Yearly Archives: 2012

My Own Force Management

Oh, hello blog reading friends!  😉  I’ve been telling you half truths for a while now, and it’s finally time to come clean!

If you follow along on the AHE Facebook page, you saw my big announcement this last Friday.  This wasn’t a recent discovery, but something that’s been kept under wraps for a while now.  Remember that trip to Sheppard AFB to visit DH for our 5th anniversary?  Um, yeah…

Needless to say, we’ve spawned a Super Air Force Baby!  I joke that when we’re doing that future summer vacation of “The Great Tour of Air Force Bases in America,” we’ll be able to show the little tyke the room in lodging where the magic happened.  Wouldn’t every child appreciate that knowledge?!  😉

The above photo is from our first ultrasound, when I was eight weeks along.  I’m currently thirteen weeks and four days, and we’re due April 18th.  I also joke that DH has artfully dodged the entire first trimester, since he’s been away at tech school, although I know that he’d much rather be home with me. I should be at about seventeen weeks by the time he’s home.  Fortunately, it’s been a fairly smooth trimester for me, which I’m thankful for since I’ve had to manage a move, renovations, teaching full-time, and putting in extra hours on top of my pregnancy needs.

Lest you fear that this blog will move away from its central focus and suddenly revolve around my future spawn, I bring you “Enlisted and Expecting,” a new series that will highlight aspects of my pregnancy/parenting experience as it relates to my service in the Air Force.  

In the meantime, I’m still trying to get settled in my home life so that I can bring you more content.  That’s always the goal.  I’m currently on orders, with a purpose that will be discussed upon their completion.  I am still pressing forward with my commissioning package, and again, I’ll update you on that as well.

Thank you for your continued patience and support of AHE!

AF Form 2096

Air Force Form 2096, the Classification/On-The-Job Training Action form.  The magical document that pending my signature, my supervisor’s signature, my commander’s signature, and the signature of the chief of education and training means…


I’m officially a 5 skill-level Personnelist!

Yes, it’s official!  Today, Friday the 14th of September, is my big day!  It’s hard to believe that only a year ago I was returning home from BMT and tech school and in-processing into my base.  I’ve been in the operational Air Force for a full year at this point.  I’m proud of everything that I’ve accomplished in such a short period of time.  I’ve been motivated every step of the way, and that drive pays off today.  My seasoning training is done, all of my tasks have been mastered in my training record, and my time in training is complete.  I’m no longer an Apprentice, I’m a Journeyman.

I have much to learn, of course, but this is a big step in my military career and many more doors open as a result of me achieving this skill level (opportunities to volunteer for deployment or training at other bases, the chance to go to Airman Leader School once I’ve been in long enough).
  
Now that my five-level is on the books, the education and training office can put in my nomination for my CCAF degree, since I’ve completed all of the requirements and was just waiting on the award of my five-level.  I should be recognized with the rest of the graduates at the next Wing Commander’s Call, which I’m hoping DH will be home in time to witness. 

Milspouse Friday Fill-In #74

I can’t have you all thinking that I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, and while I’ve been hoping to bring you that story from the AF News Service, it hasn’t been published yet.  That being said, MFF it is!  Proof that I’m still alive and kicking, although busier than ever!

1.  What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?  I honestly can’t say much, but I would like to do without the craziness that seems to be mandatory when the school year starts.  I’ve been flooded with work, administrative tasks, IEPs to write, etc.  It’s daunting and it hasn’t left me with much down time.  If there was a way to make it more manageable and put more hours in my day, I would!

2.  What was your favorite thing that happened in August?  Having a long-lost wingman from BMT and tech out here for a mutual wingman’s wedding.  It was great to see her and we had an amazing weekend bombing around!

