday evening while I was in church. Please be praying for my family during this hard time. It's always difficult losing someone you care about.

This morning I was up early to get over to the Sim building by 0640 for an instrument sim. It was really nice to be able to finally sit in a cockpit and touch all the instruments that we've been seeing on paper for the last 3 days but have had nothing solid to reference. We've had a ton of information thrown at us at once, but surprisingly I've retained a good portion of that and everything has actually made sense so far.

Our group then studied some more this afternoon after getting back from the sims; and we took our test starting at 1400! I spend a good 45 minutes or more on the test as I looked over every question at least 3 times. A few of them definately had me pretty confused and unsure of the right answer. Finally, though, I held my breath and submitted it, and praise the Lord I only missed 2, giving me a 95.7%! Not quite as good as a 100, but I'll take it!

This afternoon I finally got a chance to take my motorcycle over to the auto hobby shop. I tried working on the chain the other day buy I didn't have the right sized wrenches for it. Luckily today I got that accomplished and was able to get that chain tightened up like it needed to be!

Then this evening we had a dinner at a nice place downtown called the Back Door. Many prominent folks from Columbus including the Police Chief were there, and we got to meet our 'Pilot Partners' which are a bank downtown and 'Links', a developement company here. They pretty much are like sponsors for us as our class goes through pilot training. I'm not sure what all that will entail in the future, but we got some nice free food out of it tonight! Seriously though, it seems like a good program to try and connect to the town of Columbus.

Tomorrow morning was supposed to be our PT test, but guess what, it was canceled! Evidently the guy who normally gives them is gone; which is really funny! I know the guy since he gave me my PT test just a couple of weeks ago, and I talked to him last week about whether or not he was doing the one for our class. He told me he was actually going out of town and wouldn't be here, so they'd need to find a replacement. Guess that never quite made it up to whoever is organizing our testing then! Haha, oh well. It'll be nice to have a little longer to prep for this one. I know I can pass it no problem, I just want to be able to do my best on it.

This weekend on Saturday night a bunch of us from the class are heading out to watch a Mississippi Mudcats game: they are the local minor league arena football team. Should be a lot of fun! Arena football is fun from what I've seen on tv, and we should have a great time; I think we're even going to tailgate and all. Heheh, minor league arena football, who would've thunk?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday 15 April 08

So, I got back this afternoon to find that Chaos was just bouncing off the walls to see me! He was so excited I just had to get a picture of him in his state of revelry:

And here he is just a second later, can't you see just how happy he is to see that Daddy's home! I was almost afraid I'd have to sedate him before he hurt himself. It's so great to feel loved...cats!

And yes, for those of you who may need a little help, Chaos is that lump in my otherwise flat exactly the same spot I'd left him this morning!

Today was another day of most CAIs in the computer lab. This morning we had our first review which covered everything from yesterday. Tomorrow we have one more review and then our first systems exam is already coming up on Thursday. This one is supposed to be significantly more difficult than the previous two tests so I've really been taking my time and learning the material as I go. Tonight I plan on reviewing everything we've covered so far just to make sure it's all still in my memory.

When I got back home earlier I decided that it would do me good to run the mile + to the gym, work out, and then jog back. However, we are exercise security condition Charlie, so when I got to the gym congratulating myself on a good run, they wouldn't let me in because I didn't have my ID card! Of course, before I left I thought about grabbing it, decided not to since I've never once had to show it to get in in the past. And of course, the one time I don't have it, they ask for it! So I pretty much just started running again, throwing some pushups in on the way back home. Oh well...thanks Murphy.

Needing to do some more maintenance on my bike as the chain was sounding loose when I got back this weekend. It was dark at that point so I didn't check it, and then remembered to look after getting back this afternoon to see if I could tell if it was actually loose or not. That's when I saw that instead of being tight and stretched between the two sprockets, the chain was actually resting on the bar between the sprockets--yup, it's loose!! Anyways, I'm going to go fix that now before I break my kneck when it falls off...

