Looking back over these past weeks of SWIFT, it has probably been one of the best leadership and academic training evolutions I have been part of. Not only have I gained eight more friends, but I have also been able to meet numerous people and got to see the impact these storms have on their lives. The highlight of SWIFT for me was the clean-up we did in Beaver Crossing. Seeing the damage and being able to help out with the clean-up was refreshing. Although I was limited in how much I could do, being able to give back was something we all needed after chasing that specific tornado. It’s one of the hardest things when you realize that the same storm you were rooting for was wreaking havoc in someone else’s life. Not only did this help our morale in giving back, but was also humbling for us as future leaders. Someday there could be numerous people under our command who will have family experiencing that devastation and from SWIFT we have been able to more directly learn the impact of these super-cells.
From a leadership perspective, the highlight of my trip was the 11 May tornado that we were chasing. That day I learned a lot more about myself than I realized I was going to. Being head of logistics, I was doing pretty great on my job of giving time sensitive directions. However, when things went absolutely wrong and we got stuck in the mud, everything could have gone downhill quickly. I was quick to try and fix the problem of us being stuck and I did it the whole time with a smile on my face. This situation made me realize that no matter what happens at the academy and no matter how cynical it seems to make me, when facing adversity, my natural optimism takes over. One of the best things a person can learn is about themself. The ability to know your weaknesses and strengths is one of the best tools an officer can own. I can definitely say that I have come to know myself a lot better than I did before.
On the weather side of things, I have augmented my knowledge to no end and I want to learn more. It’s easy to get burnt out on academics after 15 straight years of school, but now I’m excited to learn more. With the knowledge I have learned about severe weather and tornados, I now feel comfortable with talking to my family on what to expect weather wise. I have also become more fluid and knowledgeable when giving weather discussions and answering basic questions. I still have a lot more to learn and am excited about learning it. That is powerful in, and of, itself.
“No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”
Over and out,
“Rear Flank” Rebecca