3.  What did you do to celebrate Labor Day?  What else?  I labored.  I used that day to pack up the living room and dining room in preparation for our move.  I really wasn’t feeling up for gatherings.
4.  What do you HAVE to have handy by your bedside?  My cell phone, my iPad, and a water bottle.  Lip balm of some variety is also a necessity, as well as glasses.
5.  What are you looking forward to in September?  Being done with this move, done with paying rent, and done with our rental home!  That’s the biggest to-do in September that is completely consuming me right now.  I’m hoping for a smooth closing, although we’re hitting bumps in the road that are out of our control.  I’m not the praying type, but I’m praying that it all comes together and the stars align.  In the mean time, I’m wiped out between working, putting in extra hours [always working at those financial goals!], and packing.  I’ve had to scrap my running schedule because there’s just not enough hours or energy in my day.  I’m looking forward to regaining some normalcy in a new setting.  Ooh…I’m also looking forward to officially being a 5-level Personnelist on the 14th of this month, followed by the application for my CCAF degree!
Hope everyone’s September is off to a great start!  Eyes on the prize for me, as October means we’re in our new home and DH is almost done with training.  Plus, FIL and I are escaping to the Vail area for a wedding.  Good times!

Liebster Blog Award


Mrs. S from Lipstick & Leathernecks tagged me for the Liebster Blog Award and I figured I’d indulge, just to bring you more since I’ve been holding out on you for so long.  I’ll try to keep it AF-related to hold your interest.  😉


Rules
1. Each person must list 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger has set for you plus you MUST create a set of 11 new questions for the 11 people you tag. 
3. Choose 11 bloggers
5. Absolutely no tag backs.
6. The bloggers have to have less than 200 followers.
7. Go inform them that you nominated them for the award.
[I’m going to cheat and skip those rules.  I hope you’ll forgive me.]


About Me
1.  I haven’t told you yet about the sizing of military uniforms.  It’s ridiculous.  I call myself “Spongebob ABU Pants” for a reason.  I’m normally wear a medium shirt.  My ABU top is an eighteen, which is what I was issued at BMT.  I’ve tried smaller sizes, but the smallest one with the arm length I’d need is a 16.  I’m not looking forward to paying to have them fitted.
2.  After being really successful at BMT, I felt like my first instructor at tech school really didn’t like me and I couldn’t understand why.  I don’t think I was that sassy.  Eventually, we got a new instructor who I had a much better relationship with.
3.  The prior service Airman in my tech school class was a little younger than me.  I ended up feeling really competitive in the end and I may have been a little excited when I realized I had pass him up in my test scores.  We were neck and neck for Distinguished Graduate.
4.  I learned at tech school that volunteering for CQ (12 hour shifts) isn’t always a dumb move.  I volunteered when leadership was in a pinch and managed to wrangle a 341 that granted me a “No PT” day.  I used it on my graduation day, so I could sleep longer and put on makeup.
5.  My first choices for AFSCs were Intel, Public Affairs/Historian, and Paralegal.  I was also convinced that I wanted to reclass to Military Equal Opportunity (MEO).
6.  On a selfish note, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to go to Mexico this Christmas on vacation (it’s my family’s tradition) because of traveling restrictions for military members.  This would be the first year in a long time that we’ve been able to afford it and that we could go together.  We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best!
7.  The IP Casino in Biloxi, MS (Keesler AFB) has a pizza restaurant that has an amazing scallop appetizer.  I miss fresh seafood, especially scallops!  The only bummer is that you only get four in the appetizer.
8.  Tech school DFACs are some of the best eating you’re going to get on a military installation, mark my words.  We don’t have 1/3 of those options at the Peterson DFAC.  Seriously, take advantage and load up!  I miss the made-to-order sandwiches and the ice cream bar!
9.  I still carry a tech school wallet when I’m in uniform.  They’re approximately $4 or less and they’re a laminated paper-type material with a clear window.  SUPER convenient for keeping the bar code of your CAC accessible for dining at the DFAC.
10.  I love that I regularly get compliments about my AF hair (in regulation, looks near-perfect, etc.).  The impression is worth the effort!  Gotta be squared away!
11.  If you’re going to invest in a nice, tactical backpack, go for the solid black ones.  They’re cheaper and you can wear them in blues or ABUs.  While I am glad I have an ABU one, it sucks having to hand-carry it when I’m in blues.                          

