As most people know my boyfriend is in the Navy. He recently finished flight school and received his wings. The week and weekend of his winging was amazing and very busy. I thought I would give a summary of what the week consisted of…either for myself to be able to look back and remember, or for others about to experience the same thing and wondering what they should expect.
Wednesday. My flight to Pensacola was disastrous and I barely made it to his soft patch winging which was on a Wednesday. The soft patch wings go on the flight suit, and this was a small, informal ceremony for each individual squadron. Each flight student chose an instructor to present him with his soft patch, and usually the instructor told funny stories about the student.
Thursday. Thursday we had the day to ourselves. Zach took his family and I around the base for a tour. He showed us the TH 57 (the trainer helicopter) and we were able to sit inside it. He also scheduled for us to try the helicopter simulators (sim). The helo sim was amazing. I didn’t realize how much training and practice goes into learning how to operate the sim. I crashed the helo twice!! I knew Zach was always busy studying and flying, but seeing everything first hand really put into perspective how much time and effort he has put into flight school.
Friday-Winging Day!! Friday was the day he received his wings. The festivities started with the blessing of the wings which was done in the chapel on base. The stained glass window in the chapel was breathtaking. It’s hard to see the picture below, but my favorite aspect about the window was Jesus with a Blue Angel behind Him.
Next, everyone made their way to the auditorium for the presentation of the wings. This was a formal/informal ceremony. It was formal in that everyone was dressed up, but informal because the families were able to take the time and congratulate and honor their flight student. The student and his/her family were called individual on the stage. The student has one person pin his new wings onto their uniform. Zach had his grandfather pin his wings on him. Zach’s grandfather is the reason that Zach decided he wanted to fly. Zach’s first flight ever was with his grandfather.
After the ceremony we proceeded with the celebration by feasting on (my favorite) Chick-fil-A. Everyone went to celebrate at what was called the overtorque. Catered Chick-fil-A, free drinks, and cake! By this point it was around 3:30 in the afternoon and everyone was starving. This is where Zach received his mug which stated his aircraft (60 Sierra), his name and rank, his naval aviator number, and the date.
This concluded the Winging ceremony. Later Friday evening was the Winging party which took place in downtown Pensacola. Zach bought a few Hawaiian shirts for his buddies with wings embroidered on them. A few of us went to Walmart and bought Hawaiian shirts just to match. Instead of driving 40 minutes back to Zach’s house in Milton, we got a hotel on Pensacola Beach. I was glad that I got to see beautiful Pensacola Beach one last time. Before I left I had to get a Pensacola Pandora charm, and it was of the famously, well-known beach ball water tower 🙂
This weekend was one of most memorable weekends of my life. I’m glad that I was able to celebrate Zach and his accomplishment.