Below is the second of six posts I had originally placed on Facebook in June of 2020. The overarching theme was (and is) gratitude toward others. In this episode, disappointment turns into opportunities. There will be one per week through Veterans Day. Enjoy!
2 of 6
Well, there I was in my first command, all gung-ho about finally getting to the Line Shack and becoming a C-2A Plane Captain (the person who inspects, launches, recovers and generally cares for the aircraft). I had made it! But only after (literally) cleaning toilets for five months. Imagine my surprise when they told me I was going to become a US-3A Plane Captain instead. They had enough C-2A PCs and were in need otherwise. Damn, this sucks!
I was to learn from other qualified and more experienced PCs, then qualify on my own. I was not particularly excited as I had spent months in C-2A schools and really had grown fond of the plane. Ken (not his real name, what’s in a name anyway?) was tasked with taking this disgruntled AMS3 under his wing and making something out of him he did not want to become. He also called me out on it in his own subtle way. He respectfully gave me the choice to be a little punk about it (my words not his, he was nicer about it) and allow it to take way longer than it really needed to; or we could work together on this thing and get it knocked out so I could move on to something I really wanted to do. Because of his leadership approach, I now felt like I owed it to him.
Ken showed me around that plane and taught me everything he knew and we sought out answers to the questions he couldn’t answer together. We had a lot of fun together and he also grilled me relentlessly regarding all the technical details I would need to know to successfully pass a PC board made up of my peers. My success was his success, and he took it quite seriously.
This also led to me being chosen to go on a three week detachment to Diego Garcia, a pretty cool place to go as it turned out. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without him turning my attitude around from the very beginning.
Fast forward several years to a carrier we both happened to be assigned to, and imagine my joy when I saw Ken. Not as a PC this time, as the pilot of an aircraft! Damn, that’s cool!
Ken encouraged me to be successful, even at that which I really did not want to do. I believe because at the time he believed in my potential. These days, as far as I can tell from afar, he’s helping even more people attain the veterans benefits they earned while serving.
You’re a damn good dude. Thanks for pushing me to do things I never thought possible!