Our 19-year-old son had been talking about joining the Navy for over half his life. I was never sure where this interest came from, though we did dress him as Gilligan for his first Halloween and he was a big fan of the NCIS series.
The chatter slowed down a bit during his last couple of years of high school, so I was, admittedly, a bit surprised when he told us in November that he was going to meet with a recruiter. He signed a contract a couple of visits later.
The photo above is from after lunch on the day of his recent boot camp graduation. It was great to visit with him for a scant few hours before he had to ship out for his speciality training the next morning.
Graduation weekend also prompted a nostalgic rush of distant memories of my tenure as a Navy brat. I hadn’t been on a US Navy base since I aged out of my “Dependent” status in my early 20s. (My last visit to any military facility is described here. I’m grateful that the Department of Defense didn’t ban me from all of its installations after that terrible joke.)
The graduation guests from other military branches, in dress uniforms, reminded me of living on “Military Road” in Connecticut between the ages of 3 and 8. Many of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who lived there had special assignments and commuted to places like Hartford, or New London, on a daily basis, or (as in my father’s case) Brooklyn on a weekly basis.
It was like I had my own personal collection of living GI Joe dolls.
Also, I hadn’t been to the Chicagoland area all that much in recent years. I’m still stunned that one of my occasional downtown lunch/Bulls game spots–Timothy O’Toole’s–has several locations in the suburbs….what?!? And they now serve Teriyaki bowls (it seemed so wrong, but tasted so right).
Anyway….I digress. Our son shipped out for his speciality training in another region of the country. I wish him and his shipmates fair winds and following seas.