UXBRIDGE, MA – July 16, 2016 – IYAAP Blog – For Air Force student pilots, the hype and anticipation building up to Assignment Night approached the excitement of the big game for sports fans, Christmas morning for little kids, and prom night for anxious teens. Potential. Expectations. The prospect of fulfillment.
But not everyone’s favorite team wins the championship. Not every kid gets a Cabbage Patch doll. Not every prom date ends like the fantasy. Likewise, not every Air Force student pilot gets the assignment of their dreams on Assignment Night.
“The Wing Commander will give out the first assignment of the night to the top performing student. That’s usually the first fighter of the night,” our T-38 class commander stated, and the class cheered at the mention of the word, “fighter.”
When the cheering died down, his counterpart, our T-37 class commander, added, “Y’all! If y’all get a fighter, and then y’all go out and get a DUI, y’all will lose y’all’s fighter.”
“After the Wing Commander gives out the first assignment to the top performing student,” our T-38 class commander continued, “the Base Operations Officer will give out the next assignment. This will be the first instructor pilot assignment of the night.”
“Booooooooooo! Booooooooooo!” we all responded.
Not every initial flying assignment may seem like a dream job, but even the most mundane jobs probably would not exist unless they played an important role in the larger mission of the Air Force…or a business…or a team. Finite resources and limited positions don’t have to equate to finite dreams and limited goals.
Whatever your current assignment or job may be, if you believe in the mission, share common values, and see potential for growth by building the skills that can open doors to future opportunities, you have the ability to make any assignment part of your ultimate dream job.
I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about my initial flying assignment after flight school. But looking back on my own Assignment Night nearly thirty years later, I was given a gift that night. An important role on an important team where I could learn important life lessons. Skill-building. Decision-making. Experience. Opportunity. Things that could help me land my dream job one day.
Even as a young Air Force pilot, I dreamed of being an author. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. I just wanted to write. Thinking about my best stories, my best friends, and my greatest challenges, I’ve spent the past decade writing about my days as a student pilot, the hype and anticipation building up to Assignment Night, and how these led up to my first assignment, the greatest job I ever had.
IF YOU AIN’T A PILOT… launches on Kindle and in paperback on August 13, 2016.