In March, I had the experience of a lifetime! My husband, Casey, who is in the Air Force, and I had a chance to visit Williamsburg, Va., (home of Kingsmill Resort & Spa and site of the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill) to tour some of the area's military bases.
Before I share all we got to see and do, I want to extend a big thank you to LCDR Colin Xander, as well as the staff at Kingsmill Resort & Spa for an amazing week. You definitely knew someone in the military was in charge as we were on-time for everything and everyone was where they needed to be. Also, I want to thank all of the crew on the bases who took time out to show us around and who daily defend the freedoms we take for granted in America. You all are incredible!
Our first day in Williamsburg - March 3 - we got a private tour of the George H.W. Bush. Casey and I had actually just watched a special on the carrier the week prior on the Discovery Channel, so to be able to see it first-hand was neat! It's taken seven years to build the carrier and they haven't even taken it out to sea, yet! It's like a floating city. We were told how a typical day at sea would go for the crew and it really helped us realize just how much of a team effort it is to keep everything running. The George H.W. Bush includes has a 60-bed hospital, two gyms and can accommodate a crew of 5,000 when out to sea. You can tell how cohesive they all are - everyone understands their roles and the tasks at hand. The sheer size of the carrier is unbelievable, as we only saw about 10 percent of the ship during our two-hour tour.
After touring the carrier, we went to Cypress Creek Golf Course for a golf demonstration. Despite the 32-degree weather and snow on the ground, we still had a nice crowd come out and they had set up a matt for me to hit balls off of.
The next day, we visited the Sunliners - the F-18 squadron stationed at the Naval Air Station Oceana. Some of the pilots gave us an overview of how they land on the carrier and their day-to-day tasks. We were able to visit the hangar to see the planes and sit in a cockpit. Then, they took me to the simulator - it seemed like there were a million buttons and levers and switches! With the instructor's help, I was able to land at an airport OK. Unfortunately, I wasn't as successful trying to land on the ship. They even let Casey try it and he got in and landed on a ship at night, no problems. I guess that's good considering he's in the Air Force and does it for a living!
Oceana Golf Course was next on our itinerary and we were there right on time for a lunch Q&A session. It was so flattering because so many people were so appreciative of me coming out, but it's really the other way around - they all put their lives on the line all the time for all of us in America. Everyone in the Navy seems like such a cohesive group. They're all there to help one another achieve the same goals. Coming from an individual sport, their camaraderie is neat to see. It was such an honor to meet them and I was so happy to be able to come in and hopefully provide some entertainment for a few minutes!
On our third day in, I was able to participate in a best-ball tournament at Kingsmill. Even though the weather was still cool and there was snow on the ground on some parts of the course, we still had a lot of fun with all who showed up. And, the people who won got a free round of golf at Kingsmill Resort & Spa!
On the final day in Virginia, Casey and I got a tour of the Navy SEAL deck at Little Creek Amphibious Base. Casey started talking to a SEAL and a diver - what they do is incredible. They were so nice, but have very dangerous jobs. Again, it gave you chills thinking about more people who sacrifice to protect our country.
We also visited Fort Eustis Army Base and got to meet some of the soldiers who had just come back from Iraq. Then, we toured the transportation museum that showed not only the chronology of how transportation in the military has evolved over time and the role it plays during each conflict. That night, LCDR Xander took us to an Admirals Hockey Game. They let me shoot a puck during one of the breaks. While I am happy to say my puck did hug the ground, it did have a bit of a slice on it. Guess I won't quit my day job …
It was definitely a full week but, as I said earlier, the experience of a lifetime! The schedule we had couldn't have been pulled off any better, which is a true testament to all of the planning LCDR Xander put into the itinerary. Many of the military members and their families come out to watch us at the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill in May, as well as volunteer for the event, so it was an honor to be able to visit them on their 'home course.' At all the bases and all the courses, people came and were excited about the visit and asked questions. They are also looking forward to the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill, which is scheduled for May 7 to 10. I hope I get to see them all in May! Until then, God Bless America!
Topics: Hall, Kim