I made it through basic training, and through AIT (advanced individual training). I had been trained for the position of a 71T, or as we said in the military, 71 Tango. Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? Mysterious? Exciting?
71T is an equipment maintenance clerk. I was trained to work in the motor pool. But that was okay, because I was going to Europe!
The time had come, we boarded a bus for the Air Force base to fly across the grand Atlantic to distant shores. I could hardly sit still. The military does things a little different than in the civilian world. For a military flight you were required to arrive no less than four hours before flight time. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:00 pm, so we arrived at the base at noon. Excited!
We had lunch. Excited! At 4:00 pm they announced that there would be a delay with our plane. Still excited!
So we sat and waited. At 6:00 pm they told us we could now go through customs in preparation for boarding the plane. But it was still delayed. Still excited!
We ate dinner. It was late that evening, around 10:00 pm when we were finally able to board the plane. We walked out onto the tarmac and climbed the movable staircase that was pushed up to the door of the plane. Excited again!
Then we sat. And sat. Finally the Captain spoke over the intercom and said that in pulling the stair case away from the plane, they had punctured a whole in the door. Not to worry, he assured us. Stay seated. Not so excited.
They sent an accident crew out to inspect the plane, write up a report, take pictures. It was deemed safe for flight. So we would fly to Maine and check it again before heading out over the ocean. Not very excited.
Stay tuned next week for more!