Archive for the ‘Casual Status’ Category

The End of Active Duty: The Whole Story

11 November 2010 9 comments

Well, I don’t know where to begin with this entry really. I thought the one about dropping from Pilot Training was difficult, but this takes the cake. I wanted to write it sooner rather than later. The more time I let pass the less emotion I feel.  At this moment it’s been 18 hours since I was notified, so the wound is still quite fresh. I’m writing the entry so I can always remember, so my friends and family can better understand, and so the situation I found myself in with the Air Force doesn’t happen to other people. I’m going to be pretty honest, and I’m not going to sugar coat anything. People need the facts, and not empty promises or maybes. That’s what I got, empty guarantees and “Oh you’ll be fine!”

So here’s the whole story. I may be mentioning stuff from other entries, but here we’ll have it in the entirety. I dropped from Air Force Pilot Training back in August while at Initial Flight Screening. I didn’t enjoy flying, and some might say it’s just because IFS is hard. It is hard, and it’ll be a wake up call, but you either enjoy it, or you don’t. No matter how much it sucks it comes down to either enjoying being in the aircraft, or not. For me, I didn’t enjoy a moment of it. Flying wasn’t for me, and I experienced the same feeling when I was flying on the civilian side. I realized (with some divine guidance from God I believe) that I wasn’t meant to be a pilot, and instead needed to follow my passion…using my political science degree and going into intel. I talked to the Air Force side of things at Initial Flight Screening. I was told (and this is not verbatim) that if I dropped from Pilot training, I would meet a board to retain me or not and a reclassification board. I asked if they had any stats on how things have been looking recently with reclassifications. They didn’t have any numbers for me there, but after asking around back at Laughlin I had heard that 90% of people were being kept. I decided to drop because there isn’t any sense in the world to do something you’re miserable with. I didn’t want to fly for 12 years and hate it, or take the gamble that it would “grow” on me. I’m a dreamer, and I have big goals but I’m also a realist. The whole flying gig might be cool at first, but it’ll get old, and eventually those pilots will be sitting behind a desk too. Thus I was done with IFS on 20 August 2010, and went back to Laughlin.

Once back at Laughlin, the ball got rolling rather quickly for me to put my package together for reclass/retention. I wrote a one page memo explaining my situation. The memo detailed why I no longer wanted to be a pilot, that I wanted to go into intel, and why I was qualified to do so. On top of that I filled out a new “dream sheet” which had my top five job preferences. I also met with the Squadron Commander who wrote a recommendation on what to do with me. I don’t know what it said, but he has to deal with a ton of these cases a month…I am by no means a special case, or a rarity in this realm of things. He didn’t really know me, and he’s a busy man, so I’ve heard that we all get averages, which would make sense and seem only fair. Some people during the reclassification process have a better chance than others though. You may work for a Col, or a commander of some sort, and they can drop a good word for you and make things happen. It’s how the world works, it’s networking at it’s finest, even if I disagree with that. We all should be on an equal footing, but since we aren’t I’ll play the network card when I go to get a guard slot. I have no hard feelings towards anyone here at Laughlin though, they’ve all been great officers, and quite helpful. I guess I should have just worked in some office than being a gate guard, but that’s what I was assigned. I was dealt that hand, so I was going to play it.

