Yesterday, Joan and I flew to Chicago. Today, our nephew Jim will marry Jenna.* As the family says, “It is good to be Jim.”
Jim is a pilot in the Air Force. He went into the Air Force in peculiar way. While attending college thinking he would follow his Dad and Mom into medicine (his father is head of Gastroenterology at UNMC and his mother is an oncology nurse at UNMC who works with patients in clinical trials for breast cancer), Jim decided to take up flying lessons. He got his license and was hooked. After graduating with stellar grades in tough courses (he was National Merit scholar), he applied through a special program to become an Air Force pilot. He was accepted, and his career literally went airborne.
After extraordinarily extensive training, he started off flying about the biggest plane the Air Force flew and he (probably) did that over Afghanistan–he could never say. Here is a photo of the KC-10 Extender he flew:
Jim quickly became a “first seater” and moved up the ranks. And then a hard but wonderful assignment followed when he was selected as the executive officer (or something like that) to a commander.
Jim had the opportunity to pick his next assignment (sorta). He picked one of the smallest planes the Air Force flies. In the business world, that is called a Gulfstream III-IV. The Air Force uses that plane to ferry high-ranking officials all over the world. Here is a photo of a similar plane:
After the couple takes their honeymoon, Jim and Jenna will head to the East coast. Jim will be schooled on a souped-up version of his present plane. It is “ultra-long range”–carrying up to 16 people in standard seating configurations, and able to fly up to 12,000 km. According to Wikipedia, it
is capable of cruising at 51,000 feet (16,000 m). Features include enhanced weather radar, autopilot and head-up display for the pilot. Safety features include Enhanced Vision Systems that allows increased visibility in adverse environments. The aircraft is also equipped with commercial and military communications equipment to provide secure voice and data capability. The U.S. Air Force equips the C-37A with a basic crew of two pilots, one flight engineer, one communications systems operator, and one flight attendant.
After several weeks of training, the couple will head back to Jim’s duty station overseas. It is in a lovely part of the world. Truly, it is “good to be Jim.”
*Jenna is smart, independent and never salutes Jim. Among many other things, I like that about her.