Columbus Mississippi Visit
So where do I start about the whole week with my daughter and her husband. I flow out on Tuesday, and from the Birmingham, AL. Airport it was to be a 2 hr drive in a rental car to Columbus Air Force Base, (CAFB). But much to my surprise Amy was just outside the security gate to greet me. I get tearful just thinking about that moment. It also meant we had at least 4 more hours together. On Wednesday morning her class of student pilots had a breakfast get to know everybody thing. Then we went into the flight room where they have pre-flight briefings, and some schooling. The Instructors were showing us what a normal day was like for our kids. They had some tuff questions for the students, but pre-feed the families the answers. Amy had the first question and it was about circuit breakers on the plane, perfect! I think she saw right away through the setup. We then saw the control tower, then the flight line. We got to see up close the plane she just finished training on, T-6 and her next trainer, T-1. Also called by the students (T-Fun), a twin-engine jet like a small corporate jet. Then it was fun time known as SIM time. (Nothing to do with Sim Redmond Band) SIM is for flight simulator. Jeremy and I flew the T-6 simulator. It is what the students trained in. VERY VERY REALISTIC, I got it off the ground and even back,... On the grass, missed the runway. Then back up and buzzed the tower. Jeremy did even better. Then Amy showed us how to do it.
That evening was the "Track Select" After six months of training and hard work; this is where they find out what they will fly next. It is a very big moment for them, and the main reason for my visit. It was a mini-graduation for them. The options for the students are; T-38 (tracking to fighters or bombers.) T-1 (tracking to heavies, re-fuelers, and transports) T-44 (tracking to C-130's) or UH-1 (Helicopter) Now for 30 2nd Lt's only 3-T38 slots where open. This is the hot spot that a lot of students try for. They can hope and put down anything they want to but it all depends on your academics and your flying skills. Now we all know by now that Amy is doing well. She did achieved TOP in her academics so some might have thought when her track came up as the T-1 that she might be all brains and a girl in a man's machine. BUT that thought was put to rest when she was awarded "Top Gun" in "Formation Flying" of her group of 30 students. Yah we're not surprised and more proud than you could imagine.
She had to report on Thursday morning, and some of Friday. But I was still able to spend a
lot of time together with her. She showed me the base and all that it has to offer. The town Of Columbus and all of their favorite spots.
Now as a parent we want the best for our kids. Let me tell you that she has a sweet deal there. Yea she puts in 8, 10, 12 hours a day between classes, studying, Sims, real flights and
other things she's required to report for. All of the pilots there are of the same mold. They
are all to be thanked for their commitment to our country. They work their ass's off.
Stress and danger are a part of life there, and they love it. They compete with each other
but at the same time they help each other with studies and family things. They would never let a fellow student just fail with out all of them helping him or her as much as they could.
On the base we take care of the student pilots and all of the other personal there. The base is very nice, they have anything and almost everything they need. The shocker to me was a 4 bay garage that they can go and work on their cars if they wish. Of course she has a nice 3-bedroom house with a back yard, fence, carport and many other things that I just can't recall.
So as Americans we do indeed take care of these people and I'm very proud of them. Most
Americans have no idea how hard these people are worked, the level of excellence to which they MUST perform, or they get moved down. And let me say that very few who have made it this far wash out . Charlie Rangel and John Kerry have not a clew thinking that this is where the kids go if they can't get a job or an education. These people are the cream of the crop in our Society. All of them volunteered. Not because they couldn't get into Collage or find a job. But because this is indeed where the best go and what the best do. Most students who just get by in our school system wouldn't even get to the interview part of signing up. They might also be intimidated by the level of management, paper work, book work, and studying involved. I even know some Marines and Navy people who say the same thing about only good smart people make it into the services. We’ve come a long was with our all-volunteer service since the 70’s. And I believe unless we make a big mistake in November, we Americans, and America will stay safe for quite some time.