Monday, April 14, 2008

CHAOS in the House!!

The Face of Chaos!
So, on Saturday Ryan and I went out, and yes, I found a cat! I figure if I can't be married right now I still need some form of companionship! His name was Chaos, and since I can't think of a name cooler than that, I've decided to let him keep it. After talking to Cindy she said he had to have a middle name, so I think I'll call him Chaos Mayhem 'lolcat' Quinlan. Lolcat is the nickname Ryan gave him.
The funny thing about his name is that Chaos is about the most chill cat I have ever seen. This picture below is of him just chilling out on the floor boards of the car on the way home. He didn't care about wandering around exploring, nor did it bother him to be in the car, he just enjoyed his little cubby hole!

Here's me and my new boy chaos soon after getting him home.

The first night here Chaos decided he liked the middle of my bed for sleeping. By the time I woke up Sunday morning, he had crawled under the comforter and was curled up all nice and cozy against my legs. I left him there when I went to church and came back to find him in the exact same spot, still under the covers! That's where he's slept every night so far, and it's where I've found him every day when I get back into the house! He's about the laziest cat I've ever seen, and when he's not under my covers sleeping, he's on top of them meowing until either Ryan or I come by and pet him.

He's also really gentle I've found. When playing with him he'll bat with his paws a little, but he's never used his claws at all. He's given me a couple of bites as well when playing, but they're really light and come anywhere near breaking the skin. I don't know if he had some previous owners or not before I adopted him, but he definately knows how to play nice with those of us who have tearable skin! I found a couple of other cats who I looked at while at the humane society and they were not so nice! One clawed my arm when I picked him up, and another put a hole in my finger when I tried to withdraw my hand from the cage after petting him. I decided really quick they weren't for me! (bleeding tends to help me make up my mind on such matters)

Today we were back in the classroom during the morning for a lesson from an ILS instructor (the civilian agency our non-military instructor pilots (IPs) are from) and then went over to one of the hangars to get a tour of our training aircraft the mighty T-6A. It's a beautiful plane and I can't wait to start flying it!

The rest of the day was spent getting G-suits fitted and then doing a couple of hours of computer aided instruction (CAIs) where we basically do lessons on our own pace through a specialized interactive computer program. It's nice because I get to set my own pace, and after having read the same material the night before it really helps to solidify everything I'm going to need to remember. Tomorrow we will review the systems we learned today, and then cover teh communication and navigation systems in depth. I did the reading for both of those tonight (about 100 pages) and it's a lot of stuff! It's the kind of material that I really need to see the instruments themselves and just play around with them to really understand.

Friday, April 11, 2008

FACT and Survival Successes!

Sure enough, that Monster came in really handy today! We were out the door around 0515 this morning, and then headed out as a class to a big field on base to launch signaling flares and practice igniting smoke and phosphorous ground flares. And hey, pyrotechnics are always fun!

After that, I finally got my egress training done today and then took the FACT. I had a good grader who wasn't overly harsh like one other I witnessed, and I ended up maxing it out with 225 out of 225 possible points! Yes! Too bad, this really doesn't count for anything as I'm not really shooting for fighters, but it's good bragging points if nothing else! Most of the class that I saw did really well on it as well, and I know a good number of others who maxed it as well including Ryan. Couldn't let him beat me on that one!

We took our second academic test today as well and I scored a 96% on that after missing one question. It was pretty tricky how they worded it, and I didn't even catch it until someone else pointed it out when we went back over the test. Oh well, just a brain glaze-over on that one i guess.

This afternoon we were done before 12 and didn't have anything until 1630 when we were to go support a selection night for class 08-08 the 'Dos Ochos'. So, I spent the whole afternoon doing a bunch of errands that needed doing here at the house, and that included a lot of time on the phone and the computer fighting red tape and catch-22 situations with a lot of address changes and some other things I was trying to get done. Not a fun way to spend the afternoon, but I got it all done that I needed to accomplish so I can now enjoy the weekend a little better.

