thank you for all who shared their experience and insight

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by educateme, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I am learning that there are other benefits of ROTC that I did not anticipate. My son told us that as one of a rare scholarship holders in the battalion full of freshmen cadets joining the program without a scholarship, he needs to make sure that he doesn't slack off. He wants to make sure that he deserved the scholarship and he will try to earn it again and again everyday by becoming the very best he can be. He prepared well all throughout the summer to pass the APFT with flying colors.

    He plans to join the ranger challenge team. Most of his freshmen friends are partying and all that, but he says he simply won't have the time for it and will stay away from that. Funny, he is the kind of a kid who could easily be the partying type. Here is a kid who made it into an art form to do minimum school work in HS almost like "let's see if I can still get an A without lifting a finger" (of course, he fell flat on his face with this approach in a few classes) Now, he says he is preparing for a few hours before each class, because among other things, GPA is so important for his branch choice.

    There is NO WAY I could have pontificated enough to make him do all these. It's a beautiful thing to watch a young man doing his best for the goal he set. I was very ambivalent about his career choice (being in harms way, that is), but I realize that he has always been right on this.

    I thank all the posters on this board that shared their insight and experience so that I could help him navigate through this whole process.
     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Sounds like you've got a terrific kid!!!! Love the ranger challenge part!

    And thank you, too, for remaining active on SAF and sharing your own insights and experiences with this process with the aim of helping all the other great kids and parents on this site who are just now going down the road that you've travelled. Sure is nice and satisfying to "Pay It Forward!" :thumb:
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Just wait, come Thanksgiving you will be beaming ear to ear because the kid you dropped off in August warped into an adult when you pick them up in Nov. By May you will look at them and realize ROTC created a person you, yourself always wanted to be.


    Stay here, not for your child, but for posters who need hand holding or reality checks. Sometimes you will be the hard arse and have to say negative things. Sometimes you will be that soft landing spot to say you will survive, we did!

    Time for payback. Your wisdom, experience and insight cannot be quantified.
     
  4. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Good to see that he is motivated. Just a suggestion, GPA is very important for branching choice however what is even more important is major choice (realistic). A lot of MS Is come in thinking they will do 20 years. This opinion will change through out the 4 years. Make sure he has a plan for the civilian world as well. This is the biggest thing I have learned in 4 years of ROTC. I just talked to a pre med major today and we both decided RC was not a optimal extra curricular he should consider because of his already large work load.
     
  5. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Couldn't agree more with that statement!
     
  6. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I do take the "take back" obligation seriously. I benefited a lot from other parents and cadets. I would like to help too.

    This is a critical time for a lot of new candidates. Some of who went through this process can provide meaningful insight.
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    My two son's could not be more opposite of each other.

    The older on, a MS4 went into college not having a clue what he wanted to be when he grew up. That hasn't changed too much throughout college. His plan he says is to figure it out and go to grad school for what he decides, Law achool, International Business...ect...it's a coin toss at this point. The only thing he knows for sure right now is that he want's to fly, of course that decision came to him the last 2 weeks of his CTLT. It has been a scramble and a lot of phone calls but he was able to get the OK to request Aviation if he got his Physical and tests done by Sept. 7th, physical was today so he just squeaked it in. His scores put him in the top 10% over the last 3 years OML's so he's hoping it happens again this year, at least it will take the stress out of it a bit. After all this, well who knows. It's sometimes hard for young people to know right away what they want.

    Now the younger one, MS1, has wanted to be involved with Politics since he was old enough to understand what was going on, he of course is a Poly Sci major....of course that could all change, and of course he wants to fly as well, has known that since he was 10. His measurements didn't work for the Navy or Air Force, he wanted fighters, so Army it is and Helo's are his goal.

    All we can do is watch the parade of different decisions and changing of minds and support them with whatever they decide.

    The boards will be brutal this year, it will be nice for new applicants to hear the experiences of those who weathered last year in one peice.
     