The package went up and we waited, and waited, and waited. Two boards before mine, seven people from Laughlin met the board. All seven were retained. Five of the seven were classified as logistics officers, in which none of them had it as their top five, but at least they got to stay. One was classified as a scientist, and I think (don’t quote me on this) that the seventh was engineer. The board before mine I don’t know the specifics on jobs, but everyone was retained. Then came my board. My board I believe was the last board of the fiscal year. We have no real control when we meet the board and we don’t…we can’t try to push our package back, or push it forward, though I’ve seen odd things happen with some people. One guy submitted his package before I did, and was supposed to be in my board, but happened to be “pushed back” into the board after mine…and we’ll talk about it soon. My board called “009” had a total of 19 people in the Air Force. Four were from Vance AFB, 7 from Laughlin. I don’t know the numbers on Columbus AFB or the Naval Air Stations. Vance had 4 of the 19 people meeting the board…all four were separated. When I say separated I mean they were asked to leave the air force, and discharged within 30 days. This was last Tuesday when they found out 2 Nov 10. We kept hearing rumors and what not and I was unsure what to believe, but then we got some info. Only two people were retained out of the entire board of 19, both from Laughlin. Today we finally had our meetings with the Wing CC. My good friend Brandon and I both had meetings, along with 3 other individuals. Two people weren’t on the list for the meetings, and thus we knew most likely that these were the two that were being retained. Sure enough we were right. One was classified to weather, and the other to a Navigator slot. The five of us with meetings were all notified that we would be honorably discharged in 30 days and separated from the Air Force. That means I get to find another job. If you’re keeping up with the math, 17 people of the 19 people meeting my board were asked to leave the Air Force….never before has their been a board where so many people were not retained. We weren’t told why, it could be the end of the fiscal year and lack of slots, but all of us had clean records…I don’t even have a parking or speeding ticket to my name. It’s not a lack of anything, besides the fact I made the conscious decision to drop out of initial skills training (for me being pilot training) to pursue an avenue I thought I would enjoy and do better at. I was doing the Air Force a favor, and doing it at IFS instead of during UPT. We’re told if we do it during UPT that you’d definitely be done, and separated, so I made mine early. It turns out this didn’t matter at all. There are various situations that bring you to reclassification. It could be you drop out of IFS or UPT…Dropping at IFS is supposed to make it better than dropping at UPT. You can also be medically disqualified. The last is failing out (washing out) at either IFS or UPT. We’re told that fails at IFS sometimes can track to other rated career fields (Remotely Piloted Vehicles, Air Battle Manager, or Navigator.) This is true since one of the two retained went to navigator. UPT fails are usually not allowed such luxuries. I know for certain that myself and Brandon were IFS Drop on requests. Another guy not retained was a UPT fail. A fourth guy was an IFS fail. Across the board we were all asked to leave and will be discharged. To also give everyone some idea of how new this type of trend is…My flight commander in graduation flight has been here since April (longer than I was on active duty) and he never dealt with anyone being separated. Today he dealt with four.

Now many people are wondering why this is happening, and how this could happen to me. Well a lot of it is bad timing, I happened to be in a board that they didn’t have many slots for reclasses…end of the fiscal year most likely. The Air Force is seeking to eliminate far more people dropping or failing from initial skills training than ever before. What that means is your assigned career field is your career field, if you want to switch you run a high risk of being in a position such as my own. Either stick it out, or take the gamble like I did. Of course I’m telling you, your chances aren’t too promising at the moment, and I dropped with the impression and was told by many officers I’d almost be guaranteed a reclass since I didn’t have a negative record. False! False! False! During this time in the Air Force they are riffing people. That means Reduction in Force. The Air Force is only allowed 300,000 people and there is no telling how many people are leaving the air force on a yearly basis. Many people are sticking in longer than anticipated because of the down economy. At the same time the Air Force is continuously training new people to come in…ROTC, Basic, Academy…all have people graduating at a regular rate and joining the Air Force. Combine that with a lack of people leaving = an Air Force that’s over cap and thus over budget, cuts have to be made, and people have to be cut. The focused areas are people not completing initial skills training (like myself.) or people with negative records or criminal charges. Used to be a DUI wouldn’t seal your fate, now getting a public intoxication just might. The Air Force is looking to get rid of people, so keep your head high, nose clean, and stay in your training.

Now the future isn’t as bleak as one may think. The board after mine, had 9 people go up from Laughlin, and six of them were retained. I wish I could have met that board, but nothing I can do about it. It’s luck, and timing. The next board may cut over half of people…or worse, you just don’t know. Also, the Air Force may be in a situation in a year or more where they cut too many people, or too many people left…and thus they need people. People with an honorable discharge like myself, can still sign back up.