Mrs. S’ Questions

1.  What is your favorite season?  Living in Colorado, I’d say spring or fall, but I’m leaning towards spring when it starts warming up but before it gets too hot.  Spring has the best candy and idea napping weather!
2.  What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?  My mom used to sew my costumes as a child.  I really haven’t dressed up as an adult, or not that I really remember.  One of my favorite costumes was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, although my mom made the dress in pink because I wanted it pink instead of blue. 
3.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Are you doing that now?  I used to say I wanted to be an art teacher, and while I’m not doing that, I’m still int he teaching field! 
4.  When is your birthday?  December 31st, the last day of the year!
5.  Show us something funny.
6.  Favorite joke.  I’m really not a joke person.  I’m failing you, folks!  
7.  What’s in your purse right now?  Too much crap!  My Erin Condren planner, a flash drive, car keys, school keys, wallet, makeup bag (lip products, blotting papers, floss), gum, pens/pencils/lead/eraser, various scattered business cards, my school access card, school ID card, hand lotion.
8.  What time do you usually wake up in the morning?  0530, every morning that I’m teaching.  I don’t sleep in too late on the weekend these days.
9.  Dog or cat person?  I’m not opposed to dogs, but I’ve never owned one.  I grew up having cats.  We don’t have any pets right now.
10.  Favorite store?  Sephora or The Container Store.
11.  What color is your couch?  Red!

Seasoning Training

Thanks for everyone’s patience when it comes to posts on the blog lately.  The first few weeks of school are always the roughest, and I’m completely bogged down with meetings lately.  Add a new home purchase [more on that later], renovations to oversee, and a husband out of state and you have a very busy me!


This summer I finished up my Seasoning Training, which is something exclusive to Air Force Reservists.  I would assume that the Air National Guard has something similar, although they may not call it by the same name.  I’ve also heard other Reservists refer to this training as a “Prog Tour,” which I’m assuming is short for “progression.”  The intent of seasoning training is to help Airmen upgrade to their 5-skill level by giving them on the job training in their AFSC.  When you graduate technical training, you’ll be a 3-skill level in your AFSC, the Apprentice Level.  The 5-skill level is the Journeyman level and is required before you become an NCO.  

Seasoning training was established to allow Reservists the uninterrupted training time they need to make progress in their career field and in their training.  The USAFR recognizes that when you come back from tech school you need to apply your newly acquired skills and learn the day-to-day operating procedures of your squadron.  This is difficult to accomplish exclusively during UTA (drill) weekends, hence seasoning training.

Upon returning from technical training, you’ll have a year to complete seasoning training.  The funding for seasoning is separate from your Wing’s budget, so don’t be discouraged if you hear about budget woes when you get back to your duty station.  

Your Education and Training office will provide you with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about seasoning training and discuss the duration of your training.  Each AFSC has a specific length of time that they’re given for seasoning training.  As a Personnelist, I was given ninety days.  If you are curious about the length of your training, contact your Education and Training office directly.  Other AFSCs can have training that is significantly longer.  I believe my husband’s is in the neighborhood of 160+ days.  

Depending on your Wing’s policies, you may be able to delay the start of your seasoning training and specify a start date for your training.  I opted to wait until my summer vacation from school to do my seasoning training.  While I was given ninety days of training, I was not able to take the full amount (due to the school year), and I only did sixty-seven.  This was permissible in my Wing.  I would’ve liked to have taken the full ninety days, but you may not always have the option (or the ability) to split up your training.

Seasoning training is not required, although it is definitely to your benefit.  If you don’t have a civilian job to return to after tech, I’d highly recommend that you start seasoning training right away.  While you’re on seasoning training you’ll receive active duty pay and benefits, including BAH, BAS, and health care.  [Note that because you receive BAS, you won’t be eligible to eat in the DFAC for free.  I had to pay each time I ate there.]  If you don’t live in the commuting area, they’ll put you in lodging.

Seasoning training will also help you progress and earn your 5-level faster than those who opt not to do the training, which is the greatest benefit.  In order to complete upgrade training, you have a beefy checklist of items that need to be mastered and signed off by your supervisor.  This is most easily done during seasoning training.  You’ll also get to know those in your squadron and do invaluable networking.

Regardless of how quickly you finish your training and get your checklist signed off, you may have to wait for “Time in Training.”  For my Wing and AFSC, this is a year.  While I was able to finish my checklist and training back in early August, I won’t officially be a 5-level Personnelist until 14 September, which is a year after my return from tech school.

Hope this information helps you Reservists out there, and further explains how you’ll learn your job once in the operational Air Force!  

Core Values in the Classroom


I posted this photo already for all of the fans of my FB page, but I had to share it here as well!  Tomorrow marks the end of my first full week back at school.  As I anticipated, it’s hectic, it’s chaotic, it’s disorganized, etc., but I’ve never doubted that it’s where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.  I love that being a Reservist allows me to fulfill both of my dreams, and sometimes those two worlds collide!

