19 yr old son left for the Navy this week!


Our 19 yr old son left on Weds for the Navy. We were able to attend his swearing in before he left for basic training in Great Lakes, IL. (brrr . …) What a proud moment!

I miss him of course, and have shed tears! I cried at Mass on Sunday. Our wonderful pastor called him up after Communion, said a few words about his service to the parish and then gave him a special blessing. It was very moving.

However, I don’t think it has sunk in that he is now on his own. Since he has traveled on his own before, it sort of feels like he’s just away on a trip. When do you suppose it will really hit home?? --KCT


No matter how old our kids are, we are never ready to have them spread their wings and fly. Godspeed to your son.


Write your son a lot and if possible get other family members to write. Mail call is pretty much the highlight of bootcamp. I used to write my hubby (then fiance’) every day. I know it’s a different relationship then a mom of course but the mail is pretty much their only connection the outside world -at least for the next several weeks.

It might sink in when they send his civillian clothes home to you. I know this has got to pull at your heart strings but this will be a good experience for your son. There are pros and cons of military life but over all my husband’s time in the Navy made him a more mature, responsible and confident person. Good lessons for a 19 year old.


It is a kinder, gentler Navy than the one I joined 30 years ago. If he’s in halfway decent physical shape, and can understand following directions, he should have no problems.

He will not undergo half the physical training of the Marine Corps (unless he’s going to be a hospital corpsman). His biggest challenge will be the final PT test and Battle Stations, a simulation of what he’s learned regarding emergency prepardness.

If he was overweight, he will come home considerably slimmer. If he was underweight, they will put some muscle on him. The food is actually good now, and the days of the C-Rats are long gone. They will feed him, and redress him.

OH- And he’ll learn to sing “Anchors Aweigh” in a tunnel. :wink:

And the weather was nice today here in the Midwest, positively balmy for January.

So- Write him letters, 'cause recruits don’t get email. Have the rest of the family write him, too, or send him cards. He will not have much time to write you.

It might hit home if he calls you and tells you the recruiter lied to him, and get him out of there, please. Don’t do it. He’ll just be home sick, and the culture is so different that it’s like falling into another country. He will be just fine, and I hope he becomes recruit master chief.


I remember when my son joined the Army. Someone came and took him away and he wouldn’t let me wave good bye to him(said he would be embarrased). My daughter was watching “Forrest Gump” and was crying. Later that night I got a phone call from my son. He said it was the “last” time I would hear from him(via phone) while he was in boot camp. He was crying. I was crying and I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid the guys will make fun of you for crying?” His response was “Hell no Mom. We’re ALL crying” He told me that short bus ride from wherever he made that call into the base at Ft. Sill was the LONGEST and the HARDEST he took.



Thank you for such kind replies!

Ds is in pretty good physical shape and has been attending PT w/ the recruiters since last June. They prepared him to meet many of the physical requirements of bootcamp in advance. (Too bad they can’t prepare for the mental requirements!)

We don’t have his address yet, but I plan to call Monday morning and get it. We’re writing letters this weekend so I can mail them as soon as I get the address!

He knows a little about Battle Stations . . . I’m sure there’s no way to know until you go through it. I was reading about it on the web. Passing sounds like a tremendously proud moment in a recruit’s life. I expect to see a more confident young man when we attend Pass In Review in March.

I joined a Navy parent’s website; the moms there seem encouraging :slight_smile: --KCT


I agree with the previous poster who said that as long as your son is in halfway decent shape he’ll have no problems. Navy bootcamp PT is a joke. Battlestations is actually kinda fun, because you have the opportunity to get down and dirty (although there was a wind chill of -35 when I ran it four years ago). The hardest part (for me, at least) was dealing with the lack of freedom. You essentially have no rights in boot camp. You exist in a semi-robotic state. March here. Fold your clothes like that. Shout this response when you’re spoken to. It’s. . .frustrating if you you enjoy things like common sense, personal freedom and individuality. I’m pretty sure the only point of bootcamp is to teach you how to obey orders without question no matter how silly the order. But, as the others said, right him a LOT of letters. Even if he doesn’t always reply (my brother only wrote home two or three times in boot camp), the one highlight of boot camp (besides getting out) is hearing from the outside world. It keeps you sane. What rating (job) did your son sign up for?



Be so proud of this man who thinks of his country first! Prayers to you and for your son to come home safely.


I enlisted in the Navy at 19 way back in the Dark Ages - 1971. I was a yeoman and never served on a ship since I was always attached to an air transport squadron.

Didn’t go to boot camp at Great Lakes but I was stationed at Naval Air Station Glenview just south of Great Lakes. I took every opportunity the Navy offered me. I went to Northwestern University in Chicago at night.

I have to laugh at the “lack of freedom” comments. My folks had such tight control of me at home that “freedom” had no meaning. I also had another benefit when going through boot camp. My Catholic high school was NJROTC. By the time I got to boot camp, I already knew ceremonies, manual of arms, etc. And my father, who served in the Navy in WW II, gave me some good advice, never volunteer.

I spent 3 1/2 years on active duty and another year and a half in the reserves. This was during the Viet Nam war. By the time I finished my baccalaureate degree (paid for by the GI Bill, which also paid for my masters), the Navy wanted me to reenlist. I said fine, send me to OCS. They wouldn’t do it and so I said, adios.