Another thing that the Air Force is doing is making people pay back tuition assistance. My friend Brandon is in a position where he accepted an ROTC scholarship (so did I) and the Air Force helped pay for his tuition. Now that they’ve separated him, they want to get that money back…So they notified him that he also must pay back all of that tuition money. The same thing can happen to people from the Academy, and it seems to be a case by case basis. The UPT fail from Laughlin was an academy grad…it said he owed money but it would be sent up the chain to be recommended he not have to pay it back…He’s waiting to be contacted by AFPC (Air Force Personnel Center) to see if he pays it back or not. My situation is basically the best you can be in. I have nothing I owe the Air Force. I took a scholarship but never used a dime to pay for tuition. I used  the stipend and book money only. My tuition was paid for by the good ole state of Indiana, who I hope to be serving in a matter of months via the Air National Guard. So if you’re in ROTC now and reading this…use other scholarships first.

Now some of you have asked me, or may be wondering, what am I going to do now?  Back home in TH is an intelligence Wing, for the Indiana Air Guard. Intel just so happens to be the career field I wanted to go into in the Air Force! I’m now going to do the rest of my 30 days and then go back home and work on trying to get into the Air Guard. Of course this would be as a traditional guardsman, which means one weekend a month type deal…but I’m going to apply for a full time spot whenever one may be available. I don’t really know how I can pass this opportunity up. It’s back home, it’s what I want to do, and I know plenty of people out at the guard base. I already have the necessary clearances, I’m already an officer…I just need the Intel schooling. Once I get back I’ll be going out there and meeting with a couple of the officers to see what I can do in the mean time. The officer board doesn’t meet until Spring when they select their new officers. I have a pretty good shot (but we know what guarantees get you so I’m not going to bank on it until it’s a done deal.) In the meantime I need to find something to pass the time and pay the bills. But I’m quite optimistic.

I just want to finish off with…I am pissed off, I am upset, and I am disappointed I couldn’t stay active duty. I enjoyed almost every minute of active duty. All the people I’ve met have been awesome. The Airmen I worked with were the best part of being in the military, and they were enlisted! I don’t blame anyone at Laughlin, or even the Air Force as a whole. They have a manning requirement and due to the economy people aren’t leaving as projected. They did what they had to do. I took a chance (more of a chance than I realized though) to do something I would enjoy far more than flying, and this is the end result. I don’t regret it, and I’d take the chance again even if it meant the same result as this. You have to follow your heart. You also cannot be constantly scared of losing your job, living with that fear will inhibit you to be the best officer you can be. I wasn’t going to stay in something I didn’t enjoy when I knew I could do better, be happier, and kick more ass elsewhere. All it means is I have to serve my country in a different capacity, but I’m still going to be in the military come hell or a high water. I was born to serve, and this may be a little stumble, but I’ll pick myself up and be a better officer because of this experience. The only thing I wish was that people in my situation or contemplating the same thing that I did, knew the numbers of retention and the chances of reclassifying. So that’s what I’m doing, giving people the information to make an informed decision. Just remember, don’t do something you hate just because you’re scared of losing your job, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Take a chance, and do what you love. Only you can make that decision though, choose your path, and find what makes you happy. It’ll turn out, I know it will. It’s your life, grab it by the horns and throw caution to the wind. Live with no regrets.

“When it comes to a point you’re scared of losing your job on a regular basis, you’re in the wrong place. You need to find what makes you happy, and that’s not living in fear.” -Rob, contractor at Laughlin

This wont be my last post =). I’m not finished in the military quite yet.


Home is where the Hart is =)

17 October 2010 1 comment

I haven’t updated because well, there honestly hasn’t really been anything worth updating about (save a couple trips which is what I’ll mostly be talking about in this post.) Casual status is still very much casual, but I have been getting assigned more additional jobs.

A quick side note for those finding this blog for info about ASBC and the like…my posts about my time there is accurate, but if you compare it to what people are now experiencing you’ll probably get a bit different info. They’ve taken out the week at blue thunder (and not sure when they’ll give you the training we learned there during ASBC now.) They’ve also changed the first briefing around, but I believe the doctrine briefing is still the same. I’ve got some friends there so maybe I’ll update about it when I talk to them. But now back to a day in the life of!

