Tag Archives: flying

On Vacation in Florida (from Guam)

Continued from my earlier post Welcome to Guam:  2002 (part 7).  Florida time has always been associated with vacation time – either the farm near Gainesville (my husband’s home) or the beach in Pensacola (where I grew up).  Here’s what we did on this trip.

“6/18/03:  (e-mail to G8r)  We went pea picking.  We shelled about a quart of them with the pea sheller then it broke down.  James (a long-time worker on the farm and family friend) said that he liked to shell his peas by hand, so of course the kids had to know how that was done.  They spent about an hour shelling peas last night.  Today the boys mowed and then your daddy took them and the boat down to the river.  We have not run the boat for 6 months, so he is just taking it down to have it checked out.  They took poles and fishing gear just in case it runs ok.  More later.  Love you, Mama.”

“6/25/03:  We finally made it out flying today (they own a small private plane).  Jay and I went first then Mr DL and I.  It was getting bumpy when we came down, so I will take Lulu on another day.  Jay flew from the airport to the farm after we reached altitude.  He was very steady on the controls and seemed to really enjoy flying.  I let him go up about 500 feet and then down again.  He also flew back to the airport after I flew over the farm for him to look at the hay field that he had helped rake the day before.  We had to quit early so he could make it back to help with the hay this afternoon.  He was quite anxious to get back by the starting time.  He had been told that they would be starting at noon and I had him there, but everyone was just going to lunch so he sat with them while they ate.  He spent the rest of the day in the hay field and came back at 6:15.  Tomorrow we are going to see your brother and Shelley.”

To be continued…


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Letters from the Middle East to Florida and Guam

Continued from my earlier post Welcome Home:  Guam 2002 (part 5).  More e-mails from my husband to home while deployed.

“5/11/03:  Hello home, On Wednesday I complete my circumnavigation of the Earth.  It is kind of neat to be able to say that, but I think I would rather be home.  Today I received an e-mail from the detailer discussing options for my next tour.  I want to come home to Florida, but some of these options are fantastic.  War College in Paris, Sidney, Toronto, England, or Tokyo.  My DLI scores are such that I can pick where to go.  It is just a matter of whether my timing will work out or not.  After that tour I would have one more before I retire. ~G8r”

“6/10/03:  I enjoyed talking with you from Bahrain.  It wasn’t the greatest port, but I started to enjoy it after a while.  Just like every other place I have traveled, the people are extremely friendly if you know a few words of the language, and the Arabs are just like everybody else.  I researched a little bit about the culture and have studied some of the language and it has paid off.  I started talking to this cab driver there.  He wore a thobe (yes, spelled correctly – long white shirt/dress) and the Arab headgear.  He was just making small talk about where to take us in the cab when I read the prayer card he had hanging from his rear view mirror.  It turns out that I had just reviewed a chapter which discussed that exact prayer and being able to read it in Arabic impressed him.  From there he started to talk about the shiites (he pronounced it ‘Shia’ without the T) and the Sunnis.  He told us about which mosques to go to and who to talk to…who liked Americans and who didn’t.  It was amazing (although we were told not to get into any political or religious discussions with ANYBODY).  He even played some Islamic prayer music for us which was really cool.  We are now back at sea and I am happy to be flying again.  The instructor experience is paying off with some of the younger pilots.  I find that many of the same techniques work when trying to show these guys how to fly VERTREP.  We are trying to set up to fly a mission into one of the local countries where we fly people (locals) into the mountains and drop them off to fix the lights on towers.  If we can make it happen we should get some spectacular flying.  The locals will put us up in a hotel, and when we aren’t working we can check out the town. ~G8r”

My husband (G8r) is a Naval helicopter pilot.  During this cruise, he was in charge of 2 helicopters and a group of officer pilots and enlisted personnel attached to a ship that travelled to the Middle East.   Their helicopter’s mission is to deliver supplies, food, people, etc. (VERTREP = Vertical Replenishment).  When he speaks of “the instructor experience,” he was a helicopter instructor 2 tours before this.  On these cruises, the pilots continue to learn the “”real life” aspects of what they learn in flight training and he, as the Officer In Charge, is their teacher.

One last one…

“6/12/03:  I remember working in Florida during the summer.  Until now, I thought that those termperatures and conditions were amazingly hot and humid.  Don’t get me wrong, they were, but…it is 9:41 a.m. here as we pull into Fujarah, United Arab Emirites.  The temperature is 98 deg. and the humidity is 89%.  I just checked the internet to get this information.  I would send some pictures, but he haze is amazingly thick.  Maybe I will just take a picture of the haze so you can see it.  Unfortunately, we can’t leave the pier here.  What they do is make my guys stand Entry Control Point Duty to make them stay near the pier.  My guys don’t know anything about security duty (it wasn’t their job).  What they have here is called beer on the pier.  You walk off the boat, drink a beer, and get back on the boat.  I think I would rather pour the beer on my head to cool off.  What a great way to see the world.  I think we should resupply in a place where the port is a little more friendly.  I am allowed to discuss the port we are in once we pull in, so this is not considered ‘privileged’ information.  I understand SR and the kids may be on a plane right now going back to the States.  I hope they have a good trip.  I am sure that they are going to enjoy seeing you guys. ~G8r”

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Life on the Ship (while stationed in Japan)

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 7). 

