A year ago this month my youngest son left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and started 13 weeks of the most challenging accomplishments anyone can face. Becoming and earning the right to be come a U.S. Marine. At the
Across the parade deck hundreds of new Marines march in their platoons as the last maneuver they will complete before leaving MCRD full fledged Marines. The Marine Band plays to open the ceremony, the chaplain leads every one in prayer and then the parade of dress blues begin. This is my second Marine graduation, my oldest is also a Marine, but the tears of pride still flow just as fast and my hands shake as I hold the camera.
Marine Corps Graduation, San Diego CA
Marine Corp Chaplain leading off the graduation
MCRD, India Company, Platoon 3213, October 7, 2011 (son 6th from right)
My New US Marine, November 2011
Since graduation my new Marine has attended MCT (Marine Combat Training) in Pendleton CA, Corrections training in San Antonio TX, and is now back at Pendleton as his permanent duty station. Congratulations to my newest U.S. Marine, he makes me proud.
I found this draft sitting in my WordPress folder.In evaluating my stats in WordPress my US Marine Corps postings represent 20% of views. Very popular topic, but considering every parent of a new Marine searches the internet for every scrap of information they can find to learn more about the journey ahead, I can understand.
After thirteen weeks of intensive training Marine recruits see their families for the first time the day before graduation on Family Day. Up until then there are no phone calls, no emails, no Facebook, nothing. They are totally immersed in concentrated training and focused on the task. In this day of instant communication it is definitely a culture shock not only for the recruits but the families who are used to being in touch with their kids at all times.
MCRD Family Day Moto Run, Formation
Boot Camp, Liberty Formation
My youngest son had a different experience in boot camp. He left right after high school, and experienced more homesickness than his older brother who had been in college for two years prior. My new Marine was craving food of all types and during his five hour liberty on Thursday he ate continuously.
All we could do was watch in amazement as two bags of homemade treats, beef jerky, oreo balls, “Memaws “(bran) muffins, swedish fish, pringles, cheeseburger, ice cream disappeared AFTER a full buffet lunch. Since Marines cannot eat and walk in uniform at the same time there was a lot of stopping to snack.
New Marine at MCRD San Diego
Open the Feed Bag for a new Marine
On this Veterans Day I wish to salute my sons who have chosen to serve their country in the United States Marine Corps. I know the Marines seem to be the proudest, and the Mom’s are just as bad. But there is a reason why they are called The Few, the Proud, The Marines.
They are the only branch of the service that once you go through Marine boot camp you can transfer to any other branch without going through boot, or basic again. But every other service man wanting to transfer into the Marines must go through Marine boot camp. They train the hardest and the longest of any other branch. Thirteen weeks, followed by four weeks of Marine Combat School (MCT)
From boot camp, to their uniforms, Marines are disciplined to pay attention to detail. Everything has a purpose, not that you are supposed to understand that purpose, but there is a trust in every command, every directive, that there is a greater purpose in mind. Here are a few pictures taken during my youngest son’s leave from boot camp in October.
He received the Expert Rifleman award, the highest marksmanship award given in boot camp. It is pined exactly an 1/8 of an inch above the left pocket. If you don’t have a ruler in your kit the width of two nickels will do.
Attention to Dress Blue Details
Marine Rifle Expert Pin
US Marine Dress Cover
In honor of my two US Marine sons, a great big 236th birthday wish to the United States Marine Corps.
I am very proud of them both. This picture was taken at my youngest son’s Marine boot camp graduation at MCRD San Diego California this past October. His brother received weekend leave from his permanent duty station to attend. It was great to have them together.
I have only gotten to see my youngest son in his dress blues and like any good Mom I was beaming with pride. Who can resist a Marine in his dress blues? He had the opportunity to wear them to his high school during a recruiting visit to his alma mater Elmwood-Murdock High school.
Two U.S.Marines and a Sister
USMC Dress Blues, the fitting
First time wearing his Marine Corps dress blues
In honor of those veterans who have served and our current servicemen and women. Just two words,…”Thank you.”