The selection was pretty cool tonight, especially thinking that in one short year that's where I'll be, waiting to see what I'm going to fly and where. The exciting of those guys was catching! It was pretty funny though as we were the only dorks there in blues tonight and really stood out around so many others in flight suits and civies! Oh well, no big deal, we'll be wearing the bags again before long.

Also, I think I'm actually going to look into getting a cat tomorrow...It had crossed my mind a couple of days ago, and then Ryan mentioned the idea to me this morning and after we talked about it a bit I realized it wasn't such a bad idea. Ryan said he'd seen a shelter around here somewhere so I'll probably go down there tomorrow and see what I can find. I'm looking for a younger cat, but one that's already litter-trained. We'll see if the Lord provides something...should be an interesting use of a day though!

On another completely random note, the waffle iron I ordered from Bed Bath and Beyond (thank you Mrs. Setzer!) arrived today, so I'm going to sign off and make some waffles with eggs and sausage on the side!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chamber pics and Today's Activities

First, here are some pictures from the altitude chamber yesterday. The first one is just of me chilling out during the 30 minutes of de-nitrogen time at the beggining of the chamber where breath 100% oxygen to clear as much nitgrogen from the body as possible.

This picture was taken at something like 20,000 ft pressure altitude where we go off of oxygen and try to fill out a simple sheet with different questions. The point is for us to begin to get hypoxic so we can recognize our symptoms in case it ever occurs in the air craft. It also gives confidence in the equipment since you are ok pretty quick after putting the mask back on and getting back on the oxygen. When I begin to get hypoxic I feel tingly and numb, things slow down and it's hard to think.

This is a shot of one side of the chamber while my group was in there.

Also, praise the Lord, I got a 100% on my physiology test yesterday. It was a pretty easy one as our class average was a 98%, but I'll take all the 'points' I can get!

We had a shorter day today going over all the local area survival lessons. Tomorrow we have the test but doesn't seem like it'll be too hard. I've put in a little over an hour of study so far and I think I have everything down now. Also, we have the distinct privilege now of wearing blues all day unless we specifically have to wear the flight suit for training, and then we have to change back. There are a few small details that our class has messed up recently so this is our punishment until we earn the flight suits back. If you ask me, it's no big deal at all. It's just a hazing time and it's nothing I have any control over so I'm not going to let that kind of thing bother me. There will be plenty of other things that I will have some control over that I can put my energies toward worrying about.

My room mate, Ryan and I and another friend Lionel had an fun couple of hours this afternoon. The weather turned nice after we got out of class so we took the motorcycles out for a spin on a nice back-woods type highway Ryan and I found the other day. We took it all the way to the Alabama line and then turned around a few hours later. It was a great ride, good weather, and the countryside is nice right now with spring in full force. However, it then got interesting as I may or not have gotten pulled over by a state trooper on the way back...Thankfully though he just talked to me for a minute and then told me to keep the speed down on the road. So we then kept on going at exactly the speed limit the rest of the way home, I was not going to push my luck after that!

Oh, and more good news: I've finally got my car put back together! I have all the wires neatly tucked into the floor panels even now, and the amp and base are working nicely! Though, just to make it an appropriate ending, I did manage to blow the fuse on the power line when I accidently touched the ground and power cables while moving the amp (oops!). Evidently electricity just doesn't react very well to that (who would of thought) and I hadn't disconnected the negative terminal on the battery as I thought I was done with any wiring (oops again). But, the good news is that it's finally finished up! However, I didn't have a chance to clean out all the tools before we left on our ride so it's still a mess, but that will be a quick fix tomorrow. What a project, though! I thought it would only take a couple of hours and I probably ended up putting at least 10 hours or more into it! It was a good experience though, my first time messing with anything like that.