“10/26/00  (e-mail from G8r to his parents) Hi!  I talk about you as much as I talk about the kids.  People here probably think I am a nut.  I walk around telling them that my mom just soloed (she had just learned how to fly an airplane).  They think it’s awesome.  Right now it is 23:19 and I have been in HDC (Helicopter Direction Center) since 10:00 this morning.  I went to my room for about 45 minutes and slept but we had an emergency medivac and had to go back to flight quarters.  Some poor SEAL fell 20 feet to the deck of one of our ships and is in pretty serious condition.  They are saying that he has a 50% chance to survive.  I coordinated the medivac with a Korean Warrant Officer that is my running partner.  He will be with us until Okinawa (about 2 more weeks).  It’s lucky that we had him on board because he was able to talk to the Pohang Hospital and get this guy a neurosurgeon.  I hope he lives.  Another amazing thing happened tonight.  When I went into my room to snooze for a while, I turned on the TV and the satellite DTS (Data Transfer System) was working.  I turned the volume up and the news was on.  They were doing a segment on fire prevention.  Who do you think I saw on the TV as I sat in my state room off the coast of Korea?  I saw my son – Jay – sitting on a gymnasium floor watching a fireman test a fire alarm.  Then the camera cut to Jay crawling up to a door to check if it was hot or not.  I was so excited.  Well, I’ve go to go.  Good luck flying.  Love, G8r”

“10/29/00  Hello, Home!  It seems like you are really having fun.  Now you know why Daddy and I are always sitting around talking about flying!  (My fil was an Army pilot during the Vietnam War.)  It’s a blast, isn’t it?  Be careful though.  The times when you are having the most fun are the times when you change your routine.  Establish a routine for everything you do and don’t deviate.  Sorry to be so paranoid, but…be careful.  I guess I don’t need to say that though; hopefully Daddy has instilled his sense of safety into your flying.  I talked with SR last night about their baseball tournament this weekend and apparently Jay and the kids had a great time.  Everywhere they go they are like movie stars.  Mr DL and Lulu love playing with the Japanese kids and it sounds like Jay had made a lot of good friends with kids on the other teams.  Hopefully he will get better in baseball but that’s not really that important in the grand scheme of things.  He will have a really neat experience that he can talk about for the rest of his life.  I remember wrestling as one of the highlights of my childhood.  It was very demanding and required a lot of discipline but that just made it that much more special.  I think Jay likes the intensity of the games but practice can be boring.  I am asking SR to take as many pictures as she can.  I hope she will send you and me some nice shots.  Right now now it is 6:00 in the morning and we are at flight quarters.  It is slow right now so I am going to go get some breakfast.  Good luck, and be safe.  Love, G8r”

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The Sky is the Limit

My world is pretty much like many stay-at-home moms.  I send the kiddos off to school each morning, proceed with the housework, volunteer work, etc., and after school cart the kids around to their extracurricular activities.  Yesterday, my husband had the day off from work and decided to take me on a short flight southward to the (unofficial) birthplace of aviation near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  (Ohio claims to be the birthplace because that is where the Wright brothers were born and developed their plans for flight.)  My in-laws bought an airplane a few years ago as my father-in-law missed flying (he was an Army helicopter pilot back in the 60’s.)  My mother-in-law has since earned her private pilot’s license, and I think my husband loves to have someone else to speak pilot language with.  She lent him her plane for a few weeks as my husband is trying to build up his civilian airplane flight hours as most of his are in military helicopters.

I have been up in private airplanes before, but it’s been a while.  My uncle was a Marine Corp helicopter pilot back in the late 70’s.  Once when he came to visit my family, he rented a small plane and took my sisters and me out flying.  It was a blast, plus I thought it was cool that my uncle was a pilot.  Now I’m married to a Navy helicopter pilot.  He’s never been able to take me up in one of his (the Navy’s) helicopters, but when we lived in Guam I actually got to ride in a Marine helo because the base was doing a casualty training exercise, and I got to be a part of a group being “rescued.”

Yesterday was special in that my husband got to land on the airstrip right next to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and I got to spend the day with him sans enfants (which doesn’t happen often around here).  We walked around the memorial then took a short taxi ride to a local restaurant and had lunch.  Then we got back to the airplane and came back home, back to continue with my “earthly” duties.


Note:  I was going to post some of the beautiful pictures I took from the air, but my computer decided to kill them all today.  After I hooked up the connection between my camera and the computer yesterday, the battery died in my camera.  So I immediately stuck it in the recharger.  I used to have a back-up battery, but lost that on my trip to Florida this summer.  I then removed the card from the camera and put it in the slot in my laptop to download the pictures that way.  I saw a few of the (beautiful) pictures and then my computer went crazy and asked me if I wanted to Format my card.  I said NO way, and waited for my camera battery to recharge.   This morning, my camera could not recognize any of the pictures any longer and asked if I wanted to Format the card as well.  I had backed up pictures through about a month ago (thank goodness) but lost all from my daughter’s birthday party (except the cake, in a previous post), my oldest’s last cross country meet, my youngest son dressed up in goth form for decade day at school yesterday, and the pictures from my husband’s and my flight (boo hoo!).

Lessons learned:  Back up pictures after every major event!  And buy another back-up battery.

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