Who’s been there?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by jeffpn, May 22, 2018.

  1. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    My youngest graduated from high school Saturday. Yesterday, he left for Parris Island. He’s going Marine reserves, same 13 week boot camp as active. We got our scripted phone call at 3AM today that he’s there. No conversation allowed, more or less him just announcing he’s there. It’s going to kill me and his mother before we get our first letter from him. We are in angst, not knowing exactly what he’s going through and when. Yes, we have an outline, and I’ve heard plenty of stories. He is mentally prepared for this. I have no doubt about that. I just can’t believe how powerless I feel, being in the dark! So the question is, has your child been to Marines boot camp? When did you start to feel a little more relaxed? If I have to go 13 weeks, I’ll be wound up tighter than a spring! Did you go through Marine boot camp? I hear the first 2-3 weeks is the worst. When did you turn the corner and know you made the right decision?
     
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  2. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    My son serves... I've worked for the US Army and now the US Air Force... he'll be fine you won't know him when he gets back...
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm an Air Force veteran - he'll be fine, just a lot more grown up, when he comes home.
     
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  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    #4 jeffpn, May 22, 2018
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
    I know he’ll be fine. And I know I may walk right past him graduation week

    To all those who served or are serving in any branch - thank you.

    This is about specifically the US Marines. I know he’ll be fine. And I know I may walk right past him at graduation week. I’m asking who’s been where I am, a parent whose kid has gone to Parris Island or San Diego MCRD, and won’t hear anything from him at all for 2-3 weeks. I did not expect to feel this way.
     
  5. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'm Canadian and not pro military so I have no idea about the mindset but I was a reservist for a while in the early 2000's. It was a gong show at the time so I'm glad I got out, but regardless of my personal thoughts on this he'll be run into the ground and tired for the whole time. It'll be a hell of a time but he'll be ok.

    So not really useful commentary but I'm rooting for him and you.
     
  6. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    By the way @jeffpn congratulations on raising a great son
     
  7. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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  8. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your service.
     
  9. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    This is what my son experienced last night, Bob. Or it may have been your daughter’s move in day to college. It’s hard to tell! :p

     
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  10. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I didn't join the marines- I was US Army back when it was pretty uncommon for women to join the regular Army. I was in the fifth group of women selected for West Point- but finally opted for enlisted instead and did college while in the regular Army. West Point then was exceptionally misogynistic and I doubted I was THAT tough at 18.

    My son just joined the Navy, but he doesn't leave for boot camp for a month.

    This sounds weird, but it never occurred to me to worry about the day-to-day "what he's going through" thing when he gets there. It'll be hard; it'll suck; and it'll be great. Not all at the same time usually, but quite possibly it will. Maybe it's because I can remember building my own confidence, leadership skills, relationships, and toughness during that time that I don't really think about how he'll suffer through some of it. Of course, he's a bit older (26) and has been on his own since graduation from high school so maybe that's why I'm much more relaxed about it.

    I have to tell you based on my daughter's experience with college that I'd be FAR more worried about him there. My daughter was a great kid, but she lost her mind in her first year of college. Drinking, partying, sex, nearly flunking out- out of control. The Navy definitely would be safer!
     
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  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    LOL about college being safer. All you can do is teach your kid good Christian values and hope they take the ball and run. From time to time, my kids have inspired and developed my faith, so I think theirs is taking root. Nobody’s perfect, I know that for sure.

    If I had gone through Marine boot camp myself, I’d know what he’s going through. But I haven’t. And nobody in my family has, either. So I don’t know. That’s what this thread is about. Who’s been there? He’s strong. He wants it. He’ll get through. I’m just curious exactly how much hell it is, like now in the first three days when they don’t let the recruits sleep. He’s at the end of that now. I think he gets to sleep tonight. He can get through this. Hundreds of thousands have already. I’m just curious how well he’s coping.
     
  12. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    It IS hell, at least the Army version. But you develop relationships that last a lifetime, you gain self-confidence and leadership skills and you learn to curse. You push yourself to exhaustion, and then go past that and learn that you can. You realize that you are mentally stronger than you thought you could ever be, and you can be both self-reliant and trust your brother with your life. You get used to a small black mean-spirited male SSG beating a metal trash can at 3 AM because you dared close your eyes. That same SSG nearly cries at graduation, and hugs you tightly and wishes you well. Nearly forty years later, you use expressions like "0 dark 30" and "squared away" and show a strong tendency to leadership.

