Meridian Star

October 19, 2013

Flying in their suits

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Normally, if you want to experience the same things someone is going through you think of walking in their shoes. But in the three dimensional world of flying, you must fly in their flight suits.

    Spouses of student aviators at NAS Meridian were able to do just that Friday during the annual Spouse's Day. The day's events were sponsored by Training Squadron 9 of Training Air Wing One. Sheree "Vincenza" Krause, whose husband Garrett "Vinnie" Krause is the commander of VT-9, is the president of the VT-9 Spouse's Club. She said having these kinds of events are important because they give the spouses a unique look into the daily jobs their husbands, and in some cases their wives, have.

    "The spouses get an insight into what goes on," Krause said. "The Navy knows how important it is for spouses and families to support the aviators and these events help the spouses understand what it takes to become a Navy or Marine Corps aviator."

    Any chance to get an inside look into the daily routines of someone who flies is a special treat for many of the spouses.

    "This is the first time I've ever seen him do touch and goes," said Heidi Siersma, whose husband, Navy Ensign Richard Siersma was zooming past her barely 30 feet away. "This is so awesome."

    In addition to being able to virtually stand right next to the runway as the spouses kept circling around to do the touch and goes under the watchful eyes of landing signal officers, the women were able to earlier in the morning try their hand at the flight simulator, tour the control tower, hang from a parachute, and put on all the gear their spouses must wear.

    Rachel Hunt is the wife of Lt. Robert Hunt, a Royal Navy AV8B Harrier aviator who is the first British Navy aviator to be invited to NAS Meridian as an instructor. She said his job is so difficult, so demanding that it does come first.

    "I'm extremely proud of him," Rachel Hunt said. "It is really awesome that he is an aviator and we get to travel to meet all these great people. But the job is the main reason and for these aviators to do what they do each and every day is fantastic and requires a great deal of dedication."

    Krause said the Spouses Club contributes to the community in projects like Merrehope Tree, The Wesley House, and The Angel Tree Foundation. But Friday it was about the experience their spouses go through.

    "My husband goes out to qualify on the carrier next week," said Amanda LeFere as she watched her husband's jet roar past. "I think I'm actually more nervous about that than he is."