I remember walking down the hall of the 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force Base with Eric. Eric was a Space Wing officer who was moving to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Eric turned to the Good Chaplain and said, “I’ll see you when you all get to Vandenberg.” What? Did he know something we did not know?
While I’m sure Eric had wishful thinking, it turned out he was right. Rumors floated around the Good Chaplain would get a deputy wing chaplain slot since he made major. Higher ups were putting in suggestions that he should stay with Space Command. But at the time Eric left, we did not know any of this. Many times before Minot and since, we heard speculation about where we were moving. But they were just rumors. They never came to pass. So I laughed off Eric’s comment.
A few months later, the Good Chaplain received orders as the deputy wing chaplain at Vandenberg. Did Eric know ahead of time?
Vandenberg is on the California Central Coast, we were excited anyway. I did not want my girls to go to high school in California, but it turned out to be a good experience for them.
Missiles are tested at Vandenberg. We knew we would see some of our friends from Minot on occasion. And, of course, we would make new friends.
It did not hurt that we knew the mission before getting there as well. Another perk was the Good Chaplain had family in the area. This would be a good move.
Of course, the move had its downside too. I quit my job at the paper. That made me sad. We left friends who were not part of the Space Command. We would be much farther from immediate family, although still closer than Alaska.
All moves are bittersweet, but I look forward to the new experience instead of dwelling on the past. When God and the Air Force say go, we go into a new frontier of unknowns with a smile on our face.
Next up: Our first missile launch