April 30, 2014

He's Becoming A Marine #USMC

It is finally happening, my son is becoming a Marine
OMG my son's becoming a Marine
Six weeks ago, on March 17th, I watched my son swear into the United States Marine Corps.  His original ship date was April 7th, which I moaned about as it would mess up my anniversary plans.  Well someone somewhere must have read my blog because on Friday, March 7th he received a call that he could move up his ship date if he'd change his MOS (job).  Originally he was slated to go into Transportation, now he's going to be a Combat Engineer which basically means to gets to either build stuff or blow it up!.
Ten days notice that he was leaving put us into a tail spin.  As you can imagine he wanted to see as many friends as possible before he left.  That included driving out to Alabama so he could say goodbye to his sister, which gave me 14 hours of one on one time during the ride.  It was a very busy and very emotional week.  
The day he left was rainy and gloomy ~ quite appropriate I thought.  Watching him swear in was truly a bittersweet moment, I don't know if I've ever been so proud and scared at the same time.  One of our dear friends spent the day with us and secretly recorded the ceremony (shh don't tell anyone).  We realized that day how very different Boot Camp, pardon me Marine Recruit Training, is from the other branches.  That day we watched recruits leave for the Air Force, Army and Navy.  The recruits were carrying duffle bags, back packs,and even cell phones. Then the Marine recruits left and all they were carrying were their orders.  The only things they brought with them were their IDs, SS card, and $20 for dinner that night.  
Before your recruit leaves their recruiter gives you an overview of what to expect during the next 13 weeks. That's right 13 weeks of fun! Unlike the other branches which are 10 weeks, except for the Air Force which is 6 weeks.  During that time they will not have any access whatsoever to phones or social media; again unlike other branches. They rely on letters from friends and family for encouragement and support.  They make one phone call upon arrival, this isn't a chit-chat phone call as they read from a card and hang-up when done.  We almost missed our call as it came from a blocked number which we normally don't answer.
I was hoping they'd be allowed to call home for Easter but that didn't happen.  We have been getting letters from him, of course not nearly as often (daily) as I'd like.  We're so fortunate that friends have been writing him.  Special shout-out to Kathy who had her entire second grade class write him; he said they asked some pretty strange questions.  Not being able to send care packages is killing me but the recruiter strongly warned against that.  Even if I send enough for everyone (which of course I would) they'd be allowed to enjoy the treat then they'd have to do extra sit-ups or whatever and no recruit wants to be responsible for that!
Now we're in count-down mode to graduation on June 13th.  I can't wait to see how he's changed both inside and out.  We'll have him home for 10 days then he and everyone else that graduated has 9 weeks of Marine Combat training before they start their MOS schooling, both in North Carolina.  All I know is that he'll be stateside through the holidays :)
Mother's Day is around the corner and I'm going to hope against hope that maybe they'll let them call home!!
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