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A Parent’s View Of Leaving For Boot Camp

Originally published after Holly left for boot camp.

Early on a June morning, Sue and I took Holly to the MEPS station from where she would ship out for boot camp at Parris Island.

I was a bit concerned, as the MEPS station was over two hours away, that Holly would get nervous and perhaps start to second-guess her decision about joining the Corps.

Little did we realize at the time that the only ones in the car who were stressed out were Sue and I.

We arrived at MEPS, and the old adage about the military “hurry up and wait” started to kick in.

Sue and I sat around with a group of other parents as Holly, along with dozens of other young men and women, went through the processing steps that would lead from them changing from civilians to members of America’s armed forces.

A quick lunch break, then it was back to more waiting.

Then it was time to take the Oath Of Enlistment.

Of course we took a few more pictures.

It seemed like it was taking forever for the bus that would take our daughter and the other recruits to Parris Island to arrive, then all of a sudden there it was.
(It turned out that Holly was the only female on the bus.)

Then it was time to say our goodbyes.
This image was burned into our brain, as it was the last we saw of our future Marine for 13 weeks.

Sue and I watched as the bus taking our daughter to Marine Corps boot camp pulled away.

Then we began the walk back to our car, the drive home (which seemed much longer), and the even longer wait for the phone call from Holly letting us know that she had arrived at Parris Island.


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Marine Corps Photos: Don’t Look Down

Marine Corps Moto Photo 33

A Marine assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit fast ropes aboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) while at sea March 19, 2013. The 26th MEU is deploying to the 5th Fleet and 6th Fleet areas of operation. The MEU operates continuously across the globe, providing the president and unified combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, sea-based, quick-reaction force. The MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis-response and limited contingency operations.

Photo by Cpl Kyle

Visit Future Jarheads For Answers To Your Questions About The USMC

So are you thinking about becoming one of The Few, The Proud, The Marines?

Have questions about Boot Camp, which MOS is right for you, how to deal with your Marine Corps recruiter fitness and knowledge requirements, ect.?

To find the answers to these and just about anything you might want to know about joining the USMC, visit my friends at Future Jarheads.

Here is just part of HJ Simpson’s mission statement:

Welcome. Future Jarheads was created for Marine Corps prospects by a Marine Corps veteran. My mission here is to offer each of you a very unique perspective of what you are asking to do or may one day want to do.

While you are there, show them some support by checking out their online store. You may want to get a t-shirt:

PI 90 day vacation
(Naturally, for those of you who may become “Hollywood Marines”, they also have shirts labeled for San Diego. Click Here for ordering information)

Follow this link to visit their website.

While you’re at it, follow this link to visit their Facebook page.

And if by some wild stretch of the imagination, if you can’t find the info you’re looking for, HJ will find it for you.


Pictures From Parris Island

When we finally reached Beaufort, South Carolina, and saw this parked at the entrance to our hotel parking lot, we knew we had picked the right place to stay.

One of the many pictures we took when we went to see our daughter, (at the time PFC, now Corporal) Andrews graduate from Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island South Carolina.
(The dates on some of these photos are incorrect, it was a new camera and we had something set wrong)

Marine Corps Boot Camp Letters 2

For the next few Throw Back Thursdays, I plan on re-printing letters we received from Holly when she was a recruit at Parris Island. This is the first of many. If you want to be sure to see more, subscribe to the blog and/or send a friend request.

She mentioned that she was still struggling with the chow, saying there was hardly ever a vegetarian option, but that she knew that she would need the proteins to get help get her through the rigors of the physical training.
(When she left for boot camp, recruit Andrews was a vegetarian.)

She mentioned that she had become friends with a recruit from Virginia, PFC Reckley.
(Reckley, who she still stays in touch with, is a remarkable young woman who ended up being the platoon’s Honor Graduate.)

She went on to say that after free time the recruits get something called devotional prayer.
She mentioned that she can hear some of her fellow recruits still crying while this is going on, and how at the end all of the recruits are required to yell out AMEN!

She closed with telling us that she missed us and that she was going to write a letter to her recruiter letting him know how she was doing.

Marine Corps Boot Camp Letters 1

For the next few Throw Back Thursdays, I plan on re-printing letters we received from Holly when she was a recruit at Parris Island. This is the first of many. If you want to be sure to see more, subscribe to the blog and/or send a friend request.

In the first letter we received from PFC Andrews (she has since been promoted to Corporal)she told us that she only had an hour of free time so she wouldn’t be able to tell us everything that had happened since her arrival at MCRD Parris Island.

She mentioned that she had been appointed Scribe due to her having a Bachelors degree, and how a Drill Instructor had told her to go away when the D.I. found out that she thought it was a Friday when it actually turned out to be Saturday.

She mentioned, without going into detail (Sue and I knew) how she had received a little “special attention” for that one.

She then mentioned that recruits would not start being “quarterdecked” until Monday.

She then went on to tell us the results of her Initial Strength Test, and in addition to doing a 45 second flex arm hang and 65 crunches, she was third-fastest in her platoon in the running portion.

She mentioned how some of the females in her platoon were having trouble with the transition from civilian to Marine life, many of them complaining of homesickness and/or crying.

She said that she hoped it wouldn’t be too long before her body became accustomed to standing at attention as doing so for any length of time made her arms hurt.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment for recruit Andrews (who for years had been a vegetarian) was to her diet.

She wrote that she was no longer a vegetarian, the Corps was not really geared towards a meat-free diet, at that asking for boxed chow would make her stand out from the crowd, something she did not want to do.
She also mentioned that going back to eating meat hadn’t made her physically sick, something she had been concerned about.

She closed her first letter from Parris Island by asking us to send her the addresses of some relatives, and not to send her any stamps or envelopes just yet.

Making Marines-Week 11: The Crucible – Octagon (Part 4 of 4)

54 continuous hours of physical and mental challenges:
“It all comes together here. Teamwork, leadership, discipline and all of the skills you have learned. You have to dig deep and finish together to prove yourself worthy of the title, Marine.

This is real footage of Marine Corps recruit training. It is not a simulation. It is a look at the transformation from civilian to Marine through the eyes of real recruits.

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