Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

At the end of the first phase of flight school, each class goes through a process called "selection". At selection each pilot in the class chooses the helicopter model s/he will fly for the rest of their career. A list of each available airframe is given to the class and then, one by one ( in order of class rank), each person chooses from the list. If the helicopter you want to fly is not on the list at all or all the available  helicopters for that model are claimed before it's your turn then you are out of luck- you have to choose something else. As you can imagine, it can become very stressful and very competitive as everyone tries to earn a spot at the top of the class so they have a better chance of getting the helicopter they want. I share this with you because today was Intrepid Spouseman's selection day and it is important to understand that this is a BIG DEAL. Everything for the past year (well, 2 years really) has been leading up to this day and this one day determines the path of the rest of an aviator's career. A very BIG DEAL indeed. 

For the past 2 years as we have been slowly working our way to and through flightschool, Intrepid Spouseman has wanted to "get" a Chinook helicopter on selection day. The only problem is that most classes only have 1 Chinook available and many classes don't have any. Most classes have several( at least) students who want the Chinook and Isaac's class was no different. As you may have guessed,  these facts did not put the odds in Intrepid Spouseman's favor. Nevertheless, we've hoped and prayed and Intrepid Spouseman has worked like crazy. He studied more than you can imagine. He and I spent hours reviewing materials and then he spent hours reviewing again with friends in his class. He prepared for check rides like every single one was the most important day of his career (and they kind of were)and we finally made it to today. Selection Day. I think I may have been more nervous than Intrepid Spouseman. I knew he'd worked like crazy. I knew he'd done very, very well. But still I wondered of it would be enough. I kind of hoped that the Chinook wouldn't even be available. If it wasn't available, there wasn't any way for someone else to choose it. I just didn't want Intrepid Spouseman to have worked so hard, for so long, only to have the one thing he wanted taken away from him. Oh me of little faith. 

I sent  Intrepid Spouseman out the door and prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed. Right up until the moment he called to share the news. Of course, instead of telling me what he had selected, he asked me where I wanted to live next. He began to list the various posts available to him now that he had selected an airframe. I kept asking him to please stop naming posts long enough to tell me what he had chosen. "I got the CH-47F" he said. A Chinook. He'd finished at the top of his class and was able to select the only available Chinook. Despite the terrible odds, he'd done it. 

I've always known, but now there is concrete evidence: Intrepid Spouseman is, indeed, made of awesome. :-) Way to go, Spouseman. I am so incredibly proud of you!