Thursday, December 11, 2008

Go Boom!!!

My husband is so GREAT!!! Let me go back... As we were leaving Hill AFB, he set up a Wives Tanker ride and signed me up for it because he thought I'd really enjoy it. Well, it was scheduled for the day before we moved and all was going smooth, until we got to the Guard base and they were having maintenance issues with their plane. They kept rolling the take off time back hoping to get the problem fixed or get a new plane.. Turns out the mission was canceled and even though the offered another go the next day, I couldn't take it since we were moving that day. So I never got to do that!

After the Spouses Taxi Rides for the last graduating class, John brought up the Tanker rides again. I thought the Taxi ride was where it's at, but he kept insisting to get me up in a Tanker. For those un-Air Forced... A Tanker is like a flying gas station. The guys will refuel mid-air on long missions so that they can keep going without having to land and go through those shenanigans (Krista's word). In fact I learned the KC135's logo today- "You can't kick @$$ without Tanker gas!" So John went ahead and set it up again (for me). I woke up this morning at 4:00 AM because we had to meet at the base at 5:15 and be at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport where the Guard base is by 6:15 AM! Totally worth it- BTW. There was a pretty big group of us wives, and we loaded up onto the KC135, giddy like little school girls.
Did I mention that it was WAY EARLY. We got to watch the sun rise as we went out to load up on the plane!
I got the opportunity to watch the take off from the Boom pod. The Boom is the nozzle used in refueling and it's in the back of the plane. There is a "Boom Operator" who lays back there and messes with the Joy Stick to navigate the Boom to connect with the jets! Anyway, it was a take off like I've never experienced! We were laying down and as the plane inclined, we felt like we were face planting into the runway! It was pretty cool!
Here's the Boom pod as the operator was doing his thing and one of the girls was watching her hubby refuel about 50 feet away.

I got to see John as he was in the jet RIGHT on the wing of our plane and also him refueling where I could put on the headset and talk to him! He was so close that he waved to me from inside my little window! It was soooooooooooo neat!The long pole coming down from the top of the picture, with the ARIZ-ANG writing is the BOOM. You can see where it goes into the jet and pumps in the gas from the air. It takes much skill, both on the pilot and Boom operator's part to navigate that thing to the perfect spot! Just amazing!
Wave "HI" to John- he's in the front seat!

Here are the KC135's
Me and Colleen- the Head Wife (who I knew at Hill... She's awesome!)
All hopped up on adrenaline after the ride!!!


BrassWillow said...

Wow! Wow! Wow!!

The Carvells said...

FYI - the boom pod is also a good place to put the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake you are trying to smuggle back to Japan - keeps it nice and cool :-) I'm glad you finally got that ride after all.

Mom said...

Wow!! Awesome!! Reminds me of the T37 ride I had when I was an active duty Lieutenant! It looks really fun! What did you do with RIley??? Since it was so early, he probably slept for someone!!! : )

Chey's Dad said...

Hmmph! 8000+ hours of flying time, and I never had a chance to in-flight refuel!
What a great opportunity to get to see Hubby and the guys at work (if you want to call it 'work')
John: great job in setting that up!