Tomorrow I officially begin my primary flight training with Training Squadron Two (VT-2), the legendary “Doerbirds.” VT-2 has the disctinction of being the oldest primary training squadron in the Navy. That leaves me wondering why, if they ostensibly had first pick of squadron mascots, they would choose a “doerbird.” I have no idea what a “doerbird” is. Hang on… Google might know…
Okay. VT-2 officially made up the word “doerbird.” But that’s fine. I will be a proud “doerbird” anyway, whatever they are! Looks like I’ll have a few weeks of ground school before I actually start flying. But once I do get off the ground, I’m supposed to solo after the first 10 or so hops. So far the Navy hasn’t trusted me with very much, so I imagine I’m going to have to work REALLY hard before they trust me with my very own T-34C for an hour.
I am expecting this to take no less than my best efforts all around. But it’s thrilling to know that I’ve got a shot at something like this, and I’m thoroughly prepared. Our household goods finally arrived this week, and I’ve had two weeks off to finish getting settled here and spend some time with my wife. If I’d have had another week off, we would have gone camping in Alabama or Tennessee for a couple of nights. But I suppose our little vacation will have to wait.
Life is really, really good. I’ll be classing up tomorrow with a bunch of good friends from my API class, so I’ve got good prospects for a study group/carpool. Morale is high all around. Here we go!
After our inauspicious API graduation on Friday, I checked in at Whiting Field on Monday morning with equally little glamour. A few briefs in the morning, the obligatory spiel from the Commodore, and I was on my way home shortly after noon.
I’ll be classing up for Primary on the 28th with VT-2. I think our mascot is a little red bird of some kind. Not quite as mean-sounding as the VT-3 “Red Knights” or the VT-6 “Shooters,” but it’ll do.
The nice thing about this little mini-stash is I don’t have to drive over to Whiting every day. Monday through Thursday I just have to phone in sometime between 7 and 10 in the morning. Friday morning is the only time I have to be physically present. The Mrs. and I are thinking of taking a camping trip to Tennessee (the nearest mountains) next week after the rest of our furniture arrives on Monday or Tuesday.
Life is good. I feel like I struck a good balance between work and other things in API, and I hope it continues to work through Primary.
With a few splashes, a few solid thuds, and the roar of a helicopter over the bay, API has drawn to a close for class 0637. Last Friday was the dreaded helo dunker, which turned out to be not nearly as bad as I thought. One of the rescue swimmers on hand took some video footage, which I’ll try to get posted as soon as I can find a way. Monday was our last day in the pool, with practice escaping from parachutes in the water. Yesterday we practiced escaping from a parachute harness while being dragged across a field (by three classmates) and descent procedures in a virtual-reality parachute flight simulator. We also practiced parachute landing falls into a gravel pit.
The technique we practiced for parachute landings came in really handy for today’s training: overland parasailing at a grass airstrip in Alabama. The parasailing was a blast. I was a little nervous about being dragged through the sky behind a pickup truck and then falling down like a sack of potatoes. But I had two good rides and we got done by a quarter to ten.
All that’s left between me and primary flight training at Whiting Field is a one-hour checkout briefing tomorrow and a handshake from the CO on Friday morning.
The physical challenges of “Disney Week” have reminded me how much I love this job. I’m not the kind of person who likes to do manual labor outside all day, but it would also drive me nuts to be stuck in a cubicle doing drawings of wing nuts or counting beans or something. This is a perfect blend. And no two days at work are really the same. The job literally changes with the weather. I can’t wait to get my hands on a T-34!