For me the anxiety started the days and week or two, excluding Christmas, prior. I did NOT want to FAIP. Just as a reminder, FAIP means First Assignment Instructor Pilot, it means I would stay here and be an instructor. For the duration of the program I thought I was under the radar. My roommate picked up most the FAIP jokes, as I went by unnoticed. That is, up until my second to last flight. I was flying with our Assistant Flight Commander and things were going well. In the spare time we had, I started pegging her with questions, trying in desperation to get any bit of information out of her that I could. She can't lie, so when there was something she couldn't tell me she would not answer the question. She did tell me that I was moving up the ladder for FAIPing. So, of course I freaked and started asking her about all my friends. She wouldn't give in. In the days that followed I began thinking about what I would not to kill myself by staying here. Eventually, the drop came and we went on Christmas break.
Immediately upon return, our conversation was ALWAYS about our assignment. We could not escape it. We turned in a hard copy of our dream sheets that first day back so immediately everyone started comparing and predicting what everyone would be getting. Mine went like this:
1: C-17 Hickam AFB, Hawaii
2: C-17 McChord AFB, Washington
3: C-17 Charleston AFB, South Carolina
4: C-130 Little Rock AFB, Arkansas
5: C-17 Dover AFB, Delaware
6: C-130J Dyess AFB, Texas
7: C-130e/h Dyess AFB, Texas
8: EC-130 Davis Monthan AFB, Tuscon, AZ
9: KC-10 Travis AFB, CA
10: KC-10 McGuire AFB, New Jersey
11: C-21 Andrews AFB, Washington, D.C.
12: T-1 FAIP
13-19: KC-135 to the various locations (they are everywhere)
20: RC-135 Offut AFB, Omaha, Nebraska
21: E-3 Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City
22: UAV Creech AFB, Nevada
23: UAV Cannon AFB, New Mexico
Also, immediately upon return, FAIP jokes started, for everybody. No big deal, they are just messing with our heads. Rumor had it that there was also going to be only one FAIP, however, the IP's did an excellent job convincing us that there would be two. After our fate was decided that Tuesday or Wednesday, the rumors escalated. On Thursday night, my friend calls me up ecstatic. He tells me that he heard that all of us got something inside our top twelve. Well, if you notice, my twelfth pick is none other than FAIP. He thinks it's hilarious, I freak out. I went through the program thinking I was in the middle of the pack. Now, I'm think maybe I'm higher and that they want to have me stick around. I do get along with a few of the other FAIP's. After we hang up, he proceeds to tell everyone that I might FAIP and I really really really start to worry. I slept surprisingly well Thursday night as I kind of just left everything in God's hands. This was a sharp contrast to when I had my track selection, where I didn't sleep a wink. Anyway, Friday came around and it was possibly the longest day ever. It didn't help that when we were getting one of our briefings in the morning, one of my friends, reluctantly tells me that when he picked up the phone our flight room, the person on the other line was asking for the social's of my roommate and myself. This sends me over the edge. I freak out more than I ever have. It made perfect sense. We both did well, they liked us, we are both athletic as well as roommates. The rest of the day was horrible, I just had to forget about it. A movie and a nap at lunch was just the ticket.
After a movie and a nap at my friends house, I came back calm, cool, and collected. Now time for the party to start. We all hung out in the flight room for the afternoon before walking over to the O' Club where the assignment was. I have to admit, to help the impending doom, a few of us, well, I guess, all of us, had a few beers to sooth our pain. Slowly but surely people started to show up for our assignment and before we knew it the place was packed. Our class was announced and we made our way in. It was annoyingly quiet. I think I made note of the quietness several times. We preceded to show our video, which I will post a link off youtube when it gets posted. Then came the assignments. I'm not going to go through all of them, just the highlights.
To receive our assignments, we went up to the front in pairs. I was paired with my roommate, Matt. While you are standing up there, they flash up three possible planes on the screen and then knock them away one at a time until yours remains then the location flashes up. Matt was first. Remember, he had been getting serious FAIP jokes the entirety of our training. On the screen was no less than three T-1's, each one to Vance. As they disappeared he became more and more heart broken until only one to Vance remained. I was to the side with my head buried in my hands, completely disheartened for him. To his credit, he took it like a man, and went to shake the hand of our flight commander and accept his fate. As he was reaching for the hand shake, our sly flight commander reports that he is just kidding and up pops a C-17 to Charleston! His number one choice! We both proceed to freak out. I don't think I've ever been so happy for someone in my entire life.
I was next. I'd hate to say it but mine was way less dramatic. Also, I forgot to mention, as we stand there, our flight commander reads a roast about each of us. I stand there taking my roast and three planes pop up. A KC-135, a C-130, and a KC-10. This left me perplexed at this point I still think I'm in the middle of the class. One by one, the KC-135 and KC-10 fall away leaving me with a C-130 to Little Rock. I am stoked. After Matt's assignment and mine, I can barely contain all the adrenaline rushing through my veins. We head back to join our class and high five everybody because by the time Matt and I went, the assignment had been going well for our class. The rest of our class received their assignments and the party was one. I imagine this is what a wedding day feels like. An immense amount of build up and anxiety and then everyone wants to talk to you when its over. I didn't care, I was sooooo stoked for our class as a whole because everyone got something in their top 5 or so.
Later that evening we had a party at a local place for all our friends and what not. Our flight commander and assistant flight commander also joined us. They are awesome. Period. Dot. They took care of us like you would not believe. now that the assignment was over, we also got find out some info they would not tell us prior to that evening. First, was that if one of the girls in our class did not put FAIP first, Matt would have been FAIP'd for sure. Also, if there was two FAIP's, he would be staying in Enid as well. Thank God, there was only one. Second, I was closer to being FAIP'd than anyone anticipated. She said that during the entirety of the program I was moving up each week. Although she didn't say, I feel like I was third on the list. Phew, two, very large bullets dodged for myself and Matt. Anyway, I could not sleep that night because the adrenaline was just to strong. I literally could not stop thanking God, and thinking about how awesome of a night it was. I really not convey to you how awesome it was. God could not have shown his presence any more than He did on Friday. All the pieces came together. God is amazing.
Until next time, Pray for SURF
P.S. this is not the end, I enjoy doing this, so I'm just gonna keep doing it well after I leave Enid.
Wow awesome! Now I know someone who flies C-130s. May God take you to new places and teach you all sorts of new things as you continue your journey.
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