Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mississippi visit

September 8, 2008

Columbus Mississippi Visit

By Jon

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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A nice short sail with a BIG guy :)

The weekend was a little on the cold side but still nice. I managed to get the side and back covers complete. The windows on the back side are large enough that we can use them when the weather is a little off out on the lake.
Saturday was a nice day and after finishing some small projects we decided to go sailing. We noticed one of Dick and Ann's friends walking around the marine that we had met early in the season at one of the famous Fair Point Marina party's and asked if he would like to join us. It ended up being a great sail and he was fun to have along. We talked about making one more trip north before the season ends and it sounds like if the timing is right he will go with us but in his own boat(that's always a fun time). I love this shot of Sean "Jackson" and Jon. Now this guy is tall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lots of wind.........

Nice warm weekend actually it was down right HOT, just the way I like it. We have moved from the Wharf to B dock because of lack of water. The dock is very narrow and it is a float dock. When we pull in or push off it is a challenge for me with the height different from dock to deck and I have long legs. On Sunday the wind picked up to about 15 knots and our very old friend Rob, meaning we have known him forever came up to go sailing with us. It was a fun day and we let Rob be at the helm all day, oh ya we forgot to tell him we do that to all that come to visit….. I hope he had a good time because he was awful quiet… Our new friends from the wharf Mark and Vicky came out with us, so all Vicky and I did was talk and laugh about things the whole time. It was a great sail.

We decided to stay Sunday night because Ike was to pass over us late that night and into morning. Jon and I were on B dock, Dick and Ann were on A dock and Mark and Vicky were on the Wharf. I don’t think any of us got to much sleep that night. Lines on boats were breaking and wave tenders were washing up on the wall and under boats. The wind was clocked at over 50 knots around 3 AM by Jon and not sure what they were gusting to. Go into our photo album and there is an album "Ike" it only has short videos in the dark but you can hear the wind and see sara's hair moving. We fared well except a minor rip in the Bimini which I will repair this week when I finish our enclosure.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend 08

The weekend and Party at the Marina could not be beat.....
On Saturday our good friend Skyler came up to spend the night and do some sailing with us.
The Fair Point Marina had their annual party and boy was it a large group of people..... Jerry and Mary do such a good job of keeping the place up and always being there to help with any needs that may come up.
Mark was the cook for the night (or should I say day and night), He roasted a pig and tons of chicken. Everyone made a dish to pass and as always everything was Delicious... The Tiki Hut was quite busy and we ran out of mixer drinks by 8:30 so off Mary went to round up more supplies. The night was filled with our very own fireworks that Billy and Mary let off on the beach(Skyler and Jon helped). Once again we thank Tim and Cheryl for doing such a great job with their Marina and letting us be apart of it.
early Saturday before Skyler showed up Jon and I entered the Fishing derby and went out fishing with Kasidah. It was just us and all the fishing boats. We did not have any luck but it was fun for Jon. He had to get the boat to ride at 2.5 knots for trolling the line behind us. so he was busy the whole time with as much wind that we had.
On Sunday we went to the Marina Pancake breakfast and everything as always was very tasty, after that we went out sailing but the wind seemed to have died down and it started to get very hot so he brought Skyler over to the dunes , pumped up the dingy, went swimming and then motored to shore for some R& R(what a rough life). When we got back to Kasidah the wind had picked up a little so we spent a couple hours just sailing around before going back to the dock. Larry and Maryann showed up at the dock with these 2 beautiful salmon (Way to go guys). Sunday night Jon decided to stay out with the boys till after 3:00 am at the RV side of the marina , I guess the fire was warmer than me..............