Iwo Jima Marine Memorial
Marine Teaching Recruit to Square Uniform
Didn’t know it would be the United States Marine Corp that would teach my sons to iron, but a squared away uniform is a sense of pride in the Corps. My oldest son gave his recruit brother a lesson and tips on ironing his uniform and squaring his cover during his latest leave. (home for his brothers high school graduation)
Unsquared Marine Cover
As a birthday/graduation present he gave his brother a wore out set of his Marpat desert cammies to wear at a big airsoft game, Oklahoma Invasion 6, coming up Memorial Day weekend. Out of the suitcase it looked a bit crumbled. There was no way a Marine would be caught with a cover like this. Before this cover could be worn it needed to be squared away, Marine style. No starch, but water, paper towels, steam, high heat, and cardboard stays would have to do for now.
Marine Recruit Squaring a Cove
Never thought I’d ever see this, a photo opportunity if I ever saw one. The process took an hour, with lessons given on tips and tricks of a great squared away Marine uniform. I overhead Army uniforms are “garbage” and how to properly wear your cover. “It’s not a hat, don’t pull it down on your head, you’ll look like a tool”
Squared Away US Marine Corps Cover
Looks better doesn’t it? Sleeve rolling was next, but I left the boys to bond and discuss uniform care. It’s a big part of boot camp, the beginning of teaching attention to detail and discipline. If they pay this much attention to just their uniforms imagine what is required in the other aspects of mission training. No wonder the United States Marine Corps is the best fighting force in the world.
USMC Recruit Family Night
In just a little under four months I will have two sons in the United States Marines. My youngest, a high school senior, is in the delayed entry program and got a little taste of Marine boot camp during last week during Family night for the Lincoln Nebraska recruiting station. A visiting drill instructor from San Diego put them through their paces and had them sounding off like grunts in no time.
My youngest son leaves for boot camp in July. He’s the one on the far right with red tape on his arm (gave blood at school earlier in the day, his 7th pint) For a better understanding of what they went through in ten minutes here is a short video below, might want to turn your volume down for this.
Day 50: Find the Marine
Can you find my Marine son in this picture? It’s as if he’s playing hide and seek. Now I can see why US Marines do not wear their cammies, ACU’s, or uniforms in public. They would stand out, and the purpose of camouflage is to hide and fit in with your environment. The official regulations on wearing uniforms at certain times is very strict in the Marine Corps and much too long to describe here. Since Nathan is strongly apposed to wearing it, I’m sure there are good reasons.
There is quite a bit of uniform envy around, if you can call it that, on both sides of the fence, with some very heated opinions on the pro and con. If you’re interested you can read more on the Terminal Lance forum. Terminal Lance also has a pretty funny Marine comic site that both my sons love to read.
Day 50: My son the Marine
We had quite the day, arrived at the Omaha Epply Airport early at 8:00 am just to find out we were six hours too early. So I got some extra quality one-on-one time with my son that we didn’t get during his leave.
The only thing I regretted was not being able to sleep late and wash my hair in the shower this morning. To make it up he paid for my breakfast, blueberry pancakes, went shopping, and ran some errands in Omaha. Lunch at Arby’s, again his treat.
Yup, I had a good day.
Day 49: Can I have my bed back?
As my son packed to go back to the U.S. Marine Base in Yuma AZ, the bed gradually became visible. I can finally see the covers and it was amazing how everything fit. Only the important electronics, change of clothes, a very heavy suitcase, and backpack remained.
Brody even found enough room to curl up without Nathan catching him. It’s an “off the bed” policy when Nathan is home and Brody knows it. You can almost see the guilty, you caught me look in his face. It’s ok Brody, you can sleep with me and keep my feet warm. I may even give you a treat.
Day 35: Homecoming
My Marine son comes home on leave. (any ideas which one he is?) First thing he said to his poolie brother, “Where is your regulation hair?” If their smiles were any indication they were pretty excited to see each other.
This visit is bittersweet, yes it’s soon enough after Christmas that the tree is still up and I get another Christmas with cinnamon rolls tomorrow night. But, I have to fly out to Connecticut to my Mothers hospital bed on Thursday. She had a severe stroke and difficult choices will be made this week that will affect many lives. So, if you don’t see postings for a week that’s where I will be, prayers for peace and guidance is needed.