When I first joined the Air Force, I envisioned myself being able to take flight with Maverick and Goose, experiencing 5 Gs in a dog fight. It didnt take long for me to understand that few people get to fly in a fighter, so I thought my feet would continue to remain firmly planted on the ground.
I spoke with the leadership in the Operations Group about flying with the team as a ministry to the troops. It took some planning but I eventually found myself gearing up for a night flight with a crew from the 7th Airlift Squadron and their commander, Lt. Col. Mickley.
During the pre-flight set up, I watched the loadmasters prepare for combat cargo offload training. I was impressed as they seamlessly worked with Airmen from the 62nd APS in preparing the aircraft for flight. They were focused on each task, intentional in each step they took, both in the preparation for and in the actual offload training.
We took flight and I joined the pilots in the cockpit, where they took turns practicing air refueling with a KC-135 stationed out of Fairchild. The patience and precision that the pilots of both aircrafts had in synching with each other to make this happen is truly a work of art. We went from in-flight refueling to low level flying with the NVGs (night vision goggles) and again I was impressed by the abilities of these professionals.
This opportunity gave me greater perspective and greater respect for both the pilots, loadmasters and support personnel at McChord Field. The hours the team puts in and the training and preparation they go through to be mission ready is impressive.
The flight didnt include Maverick and Goose in a Hollywood scripted story. This flight was focused on the real life mission our brave men and women do every day in support of freedom and I consider it an honor to serve alongside them.