Please be in prayer for my PaPap. He's in the hospital right now. Also, Mom and Dad and I think Auntie are traveling down to Georgia tomorrow through Monday to see him. I'm praying they have a safe trip down there.

Well, I need to shower and hit the hay. We have to be in by 0530 tomorrow morning and we also the FACT and our Survival Test tomorrow so I need all the sleep I can get! I'm definately thinking tomorrow is going to be a 'Monster' day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Yes! They finally uploaded! I will hold off on the victory dance until this actually posts, though...Don't want to jinx anything.

First, here is our class during the egress training portion. This is to drill us on both ejection procedures and emergency ground egress procedures.
We also did night vision demonstrations yesterday, and those cool looking red goggles were meant to get our eyes to start adjusting to the dark before the demonstration. I think I might just start a new fashion trend!

And speaking of fashion trends, check out the specs here! This was the spatial disorientation portion where we are twirled around in that chair until the fluid neutralizes in the ear. Then we do several different things to show the disorienting affect those situations can have. The idea is for us to trust in our instruments when flying and not how our bodies feel at that time, as our senses can easily be confused.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday picture post

Ok, I've tried this post a few times already and lost everything. So, here it goes again, and maybe the pictures will actually load this time...maybe:

And never mind. At five minutes a pop these are just not loading. Will try again tomorrow, but must go to bed. So, check's in the mail...

Random decision of the day: Get a Pet!

So, as I was sitting in class today paying rapt attention to the briefer, a random thought entered my mind (as they often do): I still need to get a pet here!

So, what kind of pet does a single guy going through UPT get? I can't get a dog or cat because I just won't be around enough to take care of one. I'd love to get a ferret (yes, still), but they can also be high-maintainance and may have a distinct odor as well. I need something that can survive in an enclosed space like an aquarium, and that I don't have to constantly feed or water, or change the cage, etc. So what fits all those criteria the best? A SNAKE!! So, I'm going to do some research this week and then pick up my newest companion this weekend. I'll be sure to post some pictures of my little friend as soon as we get back home. --- Ha! Just kidding, I had to put that in out of consideration for all those snake-phobic people in my family.

But seriously, I'm thinking I'll get something along the hamster, gerbil, guinea pig family. And yes, I will be doing my research this week and then I'll go pet-shopping this Saturday probably. If anyone has any suggestions as to which of those three (or anything else about that size) to get, let me know!

On a side note I took a few pictures during some of the demonstrations this morning and plan on taking more this afternoon and will be sure to post those later.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Car fun

Woke up late this morning after staying up later last night doing some reading. Before 1 I started working on my car and finished up around 1830 or so, and it's still not done! I'm trying to put in the sound system that I had in my jeep, which involves in a new controller, an amp, a 6-disk changer, and a 12" sub. So, I had to take the entire dash apart to get at the stereo and pull that out. Then, before I could put in the new I had to rewire everything to work from the car to the new stereo which I was actually quite proud of myself for accomplishing considering I've never done anything like this before and had no directions. However, it was a lengthy process as I had to work from my old connection to the Jeep and basically transcribe that one wire at a time to the connector for the Elantra.

Then, I had to wire everything from the cd changer and amp to the stereo controller. For the longest time I couldn't find any way to get the power for the amp into the engine compartment so I could attach it to the battery, but finally found a way through a gap near the door...not the most optimal arrangement but it should work. Then, I plugged everything and turned on the car to test it, and it doesn't work! The stereo gets power, and it will play tapes, but the radio doesn't work. Come to find out it's a different connection and looks like I'll need an adapter. Also, the CD function is giving me an error and I'm going to have to try to solve that as well. By this point it was 630 and Ryan had been waiting on me to go get some food so I finally just threw everything into the car and locked it. So, my dashboard is in pieces, there a million different colored wires all the place, and tools and equipment everywhere inside the car including different stashes of the screws I removed so I can remember where they go again.

