Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Sailor Girl - Part I

After reading about my friend Skippy's post about her girl getting ready to go off to college (you can read it here), I knew that I just had to post about Amy going off to boot camp. This girl was never on time for anything, no matter what time of day it started. The high school had a recording that parents of tardy students got to hear each day that their student was late for class. We were privileged enough to hear it every day of the week. That was fun. I got to where I just would answer it, wait for the recording to start, and then hang up. I never excused her. It didn't matter. She didn't care. She was still going to be late. Funny thing is, she got excellent grades and her teachers loved her. Go figure...

Imagine my surprise when she said she was joining the Navy. Yeah, right... Taking orders from others was never one of her strong suits. And, obviously, she had a problem with being punctual. I didn't see those things as being something that would work in her favor for boot camp.
(But, she was a really cute kid, wasn't she???)

She had originally said she wanted to join the Air Force. We have a base right in Wichita so that was nice - not sure that she would ever get stationed there, but who knows. They wouldn't talk to her because she was only 17 at the time. They told her to wait until she was 18 to talk to them about the delayed entry program. Then, her older brother decided to join the Navy and he left for boot camp in August 1998. When we went to his graduation ceremony in October, she turned to me and said (basically), "That's it. I'm joining the Navy. They have better uniforms." Yes, you got it - she was concerned with fashion and she didn't like the Air Force uniforms.

We got back home and she contacted the Navy recruiters and they would talk to her. Got her entered into the delayed entry program (DEP) and told her if she did all of the criteria AND got a friend to sign up, too she'd enter as an E-3 instead of an E-1. This seemed like a good idea so she talked one of her acquaintances at school into joining (this girl wasn't even a good friend - and she was a Pentecostal "never had a haircut or wore jeans" girl).

August 1999 rolled around way too fast for me. I was sending my baby girl off to God-only-knew-what and where. I remembered the stories that Shaun had told from basic training and, honestly, they were awful. I wasn't sure that Amy could (or would) take it. We did get a few hairy letters (she was homesick and it was harder than she thought) and a frantic call one weekend that had me calling the recruiter and complaining. She was sick - and I mean really sick - and her Recruit Chief Petty Officer and Division Yeoman had been screaming obscenities at her because she was coughing and could not stop. They were very much out of line and saying things that sounded very much like they intended to physically harm her. I saw fire and I called the recruiter (I was KCMO at my sister's and my other sister had tracked me down there because when Amy couldn't get me on the phone, she called Kris - in hysterics) in Wichita. He called the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, IL and lodged a complaint and before those two could spin, they were being called on the carpet and threatened with being sent home if they didn't can their crap.

Come to find out, they were pretty jealous of Amy. My girl is smart. Very smart. We got to the basic training graduation ceremonies to find out that she had been the TOP recruit out of over 800 and was being recognized in the graduation and was receiving an award.

Sons of the American Revolution Academic Excellence Award

She received the Sons of the American Revolution Academic Excellence Award for scoring the highest overall of any of the recruits. That was quite an accomplishment since some of the tests that she took she hadn't studied for because of her other duties.

She was also her division's Master at Arms and did find that she was good at something else...


Giving orders....

4 comments:

Bouncin' Barb said...

That's a fantastic story. You and Skippy should write a post together!!

Donna B said...

Great story! Any chance you can give me some tips on scanning old pics? My copier will scan, but my pics don't turn out as nicely as yours!

Thisisme. said...

That is a fantastic story, Teresa, and didn't your girl do well! Excellent.

Marla said...

What a great story!!! Thanks for sharing it with us.