A Most Welcome Mother’s Day Skype Call
Coordinating Skype calls has proven a challenge. The fourteen-hour time difference puts us almost exactly out of the work/evening/sleep phase from each other. We’ve discovered that we need to coordinate a time via text or email; usually, one of us has to wake up earlier on a weekend morning than we’d prefer.
Nevertheless (and despite a crummy connection, since everyone else in the world was also calling his mother), we had a lovely Mother’s Day chat. We could hear him just fine, even if his movements appeared spastic.
He continues to look and sound good, even though we often catch him at times when he’s sleepy or has had a long day. He finally started the Humvee course (that’s not technically the correct term, but HMMWV is ridiculous, even by military standards). It might sound routine, but it’s not. Before he could even get into the vehicle, he had to complete several online courses. Plus a military Hummer is much bigger than a Japanese car (his 2.5 tons vs. their 1 ton), and the roads are not exactly super-highway size. AND they drive backwards over there. But the license looks good on his record.
At boot camp, he earned his “expert” marksmanship badge, and now that a year has passed (!!), he must requalify. He has several practice opportunities (IT guys not having a lot of opportunity during their workday to fire a rifle, recalcitrant computers notwithstanding). Then he heads out to the range for qualification.
“Exercise season” (didn’t know there was such a thing) begins in August. Basically, military exercises present specific scenarios that units may face, and they practice their duties over a specific period of time (much like a mass casualty exercise you hear about on the local news). He participates in an on-island exercise in August. He hasn’t heard yet if he will head to Korea for the annual exercise in November. I was excited for him, until he (and my Korea-veteran father-in-law) told me about the miserably cold and damp weather that time of year. He already has his cold-weather gear.
As he gains experience (he has only been on station about three months), he gets more responsibilities and less “grunt work.” As newer Marines report in, he’ll move off the bottom of the totem pole, and that situation should improve further.
On the personal side, he built a super-gaming computer from scratch (he named it “Bruce,” in honor of his dad), he plans to take scuba lessons (the diving there is supposed to be amazing), and he has started looking into attending an online seminary.
We keep up with Marine news via Marine Corps Times and the (often-sluggish) USMC website. Budget and Defense Authorization Bill are currently generating lots of bloviating from both sides of the aisle (and the Pentagon).
I also discovered a Twitter account, @okinawamarines, from the Okinawa USMC Public Affairs office. They publish a weekly newspaper so I can keep up with what’s going on in his world. I’ve learned that the base theaters run first-run movies (he loved The Avengers), the Navy operates a typhoon mapping and warning site, and Marines from his unit just completed the scout swimmers course.
We haven’t started making plans yet for a visit to the Pacific. He needs to get a better idea of his schedule and leave situation before we can even begin those discussions. But I suspect we’ll be headed out that way in the next year or so.
Next up: reflections on Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, this year with a son in the service.
–Mighty Marine Mom
Posted on May 23, 2012, in III MEF, Marine Times Newspaper, Military Parent, US Marine Corps and tagged exercise, HMMWV, Humvee, Korea, marksmanship, rifles, scuba, seminary, skype, typhoon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.