A Marine Mom Shares Her Perspectives on USMC Boot Camp

marine mom heartMarine mom, Mary M., talks about what it was like when her son went to Marine Corps Recruit Training.

  1. Describe the overall experience of being a mom of a Marine recruit/new Marine.

[I had] lots of apprehension. We really didn’t know anything [about what could happen]. My son shipped out to boot camp only a month and a half after 9/11. There was lots of fear and uncertainty.

I was nervous…just because of the uncertainty. The whole family prayed. Eventually my other sons told me not to be so worried.

But I was confident in my son for choosing the Marines.

I was very proud. He had the drive to do something beyond making a paycheck and that benefitted society. To do something that impacted the greater good, rather than just himself.

  1. What was your biggest concern?

Uncertainty, and being so far away. I wasn’t afraid of him being trained with guns or anything.

[I was] pleased that his first assignment was Japan, instead of Iraq or Afghanistan. But he did deploy to Afghanistan, years later.

  1. What were some of the challenges of keeping in touch with your son while he was at boot camp?

The recruiters had prepared us well, to know that we would have very little contact with our son except through ‘snail mail.’ We knew not to send snacks or any sort of contraband. And we knew we couldn’t contact him directly. We’d have to go through the recruiters, and follow proper channels.

The letters we received were basically form letters with his handwriting.

  1. What were some highlights for you from the whole experience?

Marine GraduationNumber one was graduation. It is one of the best experiences I’ve had. Being there…seeing the precision of the drills. It was amazing.

We had a lot of family there. Both sets of grandparents; all our other sons; and some extended family. Even a great uncle who was a Marine in World War II. He fought on Saipan.

  1. Did you connect with other moms or parents?

We had that kind of contact and community years later, but not really during boot camp. But I always had my ears open, to find someone going through the same things.

If we had really good internet service [at that time], it would have been easier to find a ‘tribe.’

  1. If you were to offer advice to new Marine moms and families, what would it be?

Connect with other families and parents of soon-be-Marines. It’ll really help to have a community of support while your child is at boot camp. And those relationships could really help down the road. Internet and social media really make this easy nowadays.

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