Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Veteran's Day

I have been extremely blessed to have been an active part in my children's lives and to have been able to experience a small portion of military life with them. I'm also extremely blessed that they have returned from each deployment, safe and sound. Amy only went on one deployment during her time in the Navy (she had shore duty for awhile, then was pregnant with Isaiah so back to shore duty, and then was discharged right before her next ship left for deployment) and I got to return to San Diego on her ship (the USS Boxer; September 2001). She was also stationed on the USS Kearsarge and the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (both located in Norfolk, VA).

Shaun has been on several deployments and I've been very fortunate to be able to be on the dock as his ship has pulled back in. His first deployment was on the USS Harry S Truman, stationed in Norfolk, VA, on its maiden deployment. It was quite the party when the ship returned to port in May 2001. I also watched the Truman return from deployment in May 2003 and again in 2005. Shaun then spent some time on shore duty in San Diego before transferring to Bremerton, WA. He is currently stationed aboard the USS John C Stennis and I've been on the dock to witness its return in July 2009.

The picture above was taken in two shots. Shaun was home on  leave in October 1999 and I knew Amy would be home in November 1999 (right after she finished basic training and her A School). I had Shaun stand on one side and then had Amy on the other. I merged the two photos later and did pretty well with the merge. I think I'm the only one who knows where the curtains really come together. (The next time they were home on leave together they didn't have uniforms with them.)

USS Truman return - May 2001

Shaun was actually standing in the "7" of the 75 and when I did his scrapbook, I was able to pop him out of it and make it so that he was actually noticeable.

USS Boxer Tiger Cruise - September 2001

Since Amy was stationed San Diego, the last stop on the way home was Hawaii. I got to fly to Hawaii and float back to San Diego on her ship, the USS Boxer. It was an amazing trip and we were all having a great time - right up until September 11. We were three days out of San Diego and the mood of the entire ship changed. I wrote about my trip and that day here. Here are some more pictures from that trip.

Amy in her dress whites as we were nearing San Diego

My "rack" (sleeping quarters) where I could turn on my fan, shut my curtains, and read a book, or two - or 10. I read about 10 books during the eight days on the ship.

Refueling of the Boxer and Harper's Ferry

The USS Boxer
The Navy put on a pretty spectacular air show for us, too.

Truman Homecoming May 2003

Isaiah was just a new baby when the Truman came back from deployment in 2003. Amy's (then) husband was also stationed on the Truman so, after spending her maternity leave at our house, we drove back to Norfolk for the ship's return. It was a very cold, rainy and windy day so I don't have many pictures. We were in the "new mothers" tent for most of the preliminary stuff and I'd pop out every so often to snap a picture.

Truman Family Day 2003

Keith and I were able to fly back to Norfolk in July 2003 for the Truman's Family Day Cruise. We boarded the ship by 6:00 AM and spent the entire day at sea. During the cruise, they Navy had several activities planned for us, including an amazing air show. Being an aircraft carrier made it easier for them to show off than just being an LHD.

After the air show, we enjoyed snacks and got to tour limited areas of the ship. They also brought in a hypnotist and had several people on the stage do some pretty funny stuff.

Shaun joined the Navy in August 1998 and Amy joined in August 1999. They actually had their "anniversary" dates within one day of each other, and their graduation ceremonies in the same time frame (Shaun Oct 98, Amy Oct 99).

These are a couple of pages out of Shaun's Navy scrapbook that I made for him after his first deployment and enlistment.

Truman Homecoming 2005

I flew to Norfolk by myself for this return and then Shaun and I drove back home in his vehicle.

John C Stennis Homecoming 2009

Thank you to all of our veterans. Thank you to my children for their service.


That corgi :) said...

thank your children too! always so thankful there are people willing to serve to protect our country/freedom! that picture you merged together was amazing! I would never have known had you not shared that info!

wonderful memories you have of your children's military careers!


SkippyMom said...

Of course we thank your children! How wonderful and you must be so proud.

Can I say this is the


Thanks [gasp] for sharing. You rock some world there Momma.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Thanks to you and your children for their service to our country! I grew up in Norfolk! My dad was stationed there for most of my school years until he retired when I was 14. Nothing is so impressive as standing with a sea of family and watching that big ship carrying someone you love come into view!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...


The "manning of the rails" is really quite impressive and an emotional thing to watch. The sailors stand all the way around the circumference of the ship from the time they can be seen from shore until the time they're released from the ship. It is something I never tire of watching, and am so grateful I got to experience first-hand.

The Tiger Cruise was the most wonderful thing to be a part of. I have so many fond memories of that trip. I saved my berthing assignment sheet, my information booklet, and my certificate of completion. I think in my earlier post about it you can see the ship's commander presenting me with the certificate.

Keith would have joined the service but he shattered his right arm when he was 14 and it wouldn't hold up to the rigors of military life. So, he's become my computer expert and I'm just as proud of his accomplishments as I could possibly be. I have three great kids.

Marla said...

This is one of the best posts ever!! Thank you so much for sharing it. Our middle son John was on the Stennis about 12 years ago and his dad went on the tiger cruise out of Hawaii. How neat that we share that little bit of history.

Anyway, please thank your children for us. We appreciate their service.

Pat said...

This was a wonderful tribute to your children. I thank them for their service, too. You must be VERY proud of them!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Bless them--and you--for the sacrifice for our country!