This is the cumulative result of the past two years of hard work, training, and sweat on Pablo's part:
He is now an official Naval Aviator! I had the privilege of pinning his wings on at his winging ceremony a few weeks ago, which was probably the most important moment in both of our lives apart from our wedding and the births of our children.
|Yes, there is a name on the patch, but the magic of |
photo editing preserves our privacy! *wink*
Winging is a Big Deal in the life of an aviator, and it was such a delight to share in all of the festivities that week. Because we live quite a distance from base, I haven't had much opportunity to participate in the various activities, which made it all the more exciting for me! I felt even more blessed to be married to this man (if that's possible) as I witnessed the respect he's earned from his superiors and fellow officres through his hard work and attitude.
There was a luncheon to put on the week before winging, which I was very involved with because Pablo's winging class was smaller than usual. I had the "brilliant" idea to make enchiladas, rice, and black beans for 90 people -- despite the fact that I've never made enchiladas, rarely make rice because Pablo doesn't like it, and have never made black beans as a side dish. Not to mention that I've never cooked for that many people before! Fortunately one of the other "wingers" helped us assemble the enchiladas and another winger took care of dessert -- and in the end it was quite successful!
The night before winging was the "soft patch," a more casual celebration (i.e., pizza party!) for family where each student aviator's initial instructor takes off their student patch and replaces it with a "wing patch" -- complete with stories, either complimentary or humorous! I was so glad my parents were able to come to both the Soft Patch and the Winging; they have been incredibly supportive through this whole process (first OCS, then several phases of flight training), and it was so special to share this time with them.
Little Man certainly enjoyed the chance to fly "Daddy's helicopter" (just a trainer for now; once we move he'll be flying his designated helo):
And even his little brother had his first "ride!" Though sadly he won't remember it!
And here's the man himself -- and "almost" aviator in this photo, taken the day before winging:
|Pablo's CO (Commanding Officer) insists that he has the best hair in the Navy.|
I agree, but I'm just a little biased! *wink*
I'm so proud of Pablo's achievements, and so grateful for God's blessings as we've navigated this new phase of life. He has opened door after door, and we can clearly see His guidance in our lives since Pablo first started considering joining the Navy. The road ahead will have its challenges (more training, frequent moves, deployments, etc.), but I am confident that the Lord will give us the grace and strength to tackle whatever He puts before us.
Of the three helicopters he could have been assigned out of flight school, Pablo got his first choice -- a huge relief and blessing! As I mentioned in my last post, we'll be moving to Virginia in a few weeks, and near the end of the year we'll be taking an even longer trek to Guam for about 3 years. I lived in Virginia as a baby/toddler, while my dad served as a chaplain on the USS Wisconsin during the first Gulf War, so now I'll have the chance to actually make some memories there. And my parents and sister lived on Guam for several years in the mid 80's while my dad was stationed there as a chaplain at the Navy hospital. It's one of the few duty stations I "missed" during my dad's Naval career (not having been born yet!), so now I'll have a turn.
I'm looking forward to our tropical adventure, partly because it's far from my "comfort zone." The beautiful scenery, waterfalls, and snorkeling sound great. The abundance of snakes and spiders, not so much (though I wouldn't really mind the snakes at all if it weren't that they are somewhat dangerous to children). It figures I would get really into knitting shortly before moving to an island where the record low is in the mid-60's and the average temp is 75-85. I'll have to put my wool on hold and stick to lace knitting with cotton and linen yarn! At least I'll be spared the trouble of putting together winter wardrobes for several years -- and I'll probably have very little to store, since the children are more likely to wear their clothes out when they can wear them year-round.
Well, that's enough "news" for now! Hopefully our little chap will arrive in a few weeks -- because we need a little more excitement, you know?