Well Cinderella...it's midnight. No more cush job with short hours. Well the job is probably still cush, just the hours are longer now. I was no longer able to dodge the freight train of responsibility that goes by the innocuous term "flight commander." Instructor pilots at my age are expected to serve their time pulling the cart of students that make up a class of brand-new-bright-eyed-and-eager-but-don't-know-much-of-anything lieutenants aspiring to become steely-eyed-rough-and-tumble-kick-it-and-take-names-apex-predator fighter pilots. It's a long road (trust me, I've been down it already) that basically takes two and a half years. And you guessed it...I get them right at the beginning. Great. And I got all thirteen of them this week.
Actually, they seem to be a fairly decent group so far. They have a long way to go over the next six months before I can hand them off to the next group of instructors, but they'll all make it if they work hard. Unfortunately for these gentlemen -- they have me driving their pilot training bus. For the most part, I have to be the first instructor (IP) there in the morning and the last to leave in the evening. Amounts to a ten to eleven hour-shift most days. Nothing like the last assignment's ten to fourteen-hour days plus weekends and deployments...but let's just say I've encultured over the past couple of years here in North Texas. My previous "easy" job never demanded much more than an eight-hour shift and most often it was somewhere around six. Seriously, it was. Not too bad. I'm probably letting a good secret out of the bag here, but I never deploy, the flying is plentiful and simple, night flying is non-existent, getting days off is no sweat, and I'm in Texas. Okay, so the last one may not appeal to some of you. But to my fellow Texicans...you know where I'm coming from! Not that any of that has gone away, I'm just feeling a little sorry for myself and most importantly, Mel and Bear! They actually have the bad taste to want me around most days. No accounting for anyone's taste around here but mine!
So for all of you guys, pray for me in my new job. I'm in the position to make a difference (good or bad) in the lives of some sharp young men on their way to flying the world's finest fighter aircraft. I still remember lessons that my IP's taught me when I was in their shoes six years ago. The coolest part of the whole gig is that I'm commanding E Flight, which was the flight that I was in as a student. As I took over this week, it marked six years to the day from my first flight in the military and two years to the day from my first combat mission in Iraq. The Lord's plan for us all is revealed in the strangest ways!
Love to Cook
2 days ago