In hindsight, I got to see a whole lot of the world that I probably wouldn’t have seen. On the whole, for this veteran, the Navy was a positive experience for me.


Dear KCT,

. What rating (job) did your son sign up for?

Aviation mechanic. No idea if it will be airplanes or helicopters. —KCT

My ds is on the USS Stennis, on the way back to the Persian Gulf. He works on electrical systems of fighter jets. He was hmschled, and was always interested in how stuff works, always bringing home junk to take apart. Eventually, he learned how to fix them (as I hoped he would). He joined the Navy in '00 right out of high school. He finds the work interesting, although they put in 12 hr work days some times. He met his gf (also in the navy) and looks like they may get married, but unfortunately, she is on the USS Reagan.

We don’t live far from Chicago. When we saw him at graduation from Boot, I tried to be strong, but knew I would blubber; cried almost all the way back. But what I remember most is God gave us a glorious sunrise, and even more glorious sunset to commemorate the day. It seemed He was giving me this beautiful gift on this day when my boy became a Man. He was the first to leave home.

I just pray for him every night when I say my Rosary and trust God to watch over him. It has been a great comfort, but I still feel the ache. It was nice to see him for a wk before Xmas '06 before he shipped out.

Ask St. Nicholas to intercede on your son’s behalf; he is the patron saint of sailors. I didn’t even know that until after Nick had joined the Navy and our priest mentioned it at Mass. I told him, “Guess I named you right”.

God bless you and your family, KCT!



Keep in mind that aviation mechanics do not all necessarily serve on aircraft carriers. There are Naval Air Stations all around the world and your son could get attached to a transport squadron or an antisubmarine patrol squadron - neither of which can land on a carrier and are thus land based.

My parent’s didn’t get to see me graduate from boot camp. But I came home in civilian clothes and as I walked off the plane, my mother didn’t recognize me!!! I had no hair on my head and I had lost close to 30 lbs.

I pray for our children who are serving their country. And I pray that this time, unlike when I served during Viet Nam, that the anti-war folks don’t take their spleen out on our children who are serving their country. God bless our armed forces!


What a proud moment! It truly takes a special breed to serve in the US military. My DH was Air Force, and is currently pursuing the ANG. There is so much negetivity around the troops these days that it’s refreshing to hear parents that are proud of their children’s commitment. I wish my MIL felt the way you do! :thumbsup:


Well, mostly that, as far as boot camps go, the Navy is the least physical. Navy bootcamp training is generally geared more toward classroom training. The only exceptions are firefighter training, where you actually put out fires, and the Marlinspike, which is a fake boat where you practice mooring and putting out to sea and stuff like that. I mean, the longest we ever had to run for PT was 1 1/2 miles. I’ve had much harder PT since I got out. You said your son was laid back, which is definitely good. Being able to just go with the flow is an essential quality for getting through bootcamp. Besides, from what I’ve seen and heard of other services, Navy RDC’s (Navy version of drill instructors) are the most benign. They yell, they make you do a lot of push-ups if you annoy them, but they’re essentially harmless. Just keep writing those letters and reminding your son that bootcamp doesn’t last forever, even if it sometimes feels like it does.


Then how did I loose 30 lbs?:bigyikes: No, it wasn’t Marine Corps boot camp but it was physical.


Our daughter also went into the Navy she is on her 2nd year sha has 2 more years.

Your son at first will not have any time to realize that he is gone from home, and you may not here from him right away but start sending him letters every day so when he does have the time to rest and think about home he will have your letters showing you love him miss him very much. We miss our daughter she is in Virginia now and has since had a daughter of her own we were blessed to be with her during that time. I will keep you and your son in my prayers.

Bootcamp will go by fast and you will see him at graduation and that will be a very proud day for you and your family.


Navy recruit training is more classroom oriented.

My favorite was the teargas chamber down in Orlando in the late 70s. I was a recruit senior chief, as I was on bat staff, and did a lot of classes during Work Week, to make up for the time I’d be away from my training unit (company- before they called them divisions). I was not away the day the training unit went, so I got to do it twice. Fun. :rolleyes:


Again, thanks for the replies. I joined a navy parents site and have posted a few questions and comments. Those moms have lots of practical advice!

Ds called this evening just before dinner! He only had a minute or two but said everything was OK so far. It was such a surprise to hear so soon. —KCT


My hubby was at Orlando too. He said the tear gas didn’t effect him -he thought is funny because everyone else had reactions except him. :smiley:


My 18 yr old son did the same thing, and is at Great Lakes, IL. He left Dec 19, just days before Christmas. we did have an early holiday with him, but it was weird because he couldn’t take anything but the clothes on his back with him. I took the day off, went to his swearing in to active duty (was in DEP before–Delayed Entry Program), met him at the airport and he was gone. Yes, I was crying but happy at the same time. I got a short call that night, and once since. Some letters, but I’m sure he has more letters to and from his girlfriend. :slight_smile:

Some days are easier than others, as for missing him. I’ll see something, or read something that I’d like to just pick up the phone to call and tell him, but I can’t.

In 2 weeks he is graduating basic…and I’m going out to see him. I’m very excited about it. His girfriend is in the Navy too, and she just finished basic just before Thanksgiving, so I spend some time talking with her and getting the English version of his letters! You will need to ask him to translate what all these initials they refer to are…I still don’t know them all.

If you need another Navy mom to talk to, please don’t hesitate to PM me.

God Bless!

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