Lots of times we end up riding with someone who has a connection to Wisconsin, the state where my custodians live. That's how Flag Sr. ended up on Air Force 2, how Missy got to fly in the Apache helicopters, and how I got to fly with the Growler.
I got to fly with a really fun pilot for almost all of the COVID lock down while he was flying the EA-18G Growler. It's a lot like an F/A-18 Super Hornet but with lots of specialized features. I had many, many adventures with him. The Growler is a very sophisticated air plane.
To start with, he was a test pilot. Yup, I got to fly with a test pilot. We were stationed on the East Coast of the United States and got to fly a lot and go out and land on an air craft carrier. We were part of the Salty Dogs at that point.
Later we moved to Washington state and became part of the Black Ravens. The military breaks people up into different groups. They usually have some kind of designation that has a lot of history going back years and years. They have fun with the names and make all kinds of fun patches and things to go with the name. I brought some home with me to remind me of the flights. I got a special patch because just before I was going to come home we had an opportunity to fly all the way to the Far East on a mission. I was really glad I hadn't left yet. We got to refuel by lining up with the big airplanes and then they used hoses to get more fuel into our plane. We had to do that more than once to do all the flying we were doing. It was really exciting.