Sunday, January 13, 2013

13-04 Drop Night

For those you that haven't heard the wonderful news yet, we found out on Friday night that the hubs was assigned F22's to Tyndall AFB in Florida for his first flying assignment!! I can't even begin to tell you how excited and joyful we are! This was his #1 choice, followed closely by F-15E's and then F-16's. I can tell you this, we were not expecting this at all. We thought this was a long shot, and would never actually be assigned this dream jet. I can also tell you that this is a HUGE honor. To drop a fighter in the first place is a big deal, and I mean a very big deal which is extremely selective, but to be assigned the F22 is a major honor. I'm not one to brag, but as I feel this is my blog and my viewers can choose to read or not read it I can do so a little every now and then. I could not possibly be more proud of my amazing husband right now. He worked his butt of this past year and his efforts have paid off ten fold.

I remember when we first started dating and he didn't tell me until after we had been together for two months, when I was obviously already head over heels in love with him at the young age of 16, that he wanted to be a pilot. Not only did that idea freak me out, I mean i'd never even considered being a part of the military much less married to a pilot, but the thing I was most weary of was how "dangerous" I thought being a pilot was. Then he preceded to tell me that he didn't just want to be any pilot, but a fighter pilot, an F22 pilot specifically. Like any young girl my mind immediately ran to the movie "Top Gun" and I visualized Tom Cruise riding around on a motorcycle with way too tight pants being a philandering maniac (don't get me wrong, I've come to LOVE that movie and am not hating on it one bit). From the young age of 15 he knew exactly what he wanted to do, something I've always admired in him.

And it's been a long journey to get closer to this dream. I remember the day he received his acceptance letter in the mail to the Air Force Academy. I remember the day he started basic training in Jack's Valley. I remember the day he graduated four looooong and hard years later. I remember the day he commissioned. I remember the day he started pilot training, and then tracked T-38's. Looking back, it has been a long, tough, stressful, and challenging road over the past 8 years for us both to get to where we are. However, it has been worth every second and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We have met some incredible mentors at USAFA and here at Laughlin, we have made and lost close friends, we have grown as a couple, and I can't say that I would want to be anywhere but where I am right now. 

God has blessed us in ways I couldn't even have imagined and I can truly say that I feel very thankful in this moment. He gives and takes away, as I have seen from getting this assignment and losing my sweet sweet mother, all within the past two years. He challenges us in our faith and to trust in him on a daily basis. I can't tell you how much his peace enveloped me over the past few weeks and has shown me that his plan far surpasses what we want for our lives.

Ok, I'm done with all the mushy gushy stuff, so below are some photos from Drop Night as well as a video of the hubs drop! Enjoy ;) I will admit that Friday was probably one of the worst and best days of my life. I thought I was going to explode with anticipation in the last few hours leading up to drop, but obviously it was worth it!  

Yes, this is a bag full of 12 Chick-fil-a sandwiches..
and yes I was ordered asked kindly to pick them up
when I went to San Antonio on Thursday
to pick up some fellow 13-04 girlfriends.
I looked like a huge fatty carrying this thing out
and asking for 11 packs of sauce. The things I do
for those boys!

I love each of these ladies dearly, and could
not have made it through this past year without
them. They are such a true blessing!

Another photo with another member of our
amazing bible study who came to
support us on our big night!! 

Mitchell's hero shot slide!

My initial reaction, disbelief. 

I was a little excited ;)
Now we start another journey as we head off to our next assignment. Just because the hubs was dropped this jet, that doesn't mean he is guaranteed to fly it. It means he has been given the opportunity to fly it. We still have to get through three different types of training courses which include a few flights in the F-16 before we head to Florida. He has to get through all of this training before he is really considered an F22 pilot. Needless to say there is still a long road ahead of us but this is certainly a step in the right direction ;)

*Shout out to my amazing friends Layne, Jenna, and Lindsay for taking photos and video for me! You guys rock!

The Etheridges


  1. Such an exciting night! So thankful that I have had this chance to get to know you!

  2. We are so very excited for you both! You certainly deserve all the goodness coming your way :)

  3. Congrats to you both! Reading this post was emotional, and I'm really glad you posted it! Marrying a pilot is scary, but your blog definitely just gave me some ease! And I am SO glad all of Mitchell's hard work paid off for him... and I'm sure your support helped a lot! :)

  4. Eight. Years. That is so awesome you have been by his side since day one of this dream. What a HUGE accomplishment! We are simply thrilled for the both of you and look forward to reuniting the neighbors in Florida!!!

    p.s. LOVE that photo of you cheesin' with the 22 slide in the background - you look so excited, I love it!

  5. Can I just tell you that this post was so absolutely beautiful that I am tearing up like an over-emotional teenager in my cubicle while reading it.