Sunday, November 10, 2013

2 Boys - 2 Veterans

Just to give you a head's up, this turned out to be a longer post then I intended!
I've been a bit of a slacker at blogging lately.  Honest, I have a really good reason!  Sunday, October 13th, was finally the wedding day we'd been working towards since March.  Will be posting about that soon, but since it's Veteran's Day, I thought I'd do the proud Mom thing and tell you about my two sons who both proudly served their country.  They both went into different branches  of the military as soon as they graduated high school in June, at age 18.  Chris, my oldest joined the Marines and left for boot camp in July, much to my chagrin, Paris Island, South Carolina, the other side of the bay from Hilton Head is the hottest, most humid place to be in the summer!  I tried to talk him into waiting till fall but no luck!  I've vacationed in Hilton Head and it seemed like a whole different weather zone then Paris Island.   He was there for 3 months, which seemed a whole lot longer to me!  When we went to his graduation, the end of September, the weather was still horrible, I literally thought I was going to melt away it was so hot and humid!  He looked like death warmed over, pale, and thin.   From what little I found out later, it's a wonder any of the kids survive what they are put through there!  I guess what "they" say is true, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"!   He said it was really hard and a couple times thought he wasn't going to make it.  One of his accomplishments was to make the highest level of marksman,  which thankfully was never put to the test, to my knowledge anyway.   His job was to work on and repair the electrical systems of the big choppers that went out on missions and medical  runs. Most of his experience was positive but like most soldiers he had his hard times which he didn't really talk about except for one truly traumatic incident.  About 6mos or so before he was to get out, one of his choppers was going on a routine mission to get medical supplies.  The pilot was a female captain going out on her last trip, she was going home in 2 weeks. Every one on board was in his group of buddies.  He waved them out when they left, they did not return.  The Talban shot them down and everyone was lost.  To make it even more horrible, they filmed the whole thing and then put it on U Tube.  It took him a long time to get past it. He only talked about it once and has never talked about anything else.  Truthfully, I think I'd probably rather not know anything else!
 He was in for 5 years and did 2 deployments to Iraq.  When he came back, he finished out this tour in California, down by San Diego which even though it was far form TN, was close to my sister and his cousins which he'd visit on weekends when he could.  He's 27 now and doing well, working for a private airline company here and loves what he does.  A lot of the country music stars and celebrities keep their jets there and fly in and out.  They've also used the hangars there to shoot some music videos and have some big charity events.  Needless to say, he's having a great time.
Aaron, my middle child, joined the Air force as soon as he graduated also and signed up for 4 years.  The Air force is kind of a family thing, being that his dad and grandfather were both in, in fact, his granddad retired from the Air force after 20 years.   Aaron scored in the top 10% on the placement test they all take when they first join to determine what they might do job wise.  He got to pick his job choice which was to be a crew chief on fighter jets which is one of the top jobs you can have.  He was over the guys that checked out the jets and made sure everything was in working order and if not, repaired.   His boot camp was in San Antonio, Texas, another super hot, humid place.  Compared to the Marine boot camp, his seemed more like summer camp!  It was nothing like the Marines!  For his first tour,  he lucked out and was sent to England for a year.  He got to travel and see places he wouldn't have had the opportunity to visit otherwise.  He was then stationed  outside Raleigh, NC for the rest of his time in.  Luckily for me, he was only deployed to Afghanistan once.  I was a pretty lucky Mom, both my boys had jobs that kept them pretty much on base, not out in the middle of things.   The bad part for them was that both their bases were bombed quite a lot but they said it wasn't that big of a deal! You heard them coming, you hit the ground and, that was that!   It sure would've been a big deal to me!!  He's been home now for 2years, works for a landscape company that specializes in doing green roofs on commercial, office and government buildings.  He travels out of state a lot but enjoys what he does.  Joining the military wasn't something that I really wanted for either of them, especially since we were in an active war at the time but it was their choice and I'm very proud of both of them!
I don't have  many down loaded photos of them during this period cuz I wasn't doing stuff on the computer then so bear with me!  Some of these  pics are photos of pics and are not the best.

This is Chris when he was 4 or 5, we were visiting my sister in CA.  My brother-in-law's brother was a Captain in the Marines and flew these choppers in Desert Storm.  He took Chris down to the base to see them. He actually got to get in one and sit in the pilot's seat.  Who would've guessed  that years later Chris would spend 5 years stationed there, working on these very choppers when he wasn't deployed overseas. 

This is a pic I have of Chris in his dress uniform, he was getting ready to go to the Marine ball in San Diego.  (my friend printed this off for me and was low on ink, that's why it's a tad purple but it does fit with his units nickname)!
The patch was his unit's name and insignia.
No one has a better looking uniform then the Marines!

This is Aaron, graduating from boot camp in San Antonio
 Aaron and Kate after his graduation

This is one of my favorite photos of Aaron and one of his jets

This was taken one Christmas when we were lucky enough to have them both home.

Till next time......

This week I will be partying at:
Be Different Act Normal


Jen said...

Wow. Those are two special sons you have. I really enjoyed reading about them. I'm so glad they are home safe, and sorry for the hard times they went through, especially that one story your told. You have a beautiful family!

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

Oh really were a lucky mom. I am always amazed at the stories told by young men and women in the service. You have some very amazing and courageous sons- any mom would be so proud! I'm so glad they came home safe and are leading happy and fulfilling lives. Good looking boys!


I am impressed of your sons, it was interesting to read your post.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a precious post. Your sons are amazing young men. Thanks them for their service and sacrifices. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, marty

Betty Luckhurst said...

How wonderful and uplifting! Thanks for sharing.

Jann Olson said...

Rebecca, I am so happy that your sons are both home safe! Handsome boys. And your daughter s so cute too! The first story was so sad. I can imagine how difficult that was for him. Thanks for sharing this with SYC. Thanks to them both for their service.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Proof positive that there are heroes among us!

Katie Clooney said...

Congrats Rebecca on having such admirable sons. Great post. Can't WAIT to see the wedding photos!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

How proud you must be of your sons! I often think it must be so hard for parents to have their sons so far away, risking their lives for our country, but I'm so thankful they do!

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

I am so glad you shared this story with us! And thank your sons for their service and protection. (they sure are handsome! )

Olive said...

I thank those fine young men for all they have done for our country. I cannot imagine what it was like for you. I do understand humid and hot S.C. weather having lived there for 40 years. It is something serious. Have a Merry Christmas


I hope you have a happy christmas with your family.