So let’s see, September 7th was the last update, what has happened since then… I went on a weekend getaway to San Antonio in September. On October 6th to October 13th I was back in Indiana also for eight days of very much needed leave. Other than that I’ve mostly just been at Laughlin.

The highlight of my past couple months was definitely going back to Indiana. I hadn’t been home in five or so months (since may,) and hadn’t seen most of my family and friends in that same length of time. I know it may not seem like a long time, but I’ve never really been away from home save like a month at a time. I attempted to cram in as much as I possibly could into those eight days. Time with my fraternity brothers, eBash friends, family, other friends…I was definitely running on empty by the time I got back to Texas. I definitely think I made the most out of the trip, and couldn’t have really asked for much more. I had plenty of nice surprises and good times to hold me over until my next visit. What’s depressing is that visit will probably be the last time that I can really see so many people. When I go back again many of my pike brothers will have graduated (at least the ones I was pretty close to like Josh and Jason, among those I went alum with that are still finishing up.) A couple other friends will have graduated and moved on, and who knows who else may not be there anymore. So that was kind of a downer when I was leaving…knowing that once again things were going to change and that regardless I had to accept it.

Tuesday night was spent at the San Antonio airport waiting for my 6am flight. I drove my car over to the Mitsubishi dealership near the airport in order to get some routine maintenance done to it (why not it’s still under warranty thus almost everything is free.) If I were to park at the airport it would have been like $90 by the time I got back, while I spent only $20 for my car maintenance…I was thus stuck at the airport since I had no car. I decided to go to the USO, which turned out to be an amazing idea since they were doing Air Force basic training in-processing by the USO. I then got to watch wave after wave of new basics in their civilian clothes to go off to basic for many weeks. In tow of the basics were several TI’s who were yelling and yelling…I found this quite humorous and enjoyable to witness. Also at the USO were around fifty or so newly graduated security forces two stripers on their way home or to their first assignment. It was fun being able to talk to all these airmen who have been in about as long as I have, and to see their perceptions about officers and the air force.

Wednesday was spent on a plane, in the car, and then finally back home in Terre Haute. I stopped by and saw mom at school, which brought her to tears of joy. I then went to my fraternity house and saw a bunch of my brothers that night. It was fun seeing everyone’s reactions as each person saw me for the first time since last may. I almost felt like I had celebrity status for eight days while I was home. Thursday I spent some time at eBash and got to see my friends there. I was sure to see Cliff, Kyle, Fred, and Ashley on my trip also. I played Dead Rising 2 with Cliff and I don’t think I’ve had that much fun in a co-op game…ever. Friday, I visited Megan at work and found this amazing book about Indiana micro-breweries that I instantly bought for Fred and Ashley. I was finally able to give it to them on Monday when we met for lunch, and I swear those two looked like kids on Christmas morning. It made me pretty happy that they liked their gift so much.

Friday/Saturday were spent doing homecoming festivities. Friday was the trike race, which I was able to see some ROTC peeps, and I also got to see more pikes I hadn’t seen yet. I had dinner with Mom, Martin, and Michelle that night. Something we of course don’t get to do very often now, and probably wont happen again for a long while, so that made it pretty special. It was great timing that I was back home for both My sister and Step-dad’s birthdays. Later that night several of the pikes and I went to the Bally, and I definitely spent a little too much due to my newly gained “alumni” status…which led to me buying several drinks for most of the people with us, including the AXO’s that I was friends with. Bree was there also, and it was nice to catch up with her.  Had a nice surprise while at the Bally that certainly made the trip even more epic. Saturday morning started at the Bars at 7am…which would last until finally making our way to the Pike Tent at 2pm via “The Walk.” I’m unsure if I’ll ever do that thing again…haha. It was pretty fun for the first couple hours going to each new “establishment” and running into the same crowd you started off at 7am with. As the day progressed and you kept seeing the same people over and over again, you steadily grew happier and louder at seeing them at the next establishment. I ended up doing most of the walk with Liz, Cainan, and Jared. That was fun being able to see three people I used to see quite a bit at eBash, but since then we had gone our separate ways. The best part of it was it was completely unplanned and I kept losing various people I had been with before like Josh and Jason. I also saw the three of them that night when I went back to the bally (and by that point I couldn’t believe I was still awake since I hadn’t slept since 11am Friday.) SO a big thanks to Liz, Cainan, and Jared for keeping me company on the walk!

