Pozniak and I woke up early and slipped into the latrine without waking the other girls. We were the first two with orders to leave San Antonio.We wanted to look good on our big day, so we pulled out our curling irons and did our hair for the first time in months. I applied a little make up and wore lipstick too. I almost didn’t recognize the confident young woman staring back at me in the mirror.
Next, I freed my single braid, separated a portion in front, and cut bangs for myself. That would look really cute with my beret and blues. Then I braided the rest of my hair into a single braid and pinned it under neatly so that it wouldn’t touch my shirt collar — didn’t want to be out of 35-10 on my first day of freedom.
As we were getting dressed, Mary and Langdok got up to chat with us before we left. The others were fast asleep — reveille didn’t really apply to us anymore. Poz and I were leaving shortly — never to see our friends again, so we wanted to somehow preserve that moment. We took a quick picture with our friends using my disposable camera and left to meet our taxi downstairs. I don’t remember where Poz was going, but I was heading to Mississippi.
I was a little nervous that morning for a lot of reasons. For one, I had never been on a plane before. Imagine that! I’m in the Air Force, and I had never flown. I was even more nervous when I got on the plane. I’m only 5’7″, and my head skimmed the ceiling of the plane. I folded myself into my tiny seat — arms pinned to my side and legs positioned at a 90 degree angle. It wasn’t very comfy, but I did get a window seat. Three hours later, I heard the pilot welcome us to beautiful Gulfport, MS.
It was a good flight. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to, but I survived, so that’s a good thing. An Airman in BDUs met me at baggage claim and took me to Keesler AFB. I don’t remember much about the ride, but the Airman talked way too much. He talked about all sorts of activities unique to Keesler and how tech school was so much more fun than basic. He even said there were nicknames for different groups of people.
You’re a poptart, right?
A poptart! Admin…you guys are in and out of here in six weeks–in and out like a poptart. Get it?
Then you have the dinosaurs.
Uuuh, let me guess. ATC?
Yep, how’d you know?
I was supposed to start the Air Traffic Controllers class a few days ago.
Oh, sorry chica. Well, at least you’ll get to party with us until you PCS. Oh, by the way, they weren’t expecting you until next week, so you’ll just be hanging out and serving as temporary dorm guard until your school starts in a week.
The chatty Airman was right. They had no idea what to do with me for the next week. I was starting to see a pattern here. The week flew by. I met my new roommate, and just like that, my new life in Mississippi began with the sound of reveille.