I joined this site recently because I was trying to find information for basic training. So far, it has been an invaluable piece of information for us. So for that, I am grateful to all that have helped in the site and to all for adding all the awesome content! It definitely makes a families life a little easier knowing where to go for info AND knowing we are not alone in this excursion with our new Sailor!
Here is a little background on our trip to this point in our lives:
My son is off to boot camp in less than a week. We never thought the day would come where he would be leaving for basic training. His dream of being in the military started back in 5th grade when he wanted to be in the Army. His mother tried to get into the military but for various reasons, was unsuccessful - but this led to my son becoming interested in it. His bedroom would be decorated in Camouflage and would wear Camouflage clothes. He was fully intrigued by the military but we thought it would eventually fade over time. But roughly 8 years later, here we are!
For several years, he was insistent on the Army and even though I did everything possible to persuade him to try the Air Force or Navy, he wouldn't budge. It wasn't until the end of his Junior year that he decided the Navy was best for him because his best friend was also going into the Navy. So his vision turned to Navy and it never swayed - he's kind of stubborn like that.
In March, the day after he turned 18 he swore into the Navy and that day changed the rest of his life. He may not know it right now - but he will later on! When he graduated from High School in May, at one point during the celebration they asked that all students going into the military stand to be recognized. Only 6 out of 360+ students stood and these 6 students, including my son, got a standing ovation from the audience, teachers, and their classmates. Later when I asked my son what he enjoyed best about graduation, it was that part saying that it made him proud!
This summer we have been taking it easy and trying to spend time together as a family before he leaves. We had our traditional 4th of July excursion to an amusement park (Cedar Point) as our summer vacation. His best friend, who got him interested in the Navy, graduated last month and we took a day trip to his graduation. It really helped ease his mind a little to see his Buddy go through graduation and was still in one piece (helped me too). What is really cool about my sailor and his best friend is they are both in the same profession and will be going to A-School about the same time. So they will have each other to lean on while there.
The hard part about leaving will be leaving his friends and family. Earlier this week, we had a conversation about delaying his training so he could work on being ready. But the true feeling was that he was getting scared and sad that he was leaving his friends behind. After our chat, he seemed to feel better knowing that we are all here for him, his friends will be here too, and nothing bad will happen to him while at Basic training.
So here we stand, less than one week to go before he starts his new adventure. A dream he has had since he was 10 years old. An adventure we, his friends and family, will all be part of as we watch him proudly as he steps over each hurdle. We never thought the day would get here where he would be leaving MEPS and not coming home. But this time next week, he will be at Great Lakes and on his way to becoming a Sailor!
It's an exciting time here and it's great to have a place to go to share his journey!
Gonna be a big transition for you Edric...don't know if you've seen this, but it captures the range of emotions you will feel:
lest you think you are alone, this was posted by a dad to another member dealing with separation anxiety....
"I know you have seen some encouraging comments from other members, but I wanted to weigh in here too. On 28 January, a month after completing college, my son was sworn in to the Navy DEP. It was a couple of days after that when it hit me....after 23 years of a daily relationship with him everything was about to change! I knew joining the Navy was going to be the absolute best thing for him. But in spite of that, I became very depressed. I had no idea what I was doing but googled Navy support groups. I found this site. I remember posting my first comments.....reluctantly because I thought others would think of me as less of a man.....how depressed I was already at the thought of my son leaving and he was not leaving for boot until 1 May. Well the responses were surprising! All the admins and a number of other members put me at ease when they responded that every dad on this site, if they are honest with themselves, experienced the same thing. I also followed the great advice from the admins to read as much as possible on this site. All of this really helped! But then came the week before he left. I became very upset and just wasn't sure how I was going to cope. It really took some work to get it under control. Then the day came to put him on that plane to Great Lakes. As the tears flowed, it was my son in a bit of a role reversal that said, "dad, it's going to be just fine." Well from that point everything happened just as it was described by the admins and other members on this site from receiving the "kid in a box" to the form letter to the first phone call. The best advice I received after his departure was to write often. I didn't really think my son would care that much because my son has always been very independent and not the "home sick" type. But I found out two things in writing the letters: he loved them and encouraged it and they were very therapeutic for me! In the 7 weeks after I received his address I wrote 16 letters. All typed, no spacing, and not one under 4 pages long! I would never have imagined being able to come up with that much to write about....but you will be surprised. It truly helped the time move along as well. Then believe it or not, PIR was upon us. My son graduated on 28 June. The only thing I can say about PIR is that as it relates to my son, it was the second greatest day of my life......second ONLY to witnessing his birth! When you see your sailor march into that hall and you realize he/she is now a part of something greater than themselves, it is an indescribable feeling of pride. A feeling that washes away all the tears and angst of the previous 8 1/2 weeks of separation. Now as I look back, I am amazed how time has passed so quickly! As of today my son has been out of boot camp almost as long as he was in it. He is in Pensacola attending IT A school. This is totally different from boot camp. It resembles being away to college as you can communicate freely (voice, text, e-mail) with the exception of when they are in class. So to wrap this up, as others have said, hang in there! You too before you know it will be in the same shoes as many of us....looking back wondering where the time went and posting comments to help parents going through that which you have endured. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this site is to help you through it.....from really good information to Navy FAMILY who are there for moral support. God Bless you and your son for his service to our great country!"
I read your discussions in total amazement !!. Why? Our son had the same idea of joining the Army or Marines in our case. We tried to disuade him to go Navy or Air force like you. He originally was adament (stubborn as you put it), we had freinds and prior vets in the Navy or Air Force try to disuade him. He like your son was into the military since he could speak. We also thought like you it would be a passin fad like being a fireman or a doctor etc. We were convinced he was serious after the 6th grade. I had him look at the branches of the services on line for him to be sure if he really wanted this life. He went into ROTC in High School and did that for 4 years (additional convincing for me)He waited to inform us of his choice 2 weeks before he graduated in May( same as your son). I was releived when he chose the Navy(Whew), he also chose to be a Corpman. He was in Deps for 1 year, I went to every Wednesday meeting with him. I felt like I was joining the Navy (LOL). He also at his graduation was asked to stand in appreciation for his service to country. In his graduating class there were 635 graduates, of those there were only 11 students who stood up for the ovation they received. My son has graduated from Basic on 9/15, he is now in Ft Sam Houston for his A school. He started classes just this Wednesday as he they classed up for training( enough students to makeup a class). Evrything you described the lonliness, the pangs of missing freinds, all of these we all went through. When they close the gates after he gets to Great Lakes will be his challenge foe he will be cut off from the world and start his transition to SAILOR several months down the road. He will now have to get up in the am wheteher he wants to or not. No excuses about wanting to cleanup his area or not and on it goes. Definitely Write as often as you can once you get the first letter. It will have his ship # and his division along with the Great lakes address where you can write. His ist communication will be script, you will not have a time when the call will come in that he made it safe. I can go into more details with our experience since it is very recent, If you want our ups and down through our sons trainig I will be happy to let you know.
Oh just so you know I am an Army Veteran, I was with the 82nd Airborne Div in FT Bragg N.C. 3 yers and Special Forces for 2. So you can imagine my releif when my son chose NAVY.
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