This year I decided to incorporate the Air Force Core Values into my classroom rules, for lack of better words.  Rather than rambling on and telling the students what they can’t do, I put the abbreviated version of the Core Values on the wall.  I spent the first day of school telling them about myself, about being in the Air Force Reserve, and about how important living these Core Values is to me.  After that, I had them tell me about their summer within a framework of these values.  This summer, how did you demonstrate your integrity?  How did someone serve your needs before their own?  How did you practice service before self?  How did you show your personal excellence?  It was a successful activity, and I really think it set a great tone for the school year.  No one fussed, grumbled or whined about the activity.  I love that it made them think of all of the good they’ve done, and how we are all capable of living these values.  I stressed that none of us is perfect, and that we’re all going to be working towards improving in these areas.

So much of how I want my students to behave is wrapped up in these values.  I want them to have integrity, and to always do the right thing and act the right way toward those in our class, even if it’s someone they don’t care for.  I want them to put the needs of others before themselves.  Under the category of service, I discussed respecting each other and each other’s belongings.  As for excellence, I wanted them to know that despite the unique challenges they all face (I teach special education, moderate needs), we should all strive to be and do our best, and that’s all I ask of them, ultimately.

I have great hopes for my students this year.  I’ve seen the impact that structure, patience, and encouragement can provide for a struggling learning.  But, if they should need that gentle reminder, I’m there to point to the Core Values on the wall and remind them to Aim High!  

Staying Afloat!

[Source]

Just a quick message to let you all know that I am still here and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, although it’s still in the distance.

The first few weeks of school call for survival mode.  What can I get done to get through the days?  There’s so much to do, in terms of organization, setting up classroom procedures, getting to know students, informing general education teachers of my students’ IEP accommodations, etc.  It’s daunting, and I’ve been putting in tons of extra hours.
  
Needless to say, it doesn’t leave me much time  for anything.  I’m trying to squeeze in some relaxation time, some time to get back into a fitness routine, as well as normal household chores and responsibilities.  My prep period used to be attached to lunch, and now it’s not, which has been a culture shock.  I can barely get through a few items in my lunch bag, which I suppose isn’t a horrible thing.  Finding time to use the restroom or fill up my water bottle is a luxury.  My classes are larger than you’d ever want a pullout special education class to be – fifteen, seventeen, twenty kids?!  It’s madness, to say the least.  I’m thankful that I have the years of experience to handle it all.  If I were a newer teacher, I’d have a breakdown already.

I’m keeping the faith though, and slowly getting there.  Day by day, week by week, that’s how we’ll get through.  In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to a BMT friend of mine coming to visit for the weekend, so we can attend the wedding of a tech school friend of ours!  It’s going to be a reunion that’s been almost a year in the making!  Pictures to come, I promise!

PT Test Results

If you’ve been keeping up the last couple of days, you know I took my first operational PT test the other day (and subsequently posted my results on my Facebook page).  I was nervous and anxious because I didn’t know the procedures and because I really wanted to score above a 90.  I’d been working out all summer, eating well, and avoiding sweets in preparation for this final test of summer.

The morning of my test, I showed up nice and early.  The testing area at my base is called the “Fitness Assessment Cell (FAC)” and it’s located near the Health and Wellness Center (HAWC).  Upon arriving, I checked in and filled out two forms that they’d use to tally my scores.  We waited for the other participants to arrive and fill out their scores.  When the time came, the FAC staff checked our IDs (don’t be that person who leaves their ID in the car) and began taking our height and weight measurements.  After height and weight, our waists were taped by a member of the same gender in a closed-door office.  They took three measurements and then averaged the scores.  They felt around for your natural waist, just below your ribs.


After everyone’s measurements were taken, we watched an informational video which was required viewing to be assessed.  The video showed proper and improper forms for the pushups and sit-ups.  After that, we went down to the aerobics room, which was equipped with sit-up bars on the floor.   Each bar was numbered and there was a coordinating number further down on the floor.  We partnered up with a same-sex Airman who’d count our reps as we traded off.  

