Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bootcamp past and present

Bootcamp Present

I was talking with my sister earlier this evening when all of a sudden she exclaims, "(Recruit) is home". What? No. Her son is supposed to be in Parris Island with my son. Nope. Not gonna happen. Yet. It seems they messed up his paper work. His report date and social security number were wrong. He spent two days at the processing center in Montgomery, AL, just to get on a bus and head back home to Florida for another week. By the time they corrected all the paperwork Parris Island was full. He will report next Monday. Recruit Daredevil is going to be looking for him. I hope this doesn't mentally make things harder on him since he was expecting his cousin to be there enduring this with him. Now, we will have to make two trips to Parris Island for graduation if all goes according to schedule and there are no other delays.

Bootcamp Past

When my boys were younger they were involved in the Sea Cadet Program at the Naval Air Station here in Jacksonville. The Program consists of two parts, The Navy League, which is for 11 -14 year olds and the Sea Cadets which is 13 - 17. These program are essentially Navy Reserve for kids. They meet once a month, learn to march, wear the same uniforms, and perform the same PT as the Navy Enlisted Personnel. They learn from the same books. Take the same test. Do the same drills. They get yelled at. They also go to Bootcamp.

All three boys went to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, for bootcamp. Improviser was so little that they duct-taped his canteen belt on him because it kept falling off. Their uniforms were all the smallest female uniforms I could find. I would cut about a foot and a half off of the leg length and hem them.

Let me tell you. It is hard to drive three hours from home and drop your 11 year old off for bootcamp. It didn't matter that it was only for a week. I was a wreck. Of course, I'm probably doing better now because of it. I know that my son has been prepared because of that and marching band. He knows how to sweat. He knows what it feels like to be yelled at. Yeah, I know Parris Island is on a much, much higher scale but he has had a taste.

Anyhow, the point of this post is that I found the letter that Daredevil wrote me from bootcamp when he was 11. I'm going to send it to him. He will get a kick out of it. It says,

Dear family,

Hi Mom, Dad and the rest of the family. Here in bootcamp thing aren't going as I planned that means it's going very well. The reason I say that is because on the first day I missed dinner and I missed to get me a canteen and a canteen belt, but the good thing are instead of the dry steaks I got TV dinners. I sorry my letter is so short but I have to take a shower.

Your son

P.S. I haven't got yelled at yet.
The envelope is post-marked June 30, 1999.

I wonder how that will compare to his first letter from this bootcamp. I'll keep you posted.