Wednesday, May 5

Airforce you copy?

A couple weeks ago my mom, dad, sister, and i flew down to San Antonio, Texas for my brother's graduation from basic training in the Airforce. i didn't really have any expectations of what it would be like, but if i did, it would have exceeded all of them! it was very emotional {which could possibly have to do pregnancy hormones} to see my brother accomplish something of that caliber--and after hearing about everything that basic training entails, it was even more impressive.
We flew out wednesday afternoon where we were seated right in the middle of the entire Sounders FC soccer team. this guy was sitting on my left...we shared an armrest {sigh} hmm....i never knew soccer players were so cute...but i digress! we picked up our rental car, and drove to the hotel where we promptly went to sleep because with the time change we had to get up at o'dark hundred {3am seattle time!} in order to get to the lackland airforce base for the festivities. after a wrong turn on the freeway {oops!} we made it there in time and lined up for the airman's run.
this was probably the most exciting part, just because it was the first time we had the opportunity to see him, if only for a second. everyone started cheering when we saw the first flight coming into view, and from there it was a frantic scanning of all the trainees that had on the exact same clothes with the exact same haircut {can you say "where's waldo"?} but we were lucky enough to have picked the right side of the street because here he came right there in front of us, close enough to reach out and touch!!
we could see his eyes scanning the crowd too, in hopes of seeing us among all the other family members there to see their son/brother/boyfriend. we yelled his name and though he didn't turn his head, {they weren't allowed to} his eyes were looking to the right and he cracked a smile, so we knew he saw us. {click on the pictures to enlarge it and you can see his half-smile} after they all passed, we ran across the street taking our chances that they would do a u-turn up ahead and he would be on the opposite side of the street when they ran back through. we were right! and he sneaked a peek at us again as he ran past.
from there we had to wait 3 hours on metal bleachers until the coin ceremony began. this was where they were given their airman coin and officially graduated from trainee to airman. when they had all been presented their coin they concluded the ceremony and released the family members to come greet their airmen.
it was a mad dash from the bleachers to the floor to find him...again: where's waldo? they all looked the same! and the poor guys waiting for their family to come....they had been instructed to stay in formation until their family members came, so they couldn't move or look around...
they were at the mercy of us finding them! mom ran up to him and put her hand on his arm and he tentatively turned his head to look at her.....{he said he had to make sure it was actually someone he knew, so it wasn't a case of mistaken identity, lol}
.....then wrapped her in a big bear hug. we all took turns hugging and taking pictures and commenting on how good he looked!!!

the rest of the day he had base privileges so he could go anywhere with us as long as he stayed on base. We were all starving after being up so early so we went in search of food.
{a little side note: b4 we left, we googled Charley's Subs to see if there was one anywhere near the base since that is matt's favorite place to eat, but the closest one we found was a half hour north}
we went to the mini-mall that had the Exchange and commisary and a food court and as we walked in, lo and behold, was a Charley's Subs! matt looked like he had died and gone to heaven! {it obviously didn't show up on google since it was on a government base} the day passed by quickly and before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye. not too difficult for us...we had a cush hotel to go back to...but for him it was back to being under lock and thumb. at least it was only till the next day. we went back to the hotel and crashed! it was a long day....and we had another early morning ahead of us.
this time we found our way to the base easily and settled ourselves in yet another set of bleachers {oh joy} waiting for the graduation parade to start. this part was really cool to watch.
they recited the airforce pledge, motto, song, etc. and really focused on the big accomplishment that it was for these young men.
did you know that only 25% of men aged 18-35 are even eligible for entrance to the airforce? and out of the all the guys in his flight, he was one of the few to earn his first set of stripes...way to go matt!
after the graduation ceremony there was an open house at their dorm where we got to see where their living quarters. matt took us through their daily regimen and what their day entailed. whew! i was tired just hearing about it!

after that they were given town passes from 2-8, so we went into san antonio and walked around the town. it just so happened that he graduated during "Fiesta"....a 10-day celebration of parades, food, and fun {also known as drinking}, so there was no shortage of people in town. we had lunch, visited the alamo, and even took a dip in the hotel pool {on the roof} before returning him to base.
the next day was another all-day town pass so he got to leave at 9am. we took a riverboat tour of the riverwalk {there's a river that runs through the town} which gave a detailed history of the town and many of the buildings.
{if you ever visit there, i highly recommend it!} then we ate lunch at a yummy mexican restaurant.

and once again, the day passed by too fast and it was time to take him back. this time it was for good since we would be flying out the next morning. it was hard to say good-bye, but we were all so proud of him and knew that he was moving on to bigger and better things. monday morning he would leave at 2am for a flight to san francisco where he would be stationed in monterrey for his linguistic training learning his assigned language: ARABIC...Wow!!! we all gave our last hugs, and off he went. it meant a lot being there for such a meaningful moment in his life. and it was really special to see my dad and him dad went to his basic training for the airforce at the same base! like father, like son, eh?
Congratulations Matt!!
back at the hotel we crashed once again ready for another early morning. our flight was at 6am which meant we had to get up at 3am. {and if you count seattle time it was 1am!} we "attempted" to return the rental car, but as we approached the airport, every rental agency had signs to return their cars except ours. lucky us. we stopped probably 4-5 times to ask for directions. we were given detailed maps each time. we drove by the same landmarks multiple times. it felt like we were in a labrinth, always knowing it was somewhere nearby, but never being able to get there. all the while our time is ticking by and we are getting closer to our departure time. finally we have only 20 minutes until our flight is supposed to leave and we still can't find the car rental. we stop at a different rental company to ask them and they tell us "we're sister companies, just return it here!" ahhh!! so we hopped on the shuttle to the airport and walk in to find an insanely long line at security. we pretty much know we've missed our flight by now, but get in line regardless. amazingly, the line moves quickly and we are at the check-point with only a couple minutes till our fight leaves. if our gate had not been literally 30 steps from security we would have been out of luck. but this pregnant lady can run when she needs to. i was the first through security and ran {sort of} to the gate and said "we're here, we're here!" the attendant said "you just made it! we were getting ready to close the doors" talk about cutting it close! we literally sat down and the plane backed out from the runway. i think we all zonked until we got to salt lake city where we had a connecting flight.
it was an awesome weekend, but not a relaxing one--if you get my drift. my ankles/feet were so swollen from the heat and humidity in san antonio and the flight to and from. i needed a vacation from my vacation--but i wouldn't have missed it for anything!!

1 comment:

  1. I love the belly that your sportin! We went to San Antonio last year and took the riverboat tour, you're right, it's the best!


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