Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My flyboy

Most of the posts I've written have dealt with Seth's deployment, as that occupies alot of my thoughts. Perfectly normal under the circumstances. After all, that's why I started this blog. But I have two other sons who make me very proud and I certainly haven't forgotten about them. Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about my flyboy.

Kevin, my middle son, joined the Air Force when he was just 18, practically right out of high school. It had been his dream for years...and I do mean years (see the picture below) become a jet engine mechanic...enough of a dream that after speaking with an Air Force recruiter during his junior year, he suddenly became an honor role student. I can't help but smile when I think about that. You see, he wasn't the best student in school, but once he found his direction he came alive.

Sending him off to basic training was one of the hardest things I ever did. He was just 18 and was the first son to leave the nest. The night he left, I cried the whole time I was cooking dinner. That was 8 years ago this how time flies.

After completing basic and tech school, he was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was disappointed that he didn't get stationed in some interesting, faroff place; I was thrilled that he was only 3 hours away...... :) He was assigned to the flight line and worked on B-52s. He learned his job well and earned the reputation of being a hard worker who knew his stuff and could be counted on to get the job done. He helped launch the planes that went over to Afghanistan right after the 9/11 attack...and desperately wished he was going with them. But, that's the life of a jet troop, as they are called, you keep the engines running and the planes flying, but you don't usually go with them.

Kevin spent 5 years at Barksdale. During that time, he went on a hot shot run to fix one of their planes that broke down in the Azores, a small group of islands off the coast of Portugal. What was really unusual about that trip was that he flew over on a B-52 that was headed to the war, and flew back on the one he repaired. Not many B-52 mechanics get to fly on the planes they work on. He also went TDY (temporary deployment) to Guam for 10 days, but flew on a commercial airline that time. While on Guam, he visited the World War II museum that pays homage to the Marines who landed there in 1944 to take the island back from the Japanese. He brought some books and stuff back to his Grampa (my dad), who was one of the Marines who made that landing nearly 60 years earlier. That was so cool!!!

Kevin finally got his chance to be stationed some place interesting 2 1/2 years ago. They needed a jet troop at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. Hot dog!!! He jumped all over that one. Alaska is truly the last frontier and he has loved his time there. He started out in a back shop working on F-15 components, but moved out to the flight line as soon as there was an opening. That's where his heart is. The move changed him to AWACS planes. This gave him the opportunity to travel on the plane when they went TDY to other locations. As a matter of fact, he just returned from a 1-month TDY to Japan and Thailand. This picture was taken at Korat Air Base in Thailand while the maintenance crew was waiting for the flight crew to show up to fly them home. I call it...Kevin in his engine. Appropriate, don't you think???

This summer, when his 3-year Alaska tour is up, he's moving to Cannon AFB in New Mexico. He'll be working on fighters again, F-16s this time, and will start in the back shop. But if I know him, it won't be long before he starts looking towards that flight line again. He loves being out where the action is. I'm not upset about the move, and neither is he. I think he's looking forward to being a bit closer to home for a while, and I like that idea, too. Plus, his dad and I are going to fly up and drive the Alcan Highway with him when he comes back to the lower 48. Yep, there will be a post and pictures about that.

Anyway, ya'll keep your fingers crossed for Kevin...he tests for Tech Sergeant tomorrow. For those of you who don't know, it really is a test, and a hard one at that. So say a little prayer that he does well...I will. Good luck, huggy bear. I love you...... :)


Blogger Courtney said...

What a cute picture!! I hope he does well tomorrow. Let us know. I am glad for you that he is coming back closer to home.

3/15/06, 8:01 PM  
Blogger yankeemom said...

Love the photo! Sending good luck to him for his test!

3/16/06, 10:20 PM  

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