I go to the air force academy in colorado, and I'm just about to finish my first and hardest year. Here are some pictures from the last year. This picture is actually from thanksgiving, but I like is so it's going up anyway.
First deer of the year, my dad got it. Left to right: Dad, Jonathan, Me, Uncle Michael.
I can't remember what my dad had just said, but it was crazy. My mom's expert camera skillz caught the moment well I think, despite our crappy camera catching all the glare.
One of my roomates, Jeremy, has fallen asleep in his chair. Not an abnormal occurance for anyone, but I think it's funny that he's still clicking the mouse.
This one takes a bit of explaining. My good friend of 10 years, Fallon (who is currently becoming more than just a friend), is very interested in coming to the academy. She visited over her spring break and took a tour with her dad. Her dad goes on a seperate tour of the dorms and, lo and behold, what room do they pass? Mine. After a thorough inspection of my room, he asked the guy across the hall to tell me that Bob Bowers said hello. So J.P. leaves me a note on my desk as Mr. Bob wished, although slightly misspelling his last name. Later on Fallon's dad returns to my room, and corrects his name, as well as adding a more personal greeting.
100's night is the annual event that marks when the Seniors have 100 days until graduation. It is also when they get their base assignments. It is tradition for the freshmen to decorate the rooms of the seniors and are put at rest (meaning we're free to roam and are loosed from procedure) while the seniors are out drinking and partying. Here's me and Nick, my ex-roommate and pal, nearing completion of a room filled with chairs...that have been ziptied together like the devil.
This one also requires an explaination. Recognition is the culminating training event for the freshmen. Because of its huge importance, the 40 days leading up to recognition are a time for the freshmen from each of the 40 squadrons to do something special on their corresponding day. These "spirit missions" usually take the form of a squadron themed construction (or destruction) with the purpose of building esprit de corps and having fun at the same time. Needless to say Mach One (doing something when there is 1 day until recognition) had to pull off something huge (we Are #1 after all). Here is the result:
A 40ft tall gorilla looking down on the morning formation hit it off fairly well. We even had some fun doing it too. Go figure.
Me and my other roommate, Sean, mentally preparing ourselves about 15 minutes before recognition.
Well, no matter how cool we tried to act, they got the best of us. Here are some unsorted pictures from the three days of hell. I'm in most of them.
For some reason they lined us up facing the way for about 10 minutes in silence before the hard stuff started. I'm thinking it was some sort of mind game.
These, among others, are the people who tried to kill us.
Nick is on the right.
Squats and wall sits are my nemesis...
Nick is in the corner on the left nearest the camera.
That's me being carried in front. Why did I get the guy that weighed 20 lbs more than me???
A reflective moment that is meant to help internalize the values we say with our lips.
This pic was taken at about 5 am.
We spouted off memorized quotes and airplane payloads while we exercised. You'd be surprised how much your memory suffers when your body is exhausted.
I wasn't sure whether or not to post this picture. While it is true that I am very weak in this one, I must point out that I had been holding it for about 4 or 5 minutes, and also the picture caught me and just the right moment of trying to yell while struggling to look really painful.
Side by side with Jeremy.
This one is from the last day, when we were most beaten but also most determined. I think you can tell the difference by the look on our faces. By this time we had adopted a "bring it on" mentality.
One of the last things that is done are the "theme rooms". These are a mental journey through your supposed career and show you and let you live events that could happen to force you to think about what could happen to you.
Here, a group of young officers and pilots fill out a fake Will in preparation for a dangerous mission over Iraq.
You are forced to eject from your simulated cockpit and you are shown the fiery demise of your plane.
You are then captured, and forced to watch the execution of one of your comrades.
The experience is wrapped up with a fake but very well done vision of your own funeral. They researched everything they could about you to make it real as possible. Your wife was there, which they used the name of your girlfriend for. They showed actual photos from your life gathered from websites like facebook and myspace, and a very informed epitaph describing your death in the hands of the enemy. They didn't take any pictures of this room.
Well, after it was all over, we received our 'prop and wings', the insignia worn on the flight caps of upper****cadets, and we were recognized into the wing. I can not possibly describe the feeling of the upper ****s saluting you as you pass down the hallway toward your commander who greets you with a firm handshake and "job well done".
The Sunday after recognition, me and Nick took a trip to garden of the gods. It's a shame that I only had the crappy camera that is in my phone, because the scenery is unbelievable.
You can't really tell in these photos, but there is a couple climbing in that crevace.
Nick watching the people on the trail far below.
It was too tempting...
I guess it was too tempting for Nick too. It's hard to tell, but there's a pretty nasty drop off.
WOOHOO!!! SPRING BREAK!!!
Nick decided he wanted to join me in Memphis TN for spring break. I'm really dissappointed with the lack of pictures that were taken during this amazing time. The last week was one of the best times in my life. I guess before I say anything about last week, I have to recap from Christmas break. I know this girl named Fallon, and she's been a friend of mine and my brother for over 10 years.
We've always just been friends, but starting about thanksgiving last year, things began to change a little. I thought about it and when I got back for christmas, me and her went out on a date for dinner and a movie. Nobody called it what it was, but looking back it was still a date. The last night of christmas break, I went over to her place and we watched a movie. My flight left at 550 the next morning, so it was highly suggested that I be home no later than 11. That night we talked a long time and eventually all the walls came down. At 3am I kissed her for the first time on that couch. By this time the late night programing was on tv, so we hugged and kissed on the couch while temperpedic mattress commercials repeated endlessly. I should have left hours before, but it was still almost impossible to leave. So...as you can imagine I had been looking forward to spring break alot...a whole lot. I arrived in town Friday, and I spent that night settling in and spending time with my family. Nick arrived the next morning, which was also Fallon's birthday, so we went and picked him up and spent the afternoon showing him everything. Fallon's party was that night, and we were some of the first to arrive. Our first meeting since Christmas was a little awkward, but friendly. I never got to talk to her 1 on 1 that night, but just seeing her again was enough. The next night, Jonathan, Nick, Fallon, and me all went to a Skillet (a rock band) concert. We had bought the tickets months in advance and were all looking forward to it since they are one of our favorite bands. The music was great, and the concert was awesome, but on the ride home Jonathan drove, we shared the back seat and could finally catch up on three months of missing each other. Since it wasn't her spring break, she had school during the day and homework at night all weekend. The only time I got to see her that week was when we met at starbucks when she had a little extra time after school. She goes to a private catholic that requires uniforms, so of course me and Nick were obligated to give her a hard time about it.
