Friday, July 9, 2010

The Pilot's Wife

You've heard about her. She's a knockout. She's blonde. She makes him look gooood. The pilot's wife.  Leggy, blonde, voluptuous- whether real or enhanced....yeah. My favorite article title this week was the Onion's "Trophy Wife Mounted". All that in conjunction with the arrival of the Air Force's newest air superiority aircraft got me thinking.  I am none of those things. Well except for the one, I do make him look goood. 

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to know another military wife only to be asked, what's your husband do?  Oh he's in the 27th, 60th, 199th- whichever squadron was the flavor of the year, followed by my asking "what about you? Do you work?" Gracefully steering the conversation away. There are only 2 responses to the truthful answer- My husband is a F-15 pilot. They are ohhh! and oh. In my early years, other wives warned of potential reactions. I once had a man pull his wife away from me and say- that means he's an officer. Like I was contagious. Mind you I had just prevented his dog from running away and his wife and I were in the midst of a lovely conversation while our children played. After that I was more careful what I said.

I am immensely proud of my husband and what he does. He doesn't just fly a very expensive aircraft, he defends freedom. He's a hard worker(sts), leader, an instructor and a friend.  One of the toughest decisions we ever made was to make the move from the Air Force to the Air National Guard. It meant being far away from family and friends, permanently. But the up side was that he would have more regular hours and not deploy. As we left the Air Force, I knew part of him was disappointed at the possibilities that were being left behind. One of those possibilites was the chance to fly the F-22.

Then, as he was on his first 6 month "deployment" the rumors started. "We might be getting Raptors". As with any rumor, especially in the military- you believe it when you see it.  Rumors of orders, TDYS, available housing, new jobs come and go. And then there are constant budget cuts. Multi million dollar aircraft end up on the chopping block. So a few months ago, things started moving around in the squadron. That only means one thing- change is a comin. The first pilot left for training. It was happening, but like other times you wait and see. Phil aka Buddha was slated for training at the end of next year- that is a long time away. Then a position opened up this September for the training course. That means another 4-6 months away. Again, I've kind of been in denial. Mind you it's July. Almost mid July. I should be planning, arranging- but with most things military- they change and they like to change last minute. I'll believe it when I see it. Even my mom questioned it- Dr. so and so's son is in the marines and said the f-22's are done- are you sure that's what he is going to train in?

Well last night I saw it. We went out to KoOlina on a rumor that there would be a practice demo by the F-22 Raptor. I don't impress easily. It blew anything I have seen out of the water. It is one fine piece of kabillion dollar merchandise. If you have the means, I highly reccommend picking one up, they are so choice. Watching the excitement in my husband's eyes was priceless. As with every time he flies, it made me a little nervous to know that he will be doing this and that this aircraft will again make him deployable. It shows me our lives are again changing as they do in the military even if you try to switch to the Guard and try to convince yourself it's easier. The fact of the matter is when your husband climbs into a fighter jet on a regular basis- your life is different.

I can't count how many times I've been told- You don't act like an officer's wife or I would have never known you were a pilot's wife. Apparently I missed the memo.  Is there a handbook? I have never been one to fit in the mold, or size 6 jeans for that matter.  I have been lucky enough to know some of the most amazing women who happen to be both officer's wives and pilot's wives. I have known amazing women who are not. Like anything else, we are a crossection of women brought together by a common bond. It takes a special woman to put up with the long hours, A- type personality, OCD, ADHD, competitive nature man. Military or not.  She needs to be able to hold her own at a formal and in the bar. (neither of which I enjoy btw.)  I know everytime he steps in the jet, he may not come home. I am grateful when he does and grateful that his job is less dangerous than a lot of the alternatives in the miltary. So as we embark on this newest phase phase I am cautiously optimistic. I am looking forward to the new friends we will make and the old friends we might see. I am not looking forward to the separations, but sometimes you need those to remind you exactly what it is you are working towards and how lucky you are.

1 comment:

Tephanie Soderstrom said...

Jen, just found your blog! You are so hilarious!!! I love the Feris add in!!!