Our Marine is Hanging on at Infantry School

PFC Bray, USMC

PFC Sean in front of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor

“Duel of the Fates” (from Star Wars) blared from my phone this past Thursday night—a call from our Marine! His combat instructors allowed them some time for a call home to parents or loved ones, since they marched out into the field for six days on Friday.

The most important news: he will not fly to his tech school immediately upon graduation. Instead, he (and others) stays at Camp Pendleton on guard duty until the next class starts. He might wait days or weeks, maybe even a few months. Although restricted to base, he can call, text, or access the internet when off-duty, making it easier to keep in touch. Good thing we didn’t make definitive plans to drive his truck to the school.

Combat training hikes are more intense, more frequent, faster, steeper, and more loaded down than boot camp. Instead of “just” their packs, they also have to lug a set of bulletproof ceramic plating. (My shoulders droop just imagining how much that weighs.) “Physically, it’s just killer,” he said. But he has enjoyed things like urban combat training, and they fire the really cool weapons (like rocket launchers) next week. He worries about this weekend in the field. If a Marine falls out during a hike, he misses liberty to march a “remedial” hike. Calls home during liberty really energize Sean, and he does not want to miss it.

It surprises him (and us) how much he misses everyone. For the first time in his life, he doesn’t know when he will see his family and friends again, and it’s knocking him for a loop. We told him that we know it’s tough, but he will get through it. First you feel terrible, then you find out it won’t kill you, then you learn to deal with it. You must get through all three steps on your own time. Everyone who has ever left home deals with this. He’s reading his Bible and trying to keep busy, which are good coping strategies. He is learning what he’s capable of.

If he stays at Pendleton for longer than a few days, we’ll fly out for a visit. He greatly anticipates tech school, and a visit from family will help break up a (possibly boring) routine.

So now we wait to see if we get a phone call next week, when they return from the field on Wednesday. I’ll be OK if we don’t; I just hope he will be.

–Mighty Marine Mom

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Posted on September 10, 2011, in Marine Combat Training, Military Parent, US Marine Corps and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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