As I was sitting here yesterday morning at oh-dark-thirty, I heard some jets departing.  Two distinct groups of jets – maybe 15 to 20 minutes apart.  Wasn’t paying that great of attention; I’ve heard it before.  Then my daughter-in-law put a post on FaceBook about the 180th (Ohio Air National Guard, Toledo) jets departing on deployment – and it all came back.  Oh, how I wish I were  going with them…

I know what it’s like to sit in the early morning (0200) briefing.  Dealing with trying to wake up, the anticipation of the departure, details of the deployment, etc.

I know what it’s like to step into the PE (personal equipment) room, checking out my gear.  The light-hearted, nervous banter.

I know what it’s like when it’s finally time to step to the jet.  The eager anticipation of finally ‘getting it going.’

I know what it’s like to greet the crew chief.  More banter, concern that the jet will perform, and not leave me behind.

I know what it’s like to strap it on – the jet.  The sounds, the smells, the activity on the flightline under the glow of artificial light.

And I know what it’s like to sit int he cockpit, awaiting the start signal.  Alone with my thoughts.  Will I measure up?  Let’s get going.  Stretching.

And finally we would be on our way.  Start, taxi and eventually, takeoff – all uneventful, as planned.  And in the later stages of the climb, when all was ‘right,’ I could finally relax for the first time the morning.

Yes, I know what it’s like – and I miss it terribly… But, on the other hand, I was so privileged – to have been a part of it all at one time.  Just a deployment that hardly anyone took note of…

My spirit and prayers will be with those guys as they fly off into “Harm’s Way” here, over the next couple-3 months.  And not just the aviators, but all those who departed with them…

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