Mondays–V3E4– Bootcamp Graduation

This past week, the Great Hunter stayed home with our fur girls while my daughter and I went to Columbia,  South Carolina for my granddaughter’s graduation from basic training at Fort Jackson. Fort Jackson is the U.S. Army’s main center for combat training; training fifty percent of all soldiers and 60 percent of women recruits. 45,000 men and women become Army soldiers from Fort Jackson. Being on the East coast, the sun was just coming up when we got to Hilton Field for the Family Day ceremony. It was weird to see palm trees while wearing a heavy coat and gloves and carrying blankets. Doesn’t palm trees and sunshine mean warm weather?

It was freezing both mornings we gathered at Hilton Field; on Wednesday for Family Day and Thursday for graduation. The Family Day ceremony was, and I can’t think of the right word…awesome, moving, tear-jerking…from the playing of Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be An American” to the troops entering the field through a cloud of smoke. It was one time I was happy to be wearing a mask because the combination of the mask and my sunglasses hid the fact that I cried most of the program.

Family Day was the first time since the recruits arrived for basic training that they were allowed away from their unit but they were not allowed to leave the base. And what do most young women want to do? Even women wearing combat boots? Go shopping, of course. But instead of frilly, girly things, these young women were buying more comfortable boots and uniforms that fit better and toiletries that were not standard army issue.

My granddaughter met some amazing young women and we were privileged that one of the young women, who had been chosen as Soldier of the Cycle, spent the two days with us. Her parents weren’t able to attend, so we were more than happy to be her surrogate parents. There is a saying…

When we surround ourselves with positive, successful people they consciously (and subconsciously) challenge us to be our best selves.

I’m so very proud of her and I know she will continue to succeed.  She goes now to AIT (Advanced Individual Training) but this time, only two hours from home.

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