Wednesday, May 2, 2018

If the Army and the Navy Ever look on Heaven's scenes, They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines.

I have dropped my kids off at many places.  Dropped them off for their first day of school.  Dropped them off for their first slumber party.  Dropped them off at their first dance, their first job.  Dropped them off at the Missionary Training Center.  But none of the places I have dropped them off have been as bitter sweet as dropping Jacob off at the Marine Recruiting Station in St. George, UT today.(I accidentally forgot to post this blog. I actually dropped him off on Monday, February 12, 2018)

Jacob Andrew Johnson, age 20...almost 21, is officially a Marine Recruit.  He is at MEPS in Salt Lake City tonight, but tomorrow morning, he will fly to San Diego where there will be buses waiting to pick him up and deliver him to Camp Pendleton the Marine Corps Base Camp. Where he will experience the hardest 3 months of his life.   Here is a video to give you an idea of what it will be like. Pretty intense huh?  Tomorrow night...between 10 PM and 3 AM, I will receive a phone call from him that will say something to the effect of...   “I have arrived safely at MCRD San Diego. Please do not send any food or bulky items. I will contact you in 3 to 5 days via postcard with my new mailing address. Thank you for your support. I love you. Goodbye for now.”
They are allowed to say this and nothing more, to provide you with the peace of mind that your son or daughter has arrived safely and their training has started.   I am so looking forward to that phone call. 

Jacob made the decision to join the Marines last year in October.  When he first talked about it, I objected.  When he told me he was going to go to the Recruitment Station to get information, I made him promise me he would not sign ANYTHING.  He took the ASVAB test while he was there and scored a 94..which meant he could practically pick just about any placement area he wanted and that his future with the Marines looked very good.  He didn't sign on the first time, but soon after, he signed, without saying a thing.  When I found out, I was not happy and tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn't be swayed.  For a while I continued to try to convince him to re-think his decision, but to no avail.

I finally came to accept that this was his decision and even came to agree that it was a good one.  He has chosen Air Traffic Controller as his MOS...(Military Occupational Specialty).  It's a good career, with a good future. I am excited for him...and truly, after much reconsideration and much consternation and then reconsideration...I truly could not be more proud of him.  He wants to be a man, he wants to be independent and he wants to serve his country.  I truly could not be more proud of him.

We left early this morning from our home in Kanab.  We drove him to the Recruiting Station where we met his Recruiter. We took pictures and then, with a little time to spare, we got him a Jamba Juice for the road.  Then after a long hug and a teary good bye..he went inside and we left him there.  We drove away with a melancholy feeling; reflecting back on my little boy and on all our happy memories together, and realizing how really proud I am of the man he has become.  It is so hard to let him go, but it is so wonderful to realize that he is confident in doing exactly what our kids are supposed to be doing...moving on.  I am grateful for the years we have spent together and I am so grateful that he has been such a good son.  I tell people that I have had many hard things in my life...but  my kids weren't.  Jacob has always been a good boy, and now he has grown into a good man.   Boot Camp will be very hard, but its purpose is to jump start him on his journey into manhood.  It will be hard, but anything worth doing often is.

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