UPDATED May 29th 2012!
Steve received his aviator wings on February 10th, 2012 at NAS Corpus Christi. We are now in Jacksonville, NC and Steve’s flight school is almost complete. He has checked into VMMT-204 and is currently doing simulators for the MV-22 Osprey. Within a few months, we will be in the “real” Marine Corps when he will be attached to a deployable squadron. Here’s some updated photos of the C-12 in Corpus and Steve’s winging.
Previous Post: Fall 2011
Exciting news! We just got word that we will be assigned our first permanent duty station in February. I’m so excited that we will be in one place for three whole years. THREE YEARS!!! That’s an eternity considering that we will have been to 5 different duty stations in 3 years. I haven’t lived in the same place for more than 8 months since we left Minnesota. We should be in Jacksonville, North Carolina by the end of February. Woohoo!
If you’re just tuning in, here’s a little history of what Steve (but I always say “we,” like I do it too) has been up to that’s brought us all around the country for the last three years. My husband, Steve, left MN in January of 2009 to become a United States Marine Corps Officer. He left for Quantico, VA with a flight contract (meaning he was pre-selected for his MOS, aka military specialty, instead of waiting to be assigned one 9 months later). He went through Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Virginia while I packed up our home in MN. I joined him in Quantico 10 weeks later in April 2009 while he went through The Basic School. TBS is 6 months of leadership and war-fighting training that all Marine Corps Officers go through. In November of 2009, we PCSed (Permanent Change of Station) to Pensacola, FL where Steve began his flight training. He went through IFS, Introductory Flight Screening, which is where he first learned to fly a Cessna 172. He accumulated 25 flight hours with civillian instructors including 3 solo flights. Then he went through API, Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination, which is classroom based learning where he learned about the basics of flying including weather, systems, flight rules, and aerodynamics. They also learned survival techniques and swimming qualifications including a training exercise called the “helo-dunker,” which is where they submerge a helicopter under water and spin it while they’re all strapped into the cargo area and need to find their way out. Once he was API complete, we moved up to NAS Whiting Field in Milton, FL where he began Primary.
In Primary, he flew the T-34C Turbomentor. It’s an insanely old aircraft but most pilots say it’s one of the most fun. They learn course rules (air traffic patterns specific to each airport), formation flying (flying in formation with another T-34), aerobatics – yes, they get to fly the plane like a rollercoaster, and radio instruments, among lots of other necessary things for safe flying. Here’s some pics to help you get an idea.
At the successful completion of Primary, all Marine Corps Aviators go through what we call, Selection. This means they make their dream sheet which ranks their preference of aircraft that they’d like to fly for their career and then based on the needs of the Marine Corps they are assigned to fly a specific airframe. Steve was blessed and was selected to fly Ospreys which was his first choice. The Osprey is called a “tilt-rotor” aircraft which means that the propellors rotate so that the aircraft can fly like a helicopter or a fixed wing airplane. So, three days after the completion of Primary, Steve began Helo training at NAS Whiting Field South. He spent three months learning to fly the TH-57.
Once he completed half of the helicopter syllabus, we were sent to Corpus Christi, TX to learn how to fly multi-engine aircraft. He just started ground school in VT-35 where he will spend the next 6 months learning how to fly a TC-12. I don’t have photos yet. I’ll post some once he starts flying it. But, if you’ve ever seen the Blue Angels, you’ve seen Fat Albert, which is a C-130. The TC-12 is the trainer aircraft for many C-130 pilots. And, now that he’s checked into VT-35 we’ve been given word that we’ll be headed to Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Where he will actually learn how to fly the Osprey. There we will be stationed for roughly the next 3 years. I think it’s a safe bet that I will finally be decorating my house with photography since I won’t have to pack it up every 6 months anymore.