Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flying Army

Today I got up and put on my uniform at 5am.  I did not have a drill weekend, I flew on vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  This family vacation is an annual event paid for by my very generous father-in-law Hall Crannell.  He flies the whole family to a vacation spot for a week.  He has three daughters with families, so with the kids, he buys 15 - 17 tickets depending on the year and rents the vacation place.  This year is Jackson Hole.  I have missed a few for work reasons.  The best one I missed was in 2006:  a cruise to Alaska from Vancouver!!!!  

Anyway, I flew in uniform which may or may not be the right thing to do, but I haven't asked and no one told me I shouldn't do it.  The practical advantages are obvious.  We flew from Philadelphia.  My wife, my sons and I were whisked past the waiting line for the security checks to the scanners.

On the first flight, I was seated next to a master sergeant going to annual training.  He said when he was going to wear the uniform on the return flight.  He enlisted in 1977, five years after I did, but long enough back in history that he ate C-rations for years.  We both agreed that people who complain about MREs should have to eat C-rations.

There were a few open seats on the first flight, but the flight from Chicago to Jackson Hole was overbooked and I was the only one with a seat assignment.  We all got seats, but in different parts of the plane.  The boys sat together and got a 12-year-old girl as the third person on the row.  The three of them had a great trip.  My wife got a seat alone where she could read.

A few minutes after take-off on the trip to Jackson Hole, the flight attendant asked me why I didn't want to sit in first class.  I told her no one asked me.  So she moved me up to the front of the plane.  I had already eaten so when they served the first class lunch, I brought the sandwich back to the boys.  They can always eat a second lunch.

In 22 months I will be a civilian again unless I get some kind of waiver to stay longer.  No more flying in uniform after that.

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