As your son/daughter get into the final preparations for reporting to Indoctrination this week, you are going through a tough time as well. There is a lot of "unknown" going on, and as you try to be strong and supportive, you're probably trembling on the inside. When I took the boy to Kings Point, it was the day before Indoc, and neither of us had ever been there before - no tours, no clandestine visits, nothing. We went to the bbq the night before, and as we were walking around campus, this seemingly huge Midshipman stopped my son and looked him in the eye and say, "son, are you coming to school here tomorrow?" Is2day looked him back in the eye and said "Yes sir I am". The young man smiled, shrugged, and just said, "well, you give 'em hell". That was pretty much our first introduction to Kings Point. That night we feasted on hamburgers and made a couple of trips to the CVS for those last minute things that we forgot (safety pins, etc). He had a hard time sleeping, but, truth be told, I don't think I slept at all. The next morning, we awoke and got ready for the unexpected. I believe the report time was until about 1000, so we planned to "hit it in the middle" around 9:00 or so. It was a long drive.... When we arrived, there where people everywhere, all of them seeming to know exactly what to do - except us. My soon to be candidate put on his game face and with a huge backback on his shoulders, and a box fan in his hand, turned around and said, "love ya Pop!". Somehow, I managed to snap a picture - a picture that is on my desk right now He went into the blur of activity that surrounds a newbie - I, on the other hand, wandered aimlessly around, not knowing what to do. I was directed to the "rope", where the kids were bursting out and holding up fingers for the company they were assigned to. My boy came out and I got a glimpse of him being attacked by the two DIs that were waiting...ok...attacked is the wrong word. They were there to offer correction as needed and to provide him with the information necessary to become an integral part of the Regiment. We were then directed to the auditorium where we listened to some history, a little PR, and finally a Q&A session by the RC and the RXO. After that, we were able to observe lunch muster (from a distance), which already showed a transition - the candidates were yelling in unison, standing at attention, and already seemed to be settling in. Admiral Stewart gave a speech at the top step of Delano - welcoming the new class. As they filed in for lunch, we were turned away...a sad time indeed. As I was walking out of the area, I happened across Admiral Stewart, who could sense my "fear". It was then that he did something that I will always remember him for. He said, "Sir, my father did the same thing in 1960 that you are doing right now, and I turned out ok". He told me that he would take care of the boy and not to worry. Easier said than done - it was a long plane ride back to Colorado, and I was very emotional - very unfair and selfish of me, because I knew that he was embarking on the experience of a lifetime. Needless to say, Indoc was a blur. I spent hours on the web site, looking through photos and downloading those that included him. The first phone call came, followed by a few letters, and before I knew it, Indoc was over. We couldn't wait for Parent's Weekend, when we could spend time with him once again - but that's a story for another day. Right now you guys are going through the EXACT same thing I, and countless others, have gone through. It doesn't make it easier, but this is just the start of a great time. Indoc, Acceptance, Recognition, finishing the first year, the first Sea Year, the second Sea Year, License, and graduation! We made it through the first two relatively unscathed and can't believe how time has flown. It's going to be an emotional few weeks - no doubt. But trust the fact that, as parents, you have provided many years of guidance and instruction that will allow your kids to thrive in this new environment. For some, it's old hat, coming from a military/academy background. For others, like me, we had no idea what to expect and have been pleasantly surprised. The boy ain't a boy any more. I still look at that picture. But next to it is a picture of him standing in the exact same place in his khakis - giving 'em hell. Hang in there parents - we're all here for you, whether it's to help answer a question or just be a friendly email address.