What a mess! Looks like I'll be taking the motorcycle to get to church tomorrow! I really thought this whole project would take me 2-3 hours tops, but it's been almost 6 hours and will probably take me another couple of hours to get everything fixed up right! I still need to study for Monday's classroom material as well, so I don't know when I'm going to finish up the car, but I'll find some time before next weekend, I hope! Because I'm needing to change my brakes before too long now and I was wanting to do that next Saturday.

This evening we tried a new Mexican restaurant, and then Ryan has tried calling around to get some guys together to go to town but can't get ahold of anyone. We'll see if we actually do anything, but for now I'm going to start reading Monday's material.

Friday, April 4, 2008

First posts

Well, that's it, I've set up the blog and have distributed the info a bit; I'm actually quite curious to see how well this works out. To my first visitors: let me know how you like it!

Currently my first 3 days of training are posted below, and I do hope to drop a post this weekend (maybe) detailing a bit of the adventures pre-UPT here in MS.

Enjoy, and drop me a 'comment' if you want! :)

Day 3 – Friday – 4 April 08

First day of the physiology portion of academics where we will be until next Friday. Had a pretty good day. The morning was all powerpoint lessons after the OG’s brief, and then got a good 1.5 hour lunch break. The stuff we’re learning is all very applicable to what we’re going to be doing (obviously) and kept me very much in-tuned to the material. My goal is to really stay focused during each lesson, take great notes, review and compile them that evening, and then study again before each test. That should prepare me pretty well for the exam’s we’ll have.
Ryan and I hit up the BX real quick during lunch and picked up some more much-needed supplies before heading back to the house for a quick sandwich. I think I’ve finally got most of the start-up type things needed for moving into a new place.

This afternoon we had some more lessons, but we also got to show up flight-suits which was a nice change. It looks like the rest of physiology will be in the bags, and then probably back to blues after that until we actually ‘earn’ them. We got to go into the hyperbaric chamber as well to familiarize ourselves with the masks and wearing them hooked into the oxygen regulators. Our chamber ride will still be in a few days, though. It was all repeat stuff for me having both done the chamber before and been on the Strike Eagle rides at Seymour; but I forgot until talking to Ryan afterwards that for many guys this was the first time any of them had worn any of that head-gear. The biggest thing to get used to is breathing on ‘emergency’ oxygen where the air is actually forced into your lungs and you have to push it out. If you think about it, this is the exact opposite of how you normally breath: active inhalation; passive exhalation. Again, no big deal at all, but especially interesting for those for whom this was a first time. All in all it was a good first day.

After we were let out, Ryan and I and one of our Guard guys Mike went into the FACT room to see where we stood for the test we’ll be taking next Friday. The FACT (Fighter Aircrew Conditioning Test) is a series of scored physical events to test mostly our strength and hence (supposedly) our ability to withstand the G-forces required to fly high-performance jet aircraft. The test is specific for those who want to track into the fighter world, and so really won’t affect my final scoring at all; but it’s definitely a personal pride and self-esteem issue for me to do as well as possible. For me the test consists of:
60 lb curls
140 lb bench press
120 lb lat pull-down
280 lb leg press
80 lb leg curl

For each of these events the minimum is 10 reps and the max is 15. Each rep counts for one point, however, you fail the event and the whole test if you don’t at least get 10 reps on each. Then you have 1 minute each for pushups, situps and a leg-press of your own weight. Each of these events is min 20 and max 50 with a point for each rep again.

An Excellent rating is for a score under 200 down to like ?150? points. An Outstanding score is awarded for 200 points or more.Happily, I scored a 196 today, and I’m positive I’ll be able to get into the top Outstanding range by next Friday. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised with my score and I’m glad we took the time to do that today. It helped boost my confidence and gives a good goal to work towards and a couple of events to focus on improving over the next week. I’ve also lost about 5 pounds since arriving on station and hope to take about 5 more in the next month or so. I’m working on getting into a solid work-out routine, and I’m eating a lot of fruits for snacks instead of anything fatty. Getting into and staying in good physical shape will really pay off during UPT I know. Should help with all the stress if nothing else.

