|Big Time in "The Jet"|
That's him, in the cockpit, his anonymity preserved by his visor and oxygen mask.
Big Time, for the uninitiated, is a Naval Aviator, a proud wearer of the Wings of Gold. He flies the F/A-18E Super Hornet, also known as the "Rhino".
He's also a pretty nice kid, a good husband and a great Dad.
I remember the first time CINCHOUSE and I met Big Time. We were headed down to Virginia to attend the WSO's patching ceremony. The trip did not start out on a high note.
Upon arrival at TF Green, we learned that our flight to Norfolk had been cancelled. Wonderful. And the first clerk we encountered at the ticket counter was one of those "hey, I just work here, don't complain to me" types. She said she could get us on a flight tomorrow, would that be okay? Uh, no. We need to get there tonight. As in today, as in what about later flights. That's when we got the shoulder shrug and the obvious cue to P-Off. Yeah, that's great. I looked at the Missus and wondered, "Now what?"
It was then that I heard the lady at the next counter actually helping a customer. What the heck, we slid on over to her kiosk. Her first words were "Sir, you need to get in line." I explained, somewhat patiently, that we had waited in line and that her colleague had been, shall we say, less than helpful.
So this marvelous young lady actually started checking things out for us. On the phone, on the computer, she was incredible. Before you could recite the preamble to the Constitution, I heard, "I can get you into Newport News tonight, if that's alright?" Yes. Yes. Yes. That is more than alright.
Of course, the WSO was going to pick us up at the airport. And Newport News is "just a bit" further from Chez WSO than Norfolk. Grumbling sotto voce, she said she'd pick us up at Newport News. And that her new boyfriend would be coming along as he wanted to meet us.
The point of this portion of my tale is that the WSO and her boyfriend were like an hour late picking us up. After introducing her boyfriend (later to be known as Big Time), the WSO commented that her man was somewhat concerned as to what her parents might think as they were an hour late to the airport. I believe I might have made a somewhat risque comment at that point. CINCHOUSE glared at me, the WSO guffawed and the boyfriend turned a rather pleasing shade of red. But we had, shall we say "bonded".
Back at home, the Missus commented that she thought the new guy was a bit cocky and arrogant.
"Uh, honey, he's a fighter pilot. They're kinda built that way."
She didn't see the point, but oh well. I thought he acted like a fighter pilot, nothing more, nothing less.
At any rate, this was quite a while ago. Right now Big Time is deployed, somewhere out towards "Bad Guy Country". While texting with him the other day, WSO mentioned that she'd run into her old boyfriend. Did it bother him?
Um, no, not really. Seems that her old boyfriend is also a Naval Aviator, but the (gasp) rotary wing type. You know, helos, things that don't "go fast".
So Big Time (fixed wing, go fast, kind-of-guy that he is) couldn't fathom being, ahem, jealous of a rotor-head. Oh, and did I mention that Big Time is cocky?
So he told his wife (the WSO) from miles away in some foreign land, "Why should I be jealous of someone else? You've got me. Who could top that?" Or words to that effect.
Oh, he is such a fighter pilot!