On Thursday (Jan. 6) I went up to my base, Edwards Air Force Base, for the first time. Edwards is the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), where all of the new planes are tested before being rolled out to the rest of the Air Force. It is up near Lancaster and it's actually out of Los Angeles county (I think it is in Mojave county). The reason the base is located there is that it is incredibly and unrelentingly flat. There is no topography to speak of. Which means that there is no real limit on the length of the runways. That comes in handy when you're testing out new planes, I suppose.
The picture below is an aerial shot of a cool spot just when you get on the base. There is a flight tower and a bunch of different models of fighter jets. I think they are scaled-down replicas, but they may be the real thing. (I didn't have time to stop and check this out, but I saw it as I drove by.)
While at the base I met with my commanding officer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he went to Harvard Law School with President Obama. He gave me some tips and introduced me to the rest of the JAG unit, including a number of relatively new JAGs who went through COT in the last couple of years. I had lunch with three of them at the golf course on base and they gave me the skinny on COT, filling me in on everything from how to best take care of my laundry (I had no idea that you can buy a box of things that are detergent and dryer sheets in one) to how to approach the tests we'll be taking (their advice: don't overthink things) during COT. It was great to be able to meet these guys before heading out to COT, as I'm sure their advice will come in handy very shortly.
(And a word about that golf course. It's not Pebble Beach, but yes, there is a golf course on base. I figured that out early in my visit, when I stopped at the security gate at 8:30 a.m. There was a foursome of four older gentlemen already there, waiting to get their security passes. It reminded me why I decided to join the Air Force. I don't think they have golf courses on Marine bases.)
From there I took care of some basics, like getting my military ID and hitting the Base Exchange (BX) for some of those fancy detergent/dryer sheets and other essentials. Great thing about shopping on base is that there is no sales tax!
On my way home I snapped the picture below (yes, I did it while driving). There is a huge dry lake right at the entrance to Edwards. I suppose that dry when used in the phrase dry lake doesn't mean not wet; it must just mean shallow, because there was definitely water there. And the way it was reflecting the setting sun and clouds was, I thought, pretty cool. It seemed to really reflect the stark beauty of the area.
|No waterskiing allowed|