I will be cooking spaghetti tonight bachelor-style, which means I’ll make 2 lbs of it for 2 guys so that we will have leftovers for about the next two weeks or so. Ryan did the same thing with a big batch of chili last week, it’s a great way to go for single guys who don’t mind eating the same thing over and over again, let me tell you!

We have no real plans for the weekend yet right now besides just finishing more stuff around the house. I still only have some of the things up in my room that I want for decoration and will finish that up this weekend (yes, Cindy, including the lava-lamp that really do love, BTW!). Ryan also offered to help me put in the sound system into my car from my jeep which includes a new in-dash controller, an amp, a cd-changer, bass, etc. He has some experience with all that and will be a big help in making sure I don’t electrocute myself or anything. Highly looking forward to this weekend, will try to make another update before Monday, but no promises!

Day 2 – Thursday – 3 April 08

Easy day today. Had some generic briefings this morning with our Flight Commander, Capt “Boba” Feth (get it?). He also laid out some general expectations for our class as well; he seems reasonable, but we certainly will want to keep our noses clean. We are all wearing blues right now, and we won’t be allowed to wear our flight-suits until everyone passes two bold-face quizzes in a row. Also, we’re stuck in blues for the next week or so because of something one of our guys did that evidently stepped on some toes. I won’t go into who I think was in the right or wrong at all based on some of the hear-say I’ve gotten on the situation. No big deal, we’ll be in our flight suits soon enough. We took our first bold-face exam today, and we only had one guy fail and it was because the gouge he’d been studying off of was inaccurate, so we shouldn’t be having any long-term difficulties with that as a class.

After lunch today we had 2 more really quick briefings, and then a computer intro lab which took all of 15 minutes (even thought there were 2 hours assigned for it) and then we were done about 2 hours early for the day, which was nice!

Tomorrow have to get up by 0500 for the first scheduled activity at physiology where the OG will be talking to us. So, taking one of my sleep-pills at 2030 to knock me out and get a good night’s sleep.

Day 1 – Wednesday – 2 April 08

Finally, after 4 years at the Academy, and 8 months of casual, UPT has begun! Even so, today was only an administrative day again. This morning at 0730 we reported to 41st heritage room/bar for our helmet fitting. This consisted of putting on a helmet (I’m a Large) and the face mask and getting those tightened and fitted just right. Then we plugged into a testing machine that checks for leaks by blasting air into your hopefully air-tight mask. It was nice because that was over by about 0930 and I was able to come back to my house and get a quick nap in this morning as well.

At 1230 my half of the class then reported to the clinic where we proceeded to hurry up and wait until almost 1400 when they finally began processing us. By the time I was finally done it was about 1700. I was seen by a doc, took a couple of vision exams (including that crazy and often difficult depth-perception one) , had my feet-prints recorded (Mom, please ignore…it’s so they can identify us in the case of a crash where often the only recognizable things that survive are boots with the foot still inside of them) , and I got to get my blood take AGAIN so they could test me for HIV AGAIN even though they just did it in January at Seymour. (let’s just say I’m not exactly losing any sleep or the results of that one).

The clinic also put us on 5 drugs to ground test before next Tuesday. We have to take 2 types of antibiotics and 3 types of sleep-inducing pills. This is so we know if we’ll have any bad reactions to any of the pills if we ever have to take them in the future and then fly a plane.
I was at least then able to get a good workout and run in before making it to the 1900 service at Lighthouse tonight. So, altogether a good start to the pilot-training experience. Tomorrow we start at 0830 in the classroom at the flying squadron.

NOTE: I will go back through here later and make some brief updates on pre-class-starting activities here at Columbus for those interested in the gap between leaving seymour and now.