Nick was trying to get her to curtsy, but standing up and an evil eye was all he could get.
I hugged her goodnight and continued on to see the movie "shooter" (which was pretty good, action packed, and fun to watch) but later on I beat myself up (figuratively) for not kissing her there in the parking lot. We went fishing with my dad on thursday. We all got sunburned because of the brutal sun on the water, and we went swimming in the freezing cold water. I mean, this stuff was arctic. I'm pretty sure we would have died if we stayed in longer than we did. We caught alot of fish, including three ~25 lbs buffalo fish, one for each of the boys. We threw most back, but we kept a few striped bass that my family is probably enjoying tonight or tomorrow night.
Friday night was fun. We decided to go to Beale Street downtown to show Nick what Memphis is all about. Nick, Jon, and I picked up Fallon around 6, and spent a good half hour convincing her mother that we would stay out of trouble. We also picked up one of Fallon's friends, and set off. We ate at the BB King blues cafe. The food was great and live entertainment was everything you would expect. To the upbeat songs all of us would go on the dancefloor and dance and laugh at each other's rediculous moves. We sat down and talked about stuff, and laughed as Nick and Caroline (Fallon's friend) playfully argrued about everything under the sun. Then a slow song came on, and I asked Fallon to dance. I'm not a good dancer, but this time everything clicked. It was a really great time and unforgettable memory.
When we went to drop Fallon and Caroline (who was spending the night) off, her mom had just left to pick up her dad at the airport. This gave us about an hour at Fallon's house because we weren't supposed to be there. Me and her managed to sneak out and take a walk in her backyard, which is filled with trees until you get to this grassy hill near the edge of the property. We walked and talked through the trees and eventually wound up sitting on the grassy hill, which led to laying on the hill, which led to stargazing, which led to hugging and kissing. Eventually, we had to leave before her parents returned. Nick laughed at me as we walked to the car and he picked leaves off my jacket. Nick left the next morning so he could see his mom a day before returning. That day me and Jonathan went to Fallons volleyball tournament. Her mom was taking pictures and I saw just in time to not look normal for the picture.
They went on to win their division, so it was a happy time. Here are some pics from the game. Fallon is 17.
Since this was to be my last night at home, it was my intention to take Fallon out on a date. But it rained that day, hard. So hard nobody wanted to drive in the flood outside. So we changed plans and Fallon came over my house to watch a movie and other stuff with me and Jonathan. We also invited our good friend Andy to stop by after work. We went back to our house after renting the movie (Stranger than fiction, something I had been wanting to see for a long time) and played guitar hero for a little bit, but gave up when our favorite songs were ruined by our lack of skill lol. Then we put on the movie. The two sofas we have are arranged in an L shape, and Jon sat on the arm nearest the tv, and me and Fallon sat on the side slightly further and behind Jonathan. Soon we were hugging and kissing on the couch. I missed parts of the movie, but that's ok. Some things are a little too personal to type, but let me say that this time was the best time in my life and my sweetest memory. Soon after the movie ended, Andy showed up and we entertained ourselves with Madlibs (if you don't know what that is you're missing out). I got a call from my mom asking me to pick up my 12 year old sister Christin and her two friends about a block away. Since the house had been robbed of it's peacefullness by three preteen girls, we all took a walk down to the pier that stretches out over our lake. The four of us sat on the bench and talked about the good old days when we were all 10 years old. About this time Fallon's cell rang. She informed us sadly that she had to be home by 12. Seeing that it was 1130, I asked if she wanted to go on a walk. Jonathan and Andy got the hint and stayed behind. We walked up to the front porch swing and sat down. I put my arm around her and we talked about stuff. In those last 30 minutes before she left, the last time I would see her. I said things I have no idea how I had the courage to say, but if I didn't say them I would have regretted it. We were slightly interupted by my sister and her friends when they came running around the corner of the house. Their words were something to the effect of: "Oh there are people over...oh my gawd!" They ran back the way they came and we could help but laugh a bit. At ten till 12 I walked her to her car. We stood and just looked at each other, unable to say goodbye. I finally leaned in slightly and we locked lips for a long time. The perfect time for mom and dad to get back. We heard the car coming over the hill, and soon we were engulfed in headlights. They pulled up and my dad rolled the window down. "We didn't interupt your romantic moment did we?" "Not at all." I said. I don't think they got the sarcasm I intended. I gave Fallon one last hug and whispered goodbye in her ear. I walked slowly back to the pier, turning and watching as she drove away. Jonathan and Andy were still there, and we talked until it was time for Andy to leave. That night was pretty much perfect. I wish I could relive it. One last thing now that my romantic blurb is over, Nick got to play a little bit of HL2DM (my game of ownage) while he was here.
I didn't get to change my game name, so "I" got owned on my clan server....oh well. This prompted Jonathan to try it, (also without changing the name) and he thoroughly enjoyed it alot. My brother took some low quality videos on his cell from fishing, the concert, beale street dancing, and other stuff. I'm going to try to get those and show you all.