    I joined the Army many many years before cell phones and email, so my family didn't expect to hear from me anyway while I was traveling or out of the country or in basic training. I'd call home from Germany or France or somewhere, collect, on holidays. So I'm sure it's different now when we're used to constant and often communication. I never even told my family I was in Grenada for the invasion- but I got a medal for it. I guess I never told them because I didn't want them to worry. I also never told them that I have PTSD either. We had an "active shooter training" at the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and it was a reminder that some things shouldn't have been kept a secret.

    All in all, being separated from the family for those times is a good thing for the soldier/sailor/marine. You learn to rely on yourself. It's really hard, but it teaches so many good things especially for young people.
     
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  13. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Interesting input, Yooper, thanks. I like it. That addresses the second part of my OP, considering I never got an answer to my first part. My question was specifically about the Marines, parent’s coping skills first. In the absence of that, the Marine himself, once he talked to his family after boot camp. I’ll certainly take your post regarding your Army experience as an answer. I was hoping this forum was big enough that there was another Marine parent out there, and how they dealt with not knowing how their kid was doing the first couple weeks.

    You and Bob both indicated that sending a kid to college is tougher to deal with than sending a kid to boot camp. 3 weeks prior to my son leaving for Parris Island, our 20 year old college student daughter moved out. I didn’t even think of starting a thread about it! ;)
     
  14. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I think with Boot camp, they are pretty darn sheltered (can't even call home) and "mama" (drill sergeant) looks after them. I mean, they even tell you when to do your laundry and eat. Get up, do 50 pushups, run (in formation with everyone else), etc. There is no time to make decisions, just to do. And when you do get the chance to sleep, you do because you're exhausted. But when you sit with your buddy and talk, and also help each other through some obstacles, you can cry harder than ever and you can laugh harder than ever. It sounds crazy, but it's a great experience- even the hellish part. For me, there was even a church I could go do on Sunday after we were allowed a couple of hours to do that a few weeks in. We worked hard, laughed hard, and grew up a lot. I paid my own bills from the day I turned 18, even a little before, and had my own health insurance always. Many 19 year olds can't string a sentence together, but I was already leading others by then.

    College for an 18 year old "good girl" was not something I worried about, but she lost her mind with all the freedom at once. I thought she could handle it well, but she really should have waited a year before going to college and being exposed to being able to just go wild.
     
  15. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I’m not worried about what he’s doing down there. I know he’ll get through it. He woke up at 4:00 Monday morning and tonight is the first he’ll be permitted to sleep since then. My wife was worried he might not pass his (I’ll call it) initial strength test today because he’d be so tired. They’re all that tired! I get that he has no freedom down there. I get that he’ll discover things about himself he didn’t think possible. I get that they’ll instill a discipline like I’ve never seen. I get that he’ll make friends he’ll retain for the rest of his life. I got all of that months ago. But I don’t get to see any of that, now that he’s there. His hardest struggle ever, you know, because he took the easy way out and chose to be a US Marine instead of going to college :p , and I don’t get to see him go through it. I’m not looking to protect or shelter him. What’s killing me is I can’t get any assurance that he’s ok. I’m not asking for assurance, it’s part of the deal. This is a first for me. That’s the purpose of this thread; to see if any one here has been where I am - forced to wait outside.
     
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  16. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Ignoring the military things I would completely agree about waiting a year to go to college. Take a year, do something else, get your feet under you and try to figure out what you actually want out of life. I know I should have done that. My 4 year degree ended up taking 15 years.
     
  17. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    My 4 year degree took me 8. I flunked out after the 1st year. Mom and dad made me go back. Yippee, I have a bachelors degree. Someday when I’m cold, I’ll burn it. College isn’t for everyone.

    I got contact information for my son today. Not a physical address, but a way to get a letter through an app. So that’s good!
     
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  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I got the deans vacation initially, then ran out of money, then worked for about 7 years and started going back cause I thought about getting a VISA to Britain. Then I met my wife and some shit went down with my family so that got shelved, so I decided what the hell I'll finish it but I had been working in that area for more than a decade at that point so I ended up getting honours in the program while phoning it in hard.

    It didn't really do me any good, but I figured I should finish what I start. I feel bad for kids getting into IT these days, they don't have anywhere near the opportunities I did even 15 years ago when I was getting into it. And my opportunities were pretty sparse then. All the entry level shit that gets you the experience companies want is offshored.
     
  19. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    We got our first letter from our son today. First words of the letter is that he’s doing ok! :)
     
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  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well ill drink to that then jeff
     
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