So what is the big news? Rob found out that he was selected to fly the new F-35 Lightning! He was the first student EVER to be selected from Meridian to fly this jet and was totally shocked and honored...and obviously thrilled! (The F-35 isn't even listed on their "dream sheets", where they rank the potential jets they want to fly, so Rob didn't even know it was really a possibility!) This means that we will be moving to Beaufort, South Carolina where Rob will go to the rag/fleet replacement squadron for the next year-ish to learn to fly the F-35. It's been a couple of weeks and I still can't believe that it is happening. We called our families, ran across the street to celebrate with Blair and Wil, and literally were on cloud nine all night!
The next day, everyone came into town for Rob's winging. I picked up Rob's sister Erin from the airport, met up with my parents and Rob's parents at our house and waiting for Rob to get home from work. It was so nice to have everyone in town to celebrate! We went to our favorite Meridian restaurant, Harvest Grill, for dinner and then called it an early night to prepare for an early morning the next day.
Rob's winging started at 8:30am on Friday morning. We grabbed everyone breakfast sandwiches from the Sandtrap and then headed to the squadron for family day. There was a few speeches, awards, a video at the squadron and then we were able to head over to the sim building to let our families fly the jet simulator. We had a quick break to eat lunch at our house before headed to the chapel for the formal ceremony at 1pm. The ceremony was short and sweet: a quick intro speech then the pinning of the wings and then done. Each person was called up to the stage, a quick bio was read, the wings were pinned on, families posed for pictures, and then on to the next. (There were 19 people winging with Rob). It was an honor to be able to pin those wings of gold on Rob's chest, knowing how hard he has worked over the last three years to earn them.
We had a little bit of time to change and relax before our families and a few close friends came over for dinner. I had dinner catered by Dickey's BBQ, cupcakes from Margie's Mixing Bowl, and aviator sunglasses as party favors. After dinner, we headed to the official winging party at the Meridian Little Theater. We've been to several winging parties in the past however I am definitely going to call this one the wildest. It's safe to say we took "YOWO - You Only Wing Once" a little too seriously ;) It was a blast to be able to celebrate with everyone, even if we paid for it the next day.
Our families stayed in town for the rest of the weekend and we showed them the typical Meridian tour - aka we took them to Weidmann's and my parents ate BBQ in a gas station (Pappy's) ;) Overall, it was a wonderful weekend and I am so proud of Rob for earning those wings of gold!