We started immediately with pushups, so it was nice to get those out of the way.  The FAC staff member watched the clock and gave us warnings at 30 seconds and 15 seconds.  Our partner counted each rep out loud, and a second FAC staff member reminded us to count loudly.  That second staff member was there to tell you if a rep didn’t count, but he never seemed to wander down our way.  Either that or we didn’t have any issues with our reps!  After time was called, the counting partner would take the sheet and tell the FAC staff member how many reps were completed so it could be recorded.

After pushups, we switched to sit-ups and repeated the same process.  We did have a mat underneath our butts/backs, and we used the sit-up bars.  The big difference from this and BMT is that we started in the down position, rather than up.  

We had a bit of time to hydrate after completing pushups and sit-ups, but we definitely didn’t have the down time that I anticipated before we hit the track for the run.  We wore numbered bibs so they could identify us on the track.  Sunglasses and iPods were allowed for the run, and a (non-testing) pacer is allowed, if you need (and find) one.  There wasn’t time to get them between the strength portion and the run, so I grabbed them early on.  I didn’t mention it earlier, but any combination of the PT uniform is allowed for testing.  We were given time to warm up prior to the run, and we were asked if anyone needed to take a warm-up lap.  There was a timing clock at the finish line, similar to BMT, and a FAC staff member stood down there with the official stopwatch.  Another FAC staff member told us the current lap we’d finished as we ran around.       

After the run was completed, we went back to the FAC office.  We were called over individually to confirm our scores and sign the bottom of the form to indicate that those were correct to the best of our knowledge/experience.  They didn’t total up my points there in the office, but the PT charts were on the wall, so I guesstimated my score.  The official scores were posted on the PT score management system website within a couple hours of completing my test.

So, how’d I do?  I got a 96.5!  Here’s my breakdown:
Waist – 28.5 (maxed).
Pushups – 32!  I shocked myself!
Sit-ups – 45 (maxed).
Run – 12:19 (after the altitude adjustment).  I wasn’t super pleased with my run, but the difference is so minimal due to the large number of points the run is given.

I can’t tell you how thankful I was to be done with my first PT test!  I definitely feel more comfortable now that I understand the process, and I’m ecstatic that I did so well and secured my “Excellent” rating. I’m taking a few days off, but I’ll start back up with my every other day running schedule.  I’d like to maintain the level of fitness I’ve worked toward, as best as possible, and start training for the Air Force Marathon in 2013!

My First [Operational] PT Test

[Source]

This is it, it’s go time!  Tomorrow morning at 0700 MDT, I’ll be taking my first PT test in the operational Air Force.  Most people in my office take a look at me and tell me I’ll be fine.  I appreciate their vote of confidence, but you know me – I’m not gunning for a passing score, I’m shooting for a 90+.  A 90 or higher on your PT test allows you to test only once a year, versus once every six months.  This was a concern of mine, until finding out recently that as a Reservist, we only test once a year, period.  Color me surprised!  [Misinformation that was recently debunked.]  Regardless, I’d rather be stamped “Excellent” than “Satisfactory” on my records.

Your PT score isn’t just a fleeting moment in your AF career.  When you put in a package for just about anything, a copy of your last PT results will be in there.  When I was up for the Airman of the Quarter board, a copy of my PT scores were in there.  When I recently processed packages of Lieutenant Colonels who were up for the Colonel boards, a copy of their PT scores were in there.  Want to go to a special school?  A current, passing PT score may be required.  DH had to take one as soon as he switched to the Reserves, so he could go to tech school.  Bottom line, that number’s going to get looked at over and over again.  When I go before the commissioning board this fall/winter, I want them to see an Excellent score.  I want them to have faith when they select me to attend OTS.

So, despite the fact that I run approximately every other day and hit the gym every workday, I’m still nervous.  I’m a book smart person.  Give me a standardized test and I flourish.  Give me something else, another high stakes test that I can’t reason my way out of (like my motorcycle licensing test or qualifying on my weapon) and I get anxious.  At this point, I’m really ready to get this test over with.  I’m thankful that, at the age of 31, I fall into the next testing bracket.  All of the time I spend running really pays off, and I’m hoping to make up for my deficiencies in other areas (*cough* pushups *cough*) with my run.  I should be able to max the waist measurement, and I’m hoping I can max the sit-ups.  Not knowing the procedures on testing day also makes me nervous.  I’ve tried to get as much info as I can from others who’ve tested already.  Thank goodness this isn’t like BMT – I hear I’ll get a ten minute break or so in between the pushups/sit-ups and the run.  That’ll be nice to get my heart rate back down where it should be.  I’ve also been running on the track I’ll test on, to help reduce testing anxiety when I hit that track.  My practice runs have been strong, and I’m really hoping to repeat those performances tomorrow.

