C-17 Air Cargo Jet Ride

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is autobiographical material for me, I was 13 years old when I went to Civil Air Patrol encampment and flew on board of one of these birds. I really suggest reading this. Thanks

Submitted: March 03, 2008

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Submitted: March 03, 2008

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Once In a Lifetime

 

At the age of thirteen, I never thought I would have the chance to ride a C-17 air cargo jet. It happened when I was at a Civil Air Patrol encampment based in Fort Lewis, Washington. This encampment was a one-week boot camp. The week started out tough, but it gradually became easier. During the week, myself, and a team of other cadets were to go through rigorous training, marching and physical training, all beginning at the crack of dawn. At the end of the week there would be a big inspection. The “White Glove” was our biggest stress. Along with all these new and unfamiliar experiences, we were given a few treats. My most favorite memory was when we got to ride on a C-17 air cargo jet.

Every morning started out the same. At five o’clock in the morning we were awaken by the distant sound of Revelry, and from there it was torture. Sergeants used metal trash can lids, clashing and banging them together while yelling and screaming at us to wake-up and come to attention. After that, we had to do our Physical Training routine. That consisted of running two miles, doing multiple push-ups, along with multiple jumping-jacks. Most of us were in good physical condition when we started, but we all came out in great condition! After the rigorous morning workout, breakfast was served behind a huge line that we formed to wait in. Sometimes we waited a half hour, to an hour for some of the worst food imaginable. I don’t think I had a full stomach that whole week. Usually, when breakfast was done, we would practice marching, but today was different. Immediately following breakfast, we were loaded onto buses, and taken away.

We eventually found ourselves driving through a large gate with armed guards. The sign on the other side read “McCord Air Force Base.” When they unloaded us, we marched into a very nice facility where we listened to a talk from an experimental test pilot. I liked the talk, but I thought his job was crazy! Next, we went to a very nice open cafeteria. Clearly the Air Force must eat better than the Army. The food tasted great, and to make it even better, it was all you can eat. I ate so much I thought I wouldn’t march again. When we exited the building, we saw hundreds of large cargo jets. We all wondered if we would get to ride in one, and shortly, we were informed that we were scheduled to fly today! Excitement filled all of us. We where actually going into the air in the belly of one of those large birds. We toured the jet for sometime before the flight. We met the flight engineer, and the two pilots that would be taking us on our ride. We also learned that this same plane just returned from Iraq a couple days before we arrived. Trained officials showed us how to strap into our seats and gave us the run-down on what to do if something were to happen. With all of us in our seats, the engines roared with extreme power. The pilots were given the green light. We weren’t going to stay on the ground much longer. I was amazed that a plane of that size could reach such fast speeds. The bird lifted off the ground roughly, and took to the sky. We had an hour ride. We flew over Eastern Washington. I was amazed, and a little on edge, but it felt great! On our way home, I thought about the seat I sat in. That same seat took a soldier to war in Iraq only days ago. When the plane landed back at McCord, we were all disappointed it was over. It was back to the grind. On the next day we had our white glove inspection. Our big inspection came, but the plane ride helped us deal with the stress. The fun was over, and we now had a ton of work to do back at our encampment.

Spending that one week at the Civil Air Patrol encampment taught me so much. It left me with a million memories, I think about each day. One of my most memorable memories is the C-17 cargo jet ride. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not many thirteen year olds can say that they have flown in one. Unless they were telling stories, but my story is real. Other great memories still come from encampment, but that special plane ride is still my favorite.


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