Summer Update on Our Marine!

After a summer hiatus, I plan to resume regular posts to keep you up to date both on our Marine and the Marine Corps in general.

Sean’s Grandma Jean

We enjoyed an unexpected visit from him in June, but the circumstances stunk. Bruce’s mom, who had been battling cancer since February, suffered a series of strokes in late May. We kept Sean posted via email as the situation developed. When the doctors told everyone, “Now’s the time to come and say goodbye,” I immediately called the American Red Cross (ARC).

Many people don’t know of the ARC’s secondary mission. When an active duty serviceperson has a family emergency, the ARC takes the lead in contacting the hospital and doctors, getting their assessment of the situation, and informing the serviceperson’s command. (This is particularly critical when the serviceperson is deployed in a remote location.)  In fact, the San Antonio ARC office has such a department that operates 24/7.

I gave all the details to the ARC, and they contacted the hospital within the hour. (We told Sean via text message, but he couldn’t really do anything until the official word came down.) They gathered all the particulars, and contacted Sean’s unit. Sean’s unit really expedited getting him home. (He had to buy the ticket, but they had to grant him the leave.) He arrived in Houston within 36 hours, which is pretty amazing when you consider the actual flight time.

He arrived in Houston in time to spend some time with Grandma, give her warm hugs, and tell her goodbye. She knew who he was and was very happy he was there. We had him for a whole week before he had to return. Jean passed away three days later, but was here during the most important time—to tell her goodbye.

When he returned to Okinawa, he resumed his interrupted annual rifle qualification. He’s still active with several Christian groups on or near base, and he went on a campout a few weeks ago to an uninhabited Japanese island.

Sean on his first open water dive. Yes, that’s the Vulcan salute.

He has also completed his scuba certification! He has wanted this since we went to Hawaii, where he got to “snuba,” a kind of cross between scuba and snorkeling. (The tank is on a float at the surface of the water, and he breathed through a long tube, all under the supervision of a certified diver.) He really enjoyed the beauty and serenity underwater and wanted a way to experience more. Apparently Okinawa has some of best diving in the region, and he’s looking forward to going out with his friends when time permits.

Overall, he’s doing well and getting adjusted to the much different routine of life, both in the military and overseas. We hope to meet him somewhere in the next year or so for a joint vacation (an Alaskan cruise is a leading candidate). But it’s too soon to make plans.

We stay in touch via text, Facebook, and Skype, for which I am tremendously grateful. The worst part of our being in Germany was not seeing my extended family. At least I can stay in touch with him and see that he’s OK. That makes it easier.

Next up: I’ll tell you a little more about typhoon season, which also runs June through November, just like ours. Unlike our region, though, Okinawa sees a fair bit of action.

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Posted on August 13, 2012, in III MEF, Military Parent, US Marine Corps and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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