Sunday I went to the Colts game, and I must say I got to go to one hell of  a game. I took my dad as his Birthday present. We’ve never really had too many chances for there to be “Father and Son” activities besides maybe going shooting once in a while. Even far fewer chances now that I’m over 18 hours away (by car.) The game was against the Kansas City Chiefs (which WERE the only undefeated team in the league.) A very amazing turn of events during the game was the fact that 3rd string running back Mike Hart ended up playing the entire second half…in which he scored the only touchdown of the entire game. My mom and step-dad have season tickets (and gave me the tickets to go to the game…so a BIG THANK YOU there.) There seats are behind one of the goal posts which also happened to be the endzone that Mike Hart scored. I was going nuts (so was dad.) The only thing that could have made it better would have been the fact that I would of had my Mike Hart (number 32) jersey on Sunday for the game, instead of it arriving the next day on Monday =(. Good job scoring that touch down and doing our name proud Mike Hart.  After the game we got to see my sister for dinner for her birthday. It was really nice to have both my dad and sister there for dinner…the only thing that was missing was Barb ;).

Monday I got to see Fred and Ashley for lunch. I had dinner with Mom and Martin for Martin’s birthday. We went to Texas roadhouse (I found this kind of humorous since I live in Texas now) but the food was good! I’m going to definitely miss being able to go out to dinner with everyone. I went over to the fraternity house and got to sit in on the end of chapter. I then went to Kyle’s house where we failed many many attempts at getting an age of empires II game going. Instead we played age of mythology. After that Kyle, Logan, and I played Halo: Reach for several hours which was really fun. I wish I could do that more often!

Tuesday I spent the last of my time with friends from eBash before going my Dad’s house to have dinner with Dad and Barb. Barb cooked my favorite dish she makes (ravioli), and earlier in the week Mom cooked my favorite dish (Chicken Pot Pie.) A big thanks to both of them for cooking for me  =).

Weds I packed up and flew back home….

Something I really realized while being back home is that it’s the people that makes a place home. It’s not the fact you have trees, corn fields, or cactus (though being able to see the leaves change in Indiana was a nice added bonus to my visit) It’s the fact that you’re surrounded by people you care about and that care about you. I like Laughlin, because that’s “home” since that’s where I am…(Home is where the Hart is) but I still miss all of those people I got to see while being back in Indiana. The trip was so “epic” because I got to see so many people that I care about with and that made my 22 years in Terre Haute so memorable. You will all be very missed. Thank you for making my eights days of leave so amazing. I hope to see everyone again soon. I have an amazing family, and quite a few pretty awesome friends. I’m pretty lucky!

This weekend was fun and relaxing. I stayed in Laughlin and played video games/spent time with some friends.

Now I’m back at Laughlin and back to gate guard duty mixed with other random jobs. It keeps me busy and I’m getting paid so I’m certainly not complaining at all!

As far as my reclasification process…I got an email last week saying that I had “Met the board, and the board was still underway.” I should hear something relatively soon I think.

I’m looking to do a road-trip one of these weekends before long. Might go to Lubbock and see a friend or two and  I earned a “one day pass” for working the combat dining-out and putting in a ton of time for that, so hopefully I can take a three day weekend.

Thanks for reading! I promise to update more regularly!



Casual Status Part 2?

7 September 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated mainly because…there hasn’t been anything going on…at all. Just been doing my casual job (still doing gate guard.) I’ve been working out quite a bit, probably the most ever? I also have a decent amount of free time, so I’ve been putting the new TV/Surround sound system to good use.

