Assignment Night

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UXBRIDGE, MA – July 16, 2016 IYAAP BlogFor 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.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Todd Korey

    Ray….I love your prose…..the “font” however…NOT SO Much! It’s too difficult to read FYI! Keep up the great writing and congratulations on the completion/publication of your book!

    Your fellow FAIP….
    Much respect,

    Todd Korey

    1. Raymond Wright

      Hi Todd, thanks for your feedback, and thanks for reading! I’ll see what I can do about the font, and I’m assuming you’re referring to how text appears on a mobile device. (Please let me know if this is not the case.)

      Sincerely, Ray

  2. Craig DeBoni

    Sitting in united base operations awaiting my next flight, I over hear someone say something about Rays book and halarious…I say…”are you talking about Ray Wright, he was my 38 ip, and financial planner “. My t37 ip Rex Calvert turns around and says “yes…do I know you”…. Ordering your book tonight. Hope you are doing well. . Craig DeBoni

    1. Raymond Wright

      Hey Craig, thanks for sharing that story, and thanks for ordering my book. After you’ve read it, please let me know what you think. I hope all is well with you.

  3. Rick Laney

    Ray Wright,

    I too have recently heard from Sir SAC / Rex Calvert myself…a buddy flew with him at United. I’m halfway through the book, so don’t ruin the ending for me….I have an idea how it turns out however. Nice job on the book. Bill Moody/Big MAC turned me onto it. I immediately went into UPT induced Stress-mode while reading about your Mid Phase Eval.
    Hey, I need to order a signed copy of the book with some of your choice advice for a kid going to UPT later in the year for the Rhode Island Guard. He’s an AFROTC cadet at Umass, and just worked a sweet deal to move to the RI Gaaadd.
    Good to hear your unique perspectives are alive and well. You made UPT a better place to be for us Studs.

    Battle Royale forme please…

    Yeah, the font is challenging

    1. Raymond Wright

      Hey Rick, thanks for your message, and thanks for reading my story. That’s great news about your son! The RIANG does excellent work. I’ll send you my address via e-mail, and when you order a book, have it shipped to my house. I’ll sign it and send it wherever you want.

      I know my font on some phones looks a little strange. If you click on the “Reader” option at the top of the page, the font changes to something more basic.

      I hope all is well with you. Enjoy the rest of the story.



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