Ever since Rob started flight school, I have loved learning about all of the traditions in the aviation community. It seems like every milestone is celebrated with a fun tradition: the shirt tail cutting after solo-ing in the Cessna, the tie cutting and taking a swim in the VT-3 pool after soloing in the T-6, platform selection, and finally the most recent: the final flight of flight school!
When Rob got back from the boat/weapons detachment, he had eight flights left in flight school. With his winging date two weeks away, we knew that he had time but that it would be close. Of course, it turned out to be even closer than we hoped! On Wednesday (the week of the winging), Rob still had two flights left due to weather problems earlier in the week. After a crazy stressful day of "happening/not happening/happening/not happening", Rob completed his final flights of flight school! Just before the sun set and right in time, I was lucky enough to watch Rob land his last flight from the flight line.
As tradition requires, when Rob got out of the plane and took off his gear, a crowd was ready to greet him -- along with a fire hose to blast him with cold water! It just so happened his final flight landed on one of the coldest days so far this winter ;) After sufficiently soaking him down, the commanding officer of the squadron ripped off Rob's soft patch, with his name and the EGA, from his flight suit and replaced it with his new patch with his name and aviator wings! That patch with the wings has been displayed in a glass case in the squadron every single day since Rob checked in, as a constant reminder of what he was working towards. It was so exciting to see him finally able to wear those wings and know that he had made it through flight school!
Look at those wings! Rob was the last person in his class to finish so I hoped that they would tell him which aircraft he would fly and where we would be moving when he landed but in typical military fashion, they kept us on edge for a little bit longer :) I will just say...it was well worth the wait!