As far as the casual job goes it’s nothing “glorious” but I really enjoy being able to get to know the Airmen that work the gate with us. I’m actually really looking forward to hopefully be working in some manner where I’m in charge of people and helping them…leading them. Being their “LT” so that they feel like they have an officer really looking out and taking care of them…I get some mixed feelings from enlisted folk when you talk to them about their superiors, especially from different branches. I have tons of examples of things “not to do” but I’ve also seen some great officers, some great leaders. I’m confident I can do a great job regardless of the job they give me. So I may not get a lot out of just “checking IDs” but I do get a lot out of all the people. Even being the first face  people see when they come on base can make a huge difference. It may be a small thing that people don’t really think about, but it’s true. Someone is always watching, and you never know what they will see be it good or bad. I’m trying to take every opportunity and just do it the best I can.

Which brings me back to making the decision to reclassify. My feelings haven’t changed, though occasionally I see the planes and play the what if game. That’s mainly due to me not being in my new career yet, and I’m just doing gate guard. But once I get in that airplane my feelings would just be right back to dreading every moment of it. It may look “cool and fun” from the outside as an onlooker, and of course it could be if you’re just along for the ride. I like the fact of flying, and being up in the air…but I didn’t enjoy it that much where I wanted to do it the next 11 years of my life. I see flying more as something I’d enjoy as a hobby, as something to do on my “off time.” I look at it as similar to my job at ebash (a video gaming center I worked at in high school and college for those that don’t know.) I loved video games tons before that, but when I worked at eBash ( I started to like video games less and less… it took away from the joy and the fun of video games. They say do what you love, but should that mean make your job the same thing as you really enjoy? Professional athletes just don’t only do that “job” as their hobby. I enjoyed video games less when I worked at eBash than before or after I worked there. The people and my friends being there is what made the job fun and enjoyable. It helped it was something I had a ton of background in and was pretty good at, but I didn’t enjoy my hobby anymore. I see that exactly the same way when dealing with flying, and it being my career. I would enjoy flying once a month or week or something just for an hour to get up and fly around…but as a job? For everyone outside looking in, it’s easy to make and pass judgments about it…for the pilots that enjoy it…it’s easy to pass judgment on. Those that haven’t been there and haven’t experienced it, they wouldn’t know if that’s for them or not either. And those that enjoy it and want to continue doing it, well it’s easy for them to think you’re crazy for dropping from the thing they enjoy. Those things just piss me off, but it doesn’t make me second guess my decision. What’s done is done and I’m glad I made the decision and I’m hopeful of the future. People can talk trash all they want, my happiness is what really matters.

I met with my commander and turned all the paperwork in so now it’s in the hands of the Air Force. The Col said the likelihood of retained is really really good, and he’s never really seen it go the negative way for people with nothing negative on their record (like myself) and a person that drops as early as IFS. He also said that in terms of reclassification he almost always sees people get reclassified as one of their top two, and I have a strong case for intelligence, so I should hopefully get that. I’d be happiest there, but I’d be happy serving my nation and being a leader for airmen regardless.

Also talked to one of my brothers who’s in the FBI today about the career opportunities of going from the Air Force as an intel officer to the FBI, and the likelihood is really really good…so there we go, already a career option after the Air Force. I’d like to stay in the Air Force as long as possible though, but working for the FBI would be pretty awesome.

Well time to go to gate guard duty!

Casual Status is Exactly That, Casual

Since the last post I’ve now been through two more weeks of casual status. I’m grouping two weeks together in this post because honestly not too much really happened. I leave for IFS come next Saturday, so once I get there I’ll have a little bit more to blog about. I’ll be pretty busy, but I’ll try to get an hour or so on the weekends to drop a note here. But now lets talk about the past two weeks.


And that’s about it.

Ok, I’m kidding. I started my gate guard shifts which actually aren’t too bad. This generally entails just checking IDs as people come in and such, but it gives us some time to chat to some of the enlisted security forces people. I have to say that being able to talk to them one on one has been pretty cool. I’ve also had some various odd jobs, like picking up trash, directing traffic. I’ve gotten the drug reduction duty twice…where we go and “supervise” to make sure people aren’t cheating or lying on drug tests. So far I’m two for two in not actually having to “supervise” as it’s not been a testing day. One guy apparently has gone four times to work it, and each day has been a testing day. No luck for that guy!

