Chapter One: Becoming a Marine

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For all my teachers,

not just the ones at flight school

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul." ~Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

Author's note:

I wrote this primarily for my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, great-great-great... well, you get my drift.

Having not yet completed my service to the United States Marine Corps, I thought it would be a bit presumptuous to pen my memoirs. That said, my family and friends have always enjoyed hearing my flight stories. So, I dug out some of my old journals and decided that I'd give an accounting of my flight school adventures.

This is by no means representative of everyone's time in Naval Flight School-this was just my personal experience and point of view on things.

So, if you'd like to find out how a Utah girl who'd never given any thought to becoming a pilot before, much less touched the controls of the plane, ended up earning her wings of gold, read on.

Semper Fly,

Janine K. Spendlove

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The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.~ Old pilot saying

From my journal, dated 3 March 2002

On Monday something crazy happened. We were flying our Form Solo. I was "lead" so I named our flight "Vader" flight, cool eh? So anyway I was flying us out to the area (2F) & as soon as I leveled us off @ 6500ft I noticed my oil pressure was dropping. This is bad because if it drops too low your propeller will feather & your plane becomes a glider-basically your engine is worthless.

I stayed calm & let my flight instructor know about my problem. The instructor in the chase plane sent my wing home & followed me down & made my radio calls for me while I executed my emergency landing at Brewton field. My landing was ugly-but I was nervous. I didn't break anything & I'm alive.

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"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."~Unknown

Chapter One: Becoming a Marine

I'm not embarrassed to admit that I decided to give flying a shot because of a cute boy. He was going to Naval Flight School, and if I wanted to be near him and give this relationship a real chance, well....

The good news is I fell in love twice: first with the cute boy (we married in February 2001), and then with flying.

I grew up in Saint George, Utah, the second oldest in a mixed family of five kids (I had two brothers and two step-sisters). There was never any differentiation between step-kids-we were all siblings. Dysfunctional was functional for us, and speaking solely for myself, I can honestly say I had a good childhood.

Let's see, Utah, big family, oh, and I attended Brigham Young University (BYU). I'm pretty sure that by now you've figured out that I'm a Mormon. Not that these things necessarily mandate that, but in this case, yes, I do fit the "profile" as it were. I was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), and am a practicing member to this day. Why do I bring that up? Because my faith and beliefs are integral to who I am today, and how I came to be not just a pilot, but a United States Marine.

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