By 0800 tomorrow, I’ll be done.  It’s going to be a big weight off my shoulders and I look forward to being able to have that bag of M&Ms that’s been sitting in my fridge, as well as enjoying some sweets these last few days of summer.  It’s woosah time, it’s hydrating time, it’s go time!            

Our 5th Anniversary

I’m a couple days early, but I had to tell you all about our anniversary “getaway” (well, staycation for him) to Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, TX!

DH and I have had a military marriage characterized by separation, which is true of 99% of military marriages.  One of the biggest sacrifices you make is celebrating holidays together (and with family).  Here’s the breakdown of how our relationship as gone.

August 2nd, 2007 – Married, but no wedding night, thanks to DH being at BCT (Army basic training) and having to go back to the barracks each night.  Needless to say, no honeymoon either.

2008 – DH stationed in Korea on an unaccompanied tour.

2009 – DH comes home from Afghanistan on R&R (Rest and Recuperation).  Glitches in travel resulted in me driving twelve hours round trip to pick him up from the airport two states over.  After sleeping in, we finally made it to dinner.

2010 – DH stays behind in North Carolina, waiting to out-process.  I move ahead to Colorado, where I go through in-processing for my new job.

2011 – In the middle of training, we were able to see each other over graduation weekend at BMT, but our anniversary found me at the beginning of tech school.

I share all of these stories, not for sympathy, but to lay the background as to why DH wanted to do something really special this year.  With both of us on active duty orders, we were able to fly me down for a long weekend at Sheppard for our anniversary.  Unbeknownst to me, DH had made arrangements with the front desk to take it to the next level!  He upgraded our room to a suite, which was only maybe $20 more overall (base lodging is the way to go).  He explained to them what he wanted to do, and they hooked him up with a local wedding planner.  Everyone at the front desk knew to stall my check-in, if I should be persistent and try to get into my room early.  When we finally got in, I found no less than 100 candles lit all over the room, approximately seven floral arrangements, and scads of rose petals everywhere!  The wedding planner didn’t leave open space anywhere, including the top of the toilet tank!  For a man who doesn’t typically make a big deal about holidays, this was huge.

A takeout Italian dinner was ready for us, with a bottle of sparkling cider on ice (neither of us drink).  He even had our original wedding cake duplicated (small, white-on-white), complete with flowers on top.  Our original cake came from Walmart (scrumptious, believe it or not), and you can imagine that the bakery was the first question I asked him when I spotted it!  Alas, this was not a Walmart cake, but it was just as delicious!  

Look past the “Ride Me!”  😉

When DH originally told me that he had the whole weekend planned, I was initially worried because I was exhausted from the week.  Luckily, we had a lot of down time to kick back and watch movies together.  You can only spend so much time outdoors when the temperature is 105°.  We even got to do a movie date on Sunday, and saw “What trip to Sheppard would be complete without seeing where DH goes to school each day?  I got numerous tours of the base, went for walks through the airpark, saw a drove of jackrabbits (they’re huge, and super tall), and we took pictures of the actual aircraft that DH is using for his hands-on training.  Sheppard has multiple shifts throughout the day and night, and DH is on days, fortunately (aside from the heat).  There’s just something remarkable about being near these beautiful pieces of machinery.  You’re so small in comparison and the things they can do are just astounding.  Moments like those remind me that I made the best decision by joining the Air Force.  I’m really looking forward to commissioning, and I hope to be an Aircraft Maintenance Officer, where I’ll get to be on the flight line, working directly with our maintainers and our C-130s.  Schooling after I commission would bring me back to Sheppard, so I was thankful for a glimpse into what the living conditions and facilities would be like when I’m here.

Given our current duty status, I couldn’t have imagined a better anniversary weekend for the two of us.  As much as people gave me a hard time about making a pleasure trip to Wichita Falls, any duty station is what you make of it.  With as many separations as we’ve had to (or chosen to) make during our military careers, we’re just thankful to be together and have each other.