Saturday, November 22, 2008


Had a good Saturday today. Got a lot of misc errands done around the house including purchasing my Christmas tickets. This afternoon Phil and I went out with a mission to find a shooting range somewhere around here. Since it is Mississippi we figured it should be pretty easy to find a spot since there is so much empty land around here and so many gun-carrying locals and hunters. Well...we ended up driving around for a long time! Eventually we started taking roads that looked like they'd get us farther and farther from civilization. Finally we ended up just parking under a bridge and hiking out into some woods next to a river and setting up some trash left there by some campers to shoot at against a burm. We didn't shoot any of his rifles as it was just too close of an area but we did get to shoot through a few clips of my .45 and his .22. It was nice because I just HAD to try out my new pistol, but we've definitely got to find a better and easier place to shoot in the future!

Yesterday we really had almost nothing at all to do. It was a report to fly day so Phil and I just went in at 8 for holiday safety briefings and then came back and chilled until a little after 12. Then we went in to be ready for a USEM event and some flightline academics. Well, we ended up sitting around until after 5 o'clock just waiting on the USEM to finally do something with us! It was the rudest thing because they changed the schedule by taking the event and classes off the board, but didn't bother to inform a single one of us. Then we had to ask them about the USEM event and he finally told we'd still have one but 'not right now', which evidently is supposed to mean 'about three hours from now'. So again we sat around doing nothing (most of us had studied so much up to this point that there was no more to be gained from it) in the squadron heritage room, and then decided we'd move into the flight room just to give him the hint that we were ready to do this thing and get out of there! So we all moved into the flight room and set up the chairs and all for the USEM event while he continued to sit at his computer and read emails and completely ignore all of us. Then, he sat around just chatting and joking for over an hour with a few other IPs and then finally just got up and left the room with them without saying a thing to us!! So again we sat and waited. Finally the flight commander came in very surprised to still see us there and asked what we were doing. We said we were wondering that ourselves! Finally he found this guy and brought him back in and he eventually told us that we'd just go ahead and take one of our no-notice tests. This was after 5!! Our first event was supposed to have started at 2! So needless to say we were pretty ripped about all of this. That's just completely out of line and shows a complete lack of mutual respect on their part, and certainly does nothing to bolster our respect for them. To make things worse this guy was just a 1Lt, still an Lt like the rest of us! Anyways, anywhere else and this kind of thing just would not fly; only in this silly training environment could he get away with wasting 13 other peoples' time without even keeping us informed as to what was going on for over 3 hours. I couldn't believe it, just try doing something like that with some airmen working for you and see if you EVER get respect or 100% devotion out of them again! I think not!

That kind of thing just makes me mad, I understand 'training environment' type things but when you disrespect me and waste my time without even communicatng with me as a fellow human-being and servicemember, I find that very hard to swallow! Enough said!

After work last night we then went and watched the new Bond movie Quantum Solace. It was decent but again pretty different from the traditional 007 movies: still no gadgets or anything like that at all!

Looking forward to being back in Lighthouse again tomorrow, it's been 2 weeks! Going now to shower then bed...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back after a month

So, just to update from my last post (a month ago almost to the day), I did finally get the bike sold to John Howell at church. I'm hoping it's a blessing for him especially in saving gas back and forth to college.

I'm not even going to try to remember everything that's gone on in the last month, but I will update a bit on any 'spotlight' occasions I can remember and a few things from really recent history.

First and foremost on my heart and mind is the passing of my Grandpa Lee. Last Wednesday he was in a fatal motorcycle accident. From what's been put together so far he was safely following the vehicle in front of him through a green light when a lady coming from 90 degrees off ran her redlight, smashed into the car in front of him, and then spun and ran into him headlong causing Grandpa Lee to highside over his motorcycle. He was airlifted to the trauma unit but never regained consciousness. My grandma was called almost 2 hours later and told he was in the trauma unit getting brain scans, and I was called soon after and heard the message right after a morning class. I called around and let Kenny and Cindy know to be praying, and then continued inside to work on planning for the mission I had scheduled that morning. A little later I got another message, this one from Dad that I needed to call no matter the time of night for them as soon as possible and that he had something to tell me, and immediately I feared the worst. After talking to them outside I pulled myself together enough to let Ben know so he could continue planning and then to talk to the flight commander who immediately told me to take the rest of the day.

I spent the rest of the day on the phone or next to the phone talking and grieving with my family. It was a really hard day and just came as such a shock. Thankfully I was able to take emergency leave and I left really early Saturday morning to fly out of Birmingham. It worked out well because 5 of us coming in on 4 different flights were all arriving within 1 hour of each other, and then we even were picked up by a limo from Kelby's driving service. It was great to see Cindy and Mom again, but I wish it was under different circumstances. I'm really glad mom could make it from Indonesia, but sadly Dad couldn't come. Kenny came in early Sunday morning and had the privilege of 'waking me up' that morning. It's funny how some things never change...

The time was pretty rough for the whole family, Grandpa Lee, while not blood, could not have been closer if he were my 'blood' grandfather. He really took all of us as his own family and played a big role in my life, especially in going into the air force. He was even the one to commission me into the Air Force the night before graduation. I'll always hold on to that special memory, it was just so neat to have him be the one to swear me in.

The viewing and service were then on Monday, and Josh actually drove all the way up from Richmond to be there for that as well, which was a real blessing to me to have such a close friend at my side during that time. It was really awesome too because a lot of folk from our church family in Richmond even came out. The Bennetts (spelling?), Sears, and Heather came out on Sunday, and then the Hoffmans, Mr Long and Steven, and Pastor all came out on Monday for the service and viewing as well.

On Monday the family had some time alone upstairs with Grandpa Lee, and then the viewing lasted for a few hours followed by the service and then last moments upstairs and the closing of the casket, which really just broke my heart to see them lowering my grandpa and then closing the lid. I'm so glad the Lord allowed me to be there even if all I could do was put my arm around Grandma's shoulders and cry with her. I then returned Tuesday afternoon and got in here around 2 AM on Wednesday in time to get a couple of hours of sleep before reporting. Grandpa Lee's funeral will be tomorrow at Quantico. They looked into Arlington first, but the waiting list was just far too long. i wish I could be there for that as well to pay my final respects, but there's no way I could have taken that much time off.

So far, though, I've still yet to fly since coming back, and won't be tomorrow either. So by the time I do, it will have been over a two week break in training! Oh well...The good news is I aced the last academic test ever today. That means in all of the T-1 academic tests I missed 1 question total. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

In most recent news, I finally broke down and bought the pistol I've been wanting to get for a while. After comparing a bunch again today I finally went with the Springfield .45 1911 Champion which is there model with the shorter barrel. I have a couple of close friends with 1911s and they both love them, and I really like the way they fired too. So, our mission this weekend is to find a good place to go shooting. That and get some laundry done...ahh...the adventurous life of AF pilots...