  8. yesmar

    yesmar Member

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    I could have written this post

    Boy - I read this and thought - Did I write this? Ditto for my son. He too worked like crazy this summer in the heat and humidity and didn't slack off even when we went on vacation. I think a little more is expected of him being one of a few scholarship cadets and he is so far fulfilling those expectations.
    I too could give him all my wisdom but what they figure out on their own far and above carries more weight that anything a parent, peer or teacher preaches. I support him 100% in his career choice - I want him to do what he wants to do - I know he will have a much better chance of success picking his own career path than following what mom and dad want. "Harm's way" - what isn't dangerous these days?

    Thank you all too. If I can be of any help to any other hopefuls, I'd be glad to.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That is the perfect attitude. As a wife of an AF flier, and now a Mom with a son that has a UPT slot, people always asked:

    "Aren't you worry that they will die?"

    Of course I am. However, I came to terms with this idea a long time ago and it is called Fate and Faith. If God wants them, I can lock them in a closet and they will still die that day, because that is their fate.

    That only left me with one option, to support them because I would rather they live their life happy, than miserable because of my fear.

    Truly loving someone is placing their desires above your own.

    I wish all of your children the most happiness in this world. I hope that these next 4 yrs will be great it goes so fast.
     
  10. alparent

    alparent Member

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    WoW! That's powerful! Thank you!
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Just keep repeating it to yourself, trust me there will be times when you will want them to bolt.

    Honestly, I have told this story, but I think it needs repeating so parents, GF/BFs get it.

    Bear with me.

    Feb.2, 1990. Friday night, First Friday squadron social function.

    Capt Cliff Massengill (AFA grad) had a 6 week old newborn and signed his separation papers. He sang the song "I will live to be 103" at the bar!

    Bullet was his "hard crew" mate. In other words they flew together no matter what.

    Sunday night, Bullet couldn't remember his "show time" called the base and was told he was off the schedule.

    Cliff goes to the hospital that day because it is the 1st day his wife returns back to work after maternity leave and delivers flowers.

    John Dorsett calls his folks before his flight, and tells them if I die today I died a happy man.

    Major Hyatt, gets sick and is DNIF.

    Cliff now is crewed with John.

    8 p.m. there is a door knock and it is our sponsor, with dread in his face as I opened it. Bullet said honey, go upstairs.

    Cliff and John crashed in the wash.

    Bullet was suppose to be on that jet with Cliffy. Major Hyatt was suppose to be on that jet with Doe.

    I delivered our DS 3 weeks later. He is going in the AF as a flier 2012. I learned before our DS was born that fate is fate, and you can't fight it.

    If you opt to worry about them and say it to them, you do nothing, but close the line of communication. The more you tell them you are living in fear for their life, the more they will shelter you by not telling what is occurring in their life.

    If you want them to be open to you, than be ready to hear these stories, and accept that it was their fate. Otherwise, expect silence.

    Your choice! You don't need to remind them of the downside, they live it daily!
     
  12. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Pima, thank you for sharing such a personal moment. I completely agree fate cannot be changed simply by chosing a "safer" lifestyle. My DH is a fireman - has been since age 18 - many times before we were married I swore I stand him up at the alter if he did not leave the firehouse. Long and short, I'm a cops kid and lived always wondering when Dad would not come home and didn't wish to have a spouse in public service. DH celebrated 25 years in service this past spring and this income is what keeps my family living indoors and taught me over those 25 years that loving him meant not standing in the way of his happiness.

    Two years ago our department suffered a huge loss, 2 firefighters lost their lives in a residential fire that should have routine, but wasn't. The fire was called in and trucks were toned out at 6:06 a.m., my husband's truck was the first responder- however, he was off duty at 6:00 a.m. so his replacement crew took the call. The two firefighters lost were the replacement crew. Six minutes - it changed everything. Obviously it wasn't his day to cash in, but the two that were lost are still on our minds each time he reports for duty. It is just how it is -

    My DS is his father's child - he would end up serving somehow, someway his community or country, maybe both by the time he's called to cash in - hopefully as a very old man with a long life of service behind him.

