You Betcha I'm a Proud Army Mom

Ramblings of an Army mom and probably some rants about the world at large. These are my ramblings and rants and no one else's. Just so you know...

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Location: California, United States

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

How It All Began

I've been thinking about the focus this blog should take. My original thought was for it to be a written log of my journey as a Mom of a Soldier. Mainly to help me through the days as I find myself in a new reality with very few familiar landmarks to help guide me. Ok, well that's nice and all for the good. But I feel that it can and should be more than that. So, I've decided to not only write about my experiences and emotions as I go through this new adventure in Momhood, but to offer up information in case there are any readers that are new Military Moms or soon to be Military Moms. Information is good and there is a lot out there. Your future soldier is going to be signing a CONTRACT with the GOVERNMENT and it behooves you to know what the hell it says before it's signed. Because it spells out everything concerning your child in the Military. The bottom line being, Your Child's Life is now controlled by the Needs of the Army, Navy, Marines, or Airforce. That must be understood completely before the signing and oath taking. There are no guarantees, no matter what the recruiter says. The Government owns your child. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
You see, I live in an area that is very anti-military, anti-war and anti- anything Bush. I don't really want to get into the politics of it all at this time - though to be sure I'm a very political being. Just ask my husband! (ok, he's asked me not to read the newspapers or watch CSPAN when he's in the house. He likes quiet after working hard all day!) I'm not saying that there won't be any politically based posts here. But there are so many good political blogs already out there and I'm no expert. (But if something frosts my hiney - well, we'll just see then...)
Anyhoo, getting back to the area I live in, there is little support here for the parents of soldiers, what ever phase their soldier is in - from the first visit to the Recruiting Office to being deployed. So I found myself quite alone as no one else I knew had a kid wanting to join the Military. And the reactions I received from most people when they heard that D~ was joining the Army, were disheartening at best.
D~ was still in her senior year at high school when I started to notice little things around the house that said "Army of One" and "GoArmy". I didn't make much of it in the beginning. We were focused on getting College Apps and Financial Aid forms filled out. D~ wants to be a veterinarian so we were looking at colleges where she could work towards that goal. Then in October, she brings me a folder that had info all about the Army and told me she had talked to a recruiter. He wanted to set up a meeting with her Step-Dad and me to discuss this. I just stood there, staring blankly at her. All I could think to say was "No, no...NO! You're going to college."
Hell, and there I was worried at one time that she would be a vapid, silly grinning cheerlleader - HA! I should have known - after all, she is my daughter. But she's such a "girl'! All long legs and long blond hair and a figure to die for. Not like me who never outgrew the "tom boy" phase...I mean I don't even own a skirt! I couldn't breath for 3 days after she told me she wanted to join the Army. Now I don't have a problem with the military - never have. I'm a member of Books For Soldiers and a firm supporter of our soldiers. In fact, I wish I was younger (ok, alot younger) I'd join up. But that's me - not my adorable girl baby. I kept saying to her "but D~, we're at WAR!" Of course, this was just the Mommy Knee Jerk Reaction - flag covered caskets flashing in front of my eyes. So we talked about it and she set up an appointment for her Step-Dad and me to meet her recruiter, Sgt. W. I'll have to say that Sgt.W was most gracious and very calm under attack - Ned gave him such a grilling that he's become a legend around the office, getting the honor of being the toughest first parent meeting. (I waited until the next meeting to threaten Sgt. W's life when I had to sign papers so D~ could get her physical and sign up for her MOS.) Again he was most gracious and answered all my questions (for over 2 hours) and explained all the steps and what they entailed. I made sure that this wasn't binding in any way, that it was just a first step and she could change her mind at any time. Or we weren't going. He assured me that this was the case. Okay.
So off we go to MEPS leaving the house at 4:30 am (what is it with the Army and Dawn Patrols?) to be there at 5:30 am. As we were walking up to the main entrance, there was a man standing there who handed D~ and me these little camoflaged New Testaments and coins with bible verses on them. I flashed on all the WWII movies I had watched with my Dad as a kid with the scenes of a soldier going through the pockets of a dead soldier and finding the little bible with the photo of his girl in it. Remember those? I realized this was for real and not a movie. I couldn't breath again. Somehow I made it through the doors.

To be continued...

Here is the site where I found the form DDForm 4/1 -
Military Enlistment Document

Contract
This is the Contract your son or daughter will be signing. Print it out and read every word. Take it to the recruiter and have him or her explain it to you.
I printed it out and left a copy on D~'s bed before we even met with the recruiter. I have no patience for people who say "I didn't know!" Now you do. Not a bad thing...