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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Recruit Training Graduation - A Brother's Story

Posted By: Kim Clark 11-19-11

 

That first hug after 13 weeks apart.

Tears all around.

Brothers together again - can you see the admiration in the littlest one? :)

Current and future Marines...all three of them.

Nice pose for the camera.

Together again...and trouble is brewing behind those smiles.

And things are finally back to normal!

Everyone is happy. :)

Two brothers, 14 months apart, the best of friends. For 17 years, life for them has always been the same; never apart and experiencing everything together that life has to offer. Playing together, growing together, school, friends, sports. At ages 13 and 14 they joined the USNSCC (United States Naval Sea Cadet Corp.) They trained together, got promoted together, taught trainings together, achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer together. Life, for them, was always together.

They both have the same goal of joining the Marines, and when the oldest was 17, he joined the DEP, was sworn in, and suddenly found himself taking his first step into life as an adult, alone, without his brother. It was ok, though. He had a year to prepare for his future, and they were able to forget what that next step was going to lead to. Time went by, and life was normal. Graduation day came, and the oldest turned 18 shortly after. He found out his RT date (end of July), so we knew we had the entire summer to accept that he was leaving.

June holds lots of birthday's in our family, so we were happily distracted from that up and coming date. He was working until his leave time, and everything seemed good...until June 28.

Mid-morning, I get a call from him. He says, "Mom, my recruiter just called and wants to know if I can leave for RT tomorrow." Can you imagine my heart at that news? I wanted to tell him NO WAY! I'M NOT READY! But he already knew that, and said that he would pass and tell them no if I wanted him to, for me. When he said that, I knew I couldn't say no. He was ready. "JJ, it's your life, and if you're ready, I support you 100%. No, I'm not ready, but you tell them yes, if that's what you want to do." Ok, so maybe I wasn't quite that eloquent, and was probably a little more emotional, but the meaning was the same. :)

I start making calls to get all the things in line that needed taken care of before he left. A few minutes later, I get another call. "Mom, my recruiter made a mistake." I'm thinking woohoo! He isn't leaving yet! "Mom, he meant today, not tomorrow. I would have to be there in four hours." FOUR HOURS?? How did we go from a month to four hours? I was definitely not ready for that!

Imagine trying to get a month's worth of stuff done in four hours. It was crazy! I started calling all of our family, first shocking them with the news, and then asking them to drop everything and meet us at the hotel for an impromptu going away party.

A few hours later, at the hotel, everyone has made it, and everyone is wearing the same blank look, trying to hold it together for JJ's last eve home. As the night winds down, people start leaving, until eventually it's just us and him. We stay the night and meet him at 4:30 a.m. for his departure. Everyone cries, holding him as long as they can when it's their turn to hug. He needs to leave, so we give our last congrats, good-bye's, I love you's, and let him go. I watch him walk away, and I can see his smile getting bigger through his tears, and a bounce coming to his step, because he is ready for his future, ready to be a Marine. We all go home, still in shock from the whirlwind of a day, not able to process that he is actually gone, and not coming back to stay anymore.

13 weeks...that's how long RT is in the Marines. 3 brief phone calls, incredibly intense, and a few letters. That's all we’ve had of him for 13 weeks. It was hard for us all, but especially his brother. He says he's doing ok. He misses him but he's accepting it. (Yeah, whatever!)

Family Day finally comes, and we are all there for him. They do the motivational run, and we see him for the first time, but can't talk to him yet. I sob, but his brother is doing pretty well. They get released for the day, and we go out behind the stands to meet him...and it happens.

His brother goes to give him a hug...and that's when they both realize just how much they have missed each other, how hard this time has been for them both, and how unprepared they were for this step into the future without each other to lean on. They hug long and hard, and they cry. Are they ready for this time in life? Yes, they are, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

Seventeen years together, a bond of brother's, strong enough to last over the miles and years to come, close enough to accept anything life will throw at them, and still make it through...together.

People have asked me how I could allow them to train from such a young age to kill, and how I could let them join the military. I always just say that being in the USNSCC (www.iowacadets.org) was something they enjoyed and gave them the ability to experience things that most kids their ages don’t get to do, and that I am proud that they want to join the Marines. (The middle boy is currently in the DEP for the USMC.) What I want to say is, “MY sons don’t train to kill. They train to serve, and to protect their country and the people that live here. MY sons will be the ones risking their lives to make sure people like you get to keep that freedom to condemn me for the way I raised them. Am I ashamed? Heck no. I am, and always will be, a proud mother of MARINES.”

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Comments (24)

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Angel Sovia Avatar

Other

You should have receive a letter from him with his address about ten days after his ship date. As far as him being a different person, yes this is true. He will be better, he will have good morales and be very structured about everything he does. Dont worry just support his decision to become a respected and honorable person and give him all of the support you can. he will become very home sick while in boot camp and he will I stress WILL be doubting his decision just tell him how proud you are of him and how proud you are to be his girlfriend and help him to make his life transition.. May God bless all of you and thank you for your support to him. The Marines are the future of our country.

Posted by: Angel Sovia on 06/29/2012

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Shannen Loznao Avatar

Family

Made me cry like a baby me and my cousin have the same bond as these two were like brother and sister. And we just say oh my brother & oh my sister. I know its going to be hard when hes of to boot but this story just made me be stronger for him. And I can't imagine how you felt after he told he was leaving in a couple of hours. Semper Fi

Posted by: Shannen Loznao on 02/04/2012

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Well, it took me a while to be able to read through this and not cry! It was one of the hardest things I've done, saying I supported his decision to leave right away. I wanted to say NO! I'm not ready!! Lol. :)

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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1

 
 
 

joanne ashley Avatar

Spouse

I was reading your heartwarming story and tears just started pouring down my cheeks as I can feel your love and pride for your two boys and the boys' love for one another. I, too, have 2 boys 13 months apart and although they are still very young right now, I want to train them to be tough young men, physically and mentally. I just feel that aside from the necessary things that we must impart in them, they must have these in life to weather any storms that would come they're way. I agree with you they you did not train them to kill, people who said that are so close minded they don't see the big picture that while your boys are doing what they love, they grow as matured individuals as well. Congratulations on your boys! Semper Fi.

Posted by: joanne ashley on 02/04/2012

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Thank you so much! My oldest boy just left this morning from his leave post-deployment and pre-deployment again soon, and the changes I see in him are just amazing. The inner strength and maturity is amazing. I agree with you on how important it is to teach our children these things while they are young. I hope your boys grow strong and have a future they love and enjoy!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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Carlos Freitas Avatar

Former Marine

As Marines, we do not kill! We serve our country, and we do it with the highest standards. Now sometimes that means that we must defend our selves from incoming harm. So we do what we are trained to do and often that results in death. Of the enemy. Defense, is not killing! Defend or be killed.

RT 1979, still remember most of what I learned in those 13 weeks. and will still defend this country today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Carlos Freitas on 01/24/2012

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11

 
 
 

Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Amen to that! :) I absolutely agree...in order to have peace, there must at times be war. It's the way things are, and it's people like you, and my boys, that understand what that means and are willing to give their life for that belief. Thank you so much for your service!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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Madison Durow Avatar

Former Marine

I totally agree with what the mother said. We