Other than that I’ve been running around and finishing up in-processing stuff and getting everything done to go to IFS. I finally have my military email in the global, the first thing I did was get the discount for my cell phone bill with it…lol. I finally have a place to live come this next week. I’ll move in Tuesday/Weds/Thursday…one of those days. It’ll be good to get all my stuff in there before I leave for Colorado. I’ll be living in the dorms on base, so should be convenient for getting to class. I didn’t get the option to live off of base, so I guess the dorms will definitely have to do. I’m in the “new” dorms, they were built in 2006, and apparently that makes me “lucky” according to the housing guy. I also have my address down here now, so if you would like, that send me a message on facebook, shoot me a text, or leave me something on here and I’ll give it to you. I don’t want to just post it on here though.

My Mom and Step-dad made it over here last weekend. They came down to visit some other family and then came over to see me. We just relaxed for the most, went out to eat, and Martin helped me make my car shine so much you can see it from space. As far as places to eat, there are a couple awesome places to go. Chili’s is the local favorite, and my personal favorite is a place called TB’s (Todd and Bullet’s). They have this amazing entree called Corona Shrimp with stuffed shrimp (cheese and jalapenos) and then the shrimp is wrapped in bacon. Hunter was also here for majority of their stay and he was able to meet us for Dinner one day and Lunch another. Mom and Martin were asking him a ton of questions about everything, so I got a chance to see what I was like when I first got here. Of course once Alex and Zach get here I’ll be giving them all the info, much like Hunter did with me. It was awesome being able to see them for those couple days, and I hope to get more visitors in the future. They’ll be coming back after I get back  from IFS to bring down some of my stuff, so looking forward to that.  Dad and Barb were talking of coming down around Christmas time, but I’ll be back on leave for both thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m trying to decide if and when I should take a week or so in October or September before my UPT class starts also.

Hunter also left the same time that my parents did. That made this last week pretty boring for me. Before he left we had been hanging out or going out to eat almost every night for the past two weeks. He went off to SERE (Survival school) and by the time he’s back from it I’ll be off in Colorado. By the time I get back from IFS, he’ll be gone to his next base. So that’s definitely a bummer, but it was great being able to even get those two weeks in. He’s been one of my best friends that I’ve met from college, and it sucks we weren’t here at the same time longer.

Once I get back from IFS I can get my internet going. Go get a new TV and hooked up with some cable and a DVR…get my netflix hooked up on the xbox…Once all that happens then I’ll be in technology heaven. I’ve missed xbox live and netflix the past couple months, never realized how nice it was to have that readily available. Of course my dad made the comment tonight when I talked to him on the phone. Imagine what it was like 25+ years ago when we didn’t have any of this stuff. Of course then I’d probably be reading all the time, which I’ve actually done quite a bit of lately.

Yeah I know…reading! I bought The Pacific (the book) which is to accompany the miniseries. Band of Brothers the book, was more so what the mini series was based on, not an accompanying book. The Pacific (the book) instead covers several people that the miniseries does not. Overall it’s a pretty good read, but I’ve really just started it. Hugh Ambrose definitely continues on the family legacy of a great historical writer, his dad would be proud. Stephen E. Ambrose is/was my favorite writer.  The other book I picked up is I am the Messenger. My friend Jenn recommended it to me and damn it was a great book. I read like the first 20 pages, set it down for about two weeks, and then this last week I picked it back up and knocked it out in like two days. I literally couldn’t put it down. Once I get back from IFS I’ll probably go pick up some more Markus Zusak books. I plan on reading more than just playing video games to pass my time.

All in all Air Force life thus far isn’t bad. I’m pretty bored (but that’s a good problem to have since I won’t have that luxury once UPT starts.) This week I’ll be studying Boldface and emergency procedures like crazy…. I’m getting paid, and meeting some pretty cool people.

On a side note to those people coming here for training…The Fitness Center here is awesome. I’ve started swimming every week, and man did it kick my butt the first time. Definitely a great alternative workout to always running. Maybe I’ll start doing weights again too. The bummer is I don’t think the complex at IFS has a pool.