    I'm sure many others can share stories of how a few minutes changed everthing - a car accident, injury or other catastrophe. 9/11 is upon us, how many were spared or lost due a few minutes....God bless our troops directly in harms way and their families who wait for the minutes to pass.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Ohio, thank you for sharing your story, it reminds everyone here that it isn't just the military.

    We all hear about the 4K+ that have died. God bless and thank their souls, but realize statistically they are really at the same risk of being harmed like you or I.

    Between every branch we have approximately 2.2 million people serving. If you think about it from that way you realize the odds are on your side, and really is fate.
     
  14. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Agreed. The odds are on our side, but only cops and soliders get shot at, typically the firefighters are referred to as the "glory boys" since no one hates a firefighter(until recently)like they might the authority figure of a cop. Soliders, we don't hate our own, but our enemies sure feel special if they can take out a few of ours.:mad: Still wish my DS would have choosen fire service instead of military, but it ulitimately wasn't my choice to make.
     
  15. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I think a lot about my son's choice. He could have so many easy choices..... But I respect his wish. One essay he wrote for his college application (this school required like 6-7 essays long and short :eek: ) was about why he wants to serve, and one of the reasons was his belief that the responsibility of defending the country was not proportionally borne by all segments of the society and he felt the extra responsibility as a kid who grew up in a privileged environment, and he needs to give back some of his privilege by taking a potentially dangerous role in the society most of peers might eschew. I was quite moved. He turned out to be a more thoughtful human being than I ever was!
     
  16. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Yes, isn't nice to be impressed with the young man/lady who grew out of that little scrap of infant we brought home from the hospital, what seems like a few years ago...:wink: I have challenged DS's desire to serve everytime and way I could find. He defends his choice even against his momma's tears so I know it is honestly what he feels compelled to do also. Now that the decision has been made and he's living it he will have my unfaltering support and except for some experiences(like if he really ever does jump out of air plans...)he can talk about them, but please NO photos for mom. I still don't like photos of my DH on fire scenes, so DS can talk, but no actual images for my overactive worry spot:thumb:
     
  17. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    For what it's worth, I recall vividly how my mother once surprised me by showing up for my graduation from Airborne School. The ceremony was held on the drop zone on the last jump, and the attendees could all see the kiddos hit the ground and then earn their "blood wings" (a punch in the chest such that the posts on your wings pierce your chest and draw blood).

    I recall thinking at the time about my mother's attendance, "Now, that's embarrassing!" To this very day, though, it remains one of my fondest and most memorable moments of her.

    I think of this often as I share similar moments with my own DS.
     
  18. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    I hope I can be as brave as your mother if DS has this opportunity in his future. I might just close my eyes until its all over and he's safely on the ground:wink:

    We were fortunate to attend the branching ceremony last year at DS's school. Some were so "freaked out" about the punching on of the insignia, makes sense to me - if you can't shed a little blood there, you probably shouldn't be getting pinned:biggrin:
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I remember when Bullet earned his blood wings. He was with the 82nd, and had to jump with the Cherry helmet...sitting across him was Gen. Shelton, LHAO.

    It was a night jump, Bullet comes home and the next a.m. I see his entire shoulder/chest bruised, with umpteen whole because everyone made sure they pulled the wings out and re-set them again personally.

    I was married to him for 5 yrs as an AF wife, and this was just an OMG moment. I couldn't wrap my cranium around it.
     
  20. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    "I would rather they live their life happy, than miserable because of my fear."

    Thank you for those words... I'm starting to come across well intentioned and not so well intentioned people for which these words would be perfect.

    I've one more school year until DS commissions in the Army. Our house has become a NO FREE SPEECH zone. If a non supporter crosses my threshold they are expected to SHUT UP! Maybe I should just embroider your words on a pillow......:redface:
     

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