We’re also about to get a ton of people awaiting pilot training. The class after me at ASBC should be here tomorrow or Tuesday. The Air Force Academy has 200 some people arriving here in the next week and a half. Another reason I’m happy I already have a place to live…being on that waiting list would be terrible, or even trying to find something in town if you were given the option…would be impossible. When I get back they probably will have a hard time finding me a casual job to do for the two months before pilot training starts. More reason to take a week of leave or so I guess.

Alex and Zach, you two need to get here pronto to keep me entertained. Those Puma’s better watch out for Zach though, that kid’s got moxie.I can just see it…we’ll be the Tres Terrors or something (mainly Zach being the terror)

Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to leave comments or drop me a question or something.

Categories: Casual Status

The Start of Casual Status: In-processing

Ah the beginning of the beginning of pilot training. Well, pilot training won’t take place for awhile since my class start date isn’t supposed to be until October. In the meantime, while we wait for our class start date, we are on “casual status.” Casual status starts off with in-processing, which in-processing happens at any base you ever go to. When you leave a base you’ll also “out-process” (go figure right?) I’m not going to break it down little by little in painstaking detail so no worries there. Basically what you do during the in-processing part is you go around to all the various places on base and get checked in…These include medical/dental, finance, housing, personnel, etc. The one I was focused on was finance of course, as I’m running pretty low on funds due to ASBC. We were supposed to receive a “TDY” advance at ASBC to offset the cost of the lodging and food but it never showed up for me…Other people did get it though. So once that hits I’ll be in good shape and can start investing and buying things I’ve been waiting to get (Like a NEW TV…oh yeah.)In-processing with a group of 40+ people does slow this whole process down when you compare it to a friend of mine who is the only person in-processing at his job.

The other part of casual status, besides the in-processing part (because you’re supposed to have that done after a month or so) are various casual status jobs. These jobs range from things like secretary work, gate guard duty, or even DDR (I don’t know the acronym but you’re the guy/girl that makes sure people do the drug tests correctly when they pee in the cup.) Not the most glorious job in the world…but we’re getting paid right? The Air Force is pretty genius for the whole Casual job concept, even if all of us casual LT’s get restless. It allows us to get settled in over the course of several weeks instead of trying to do it all at once and then immediately job into pilot training. A casual job also allows the base to fill in vacancies and use us as an augmentation group to help the base out where it needs manning. A great example of this are the gate guards. The security forces here have a good number of people deployed so they augment us to help fill the role, thus alleviating some stress put on these people. Of course we aren’t security forces or any of these other roles that people may need us to fill in, so no worries, we aren’t doing anything all to serious.

My casual status job will be doing the gate guard stuff, so it should be pretty interesting. Got some training on it today and I’ll be good to go for next week.

Right now I’ve just been sitting back and relaxing when I have the time. I’m usually running around trying to turn in all my in-processing paperwork or going to mandatory formations like briefings and stuff. Besides that I’ve been playing some WoW and hanging out with Hunter before he takes off to his next base. Right now I’m just playing the casual status waiting game and first up for me will be IFS on 3 August. I really need to  start (not )stop hammering away at the bold face, but it’s coming to me pretty easily. Having a whole year of ground school and some flight time under my belt definitely helps, but so do a bunch of other people. I’m also waiting on a place to live, as I’m still in the Inn here. After 40 some days at ASBC and another 10+ already here…I’m ready to have a place I can call home and I can start to unpack and get situated in for the next year and a half or so.

I’m hoping that people don’t find all of this too long and in-depth and boring…So hopefully this is proving useful to some people, if at the very least just a means to keep updated with me. I’ve read some other blogs of similar LTs doing what I’m doing and there’s are relatively shorter…lol.

But yeah, this place is getting better after every passing day. You meet more people, you get to know the area more…and right now I’ve got my WoW to pacify me…I just really want a place of my own.

Ops limits and emergency procedures will be my life the next couple of weeks before IFS, and there probably wont be much to talk about…but I’ll try to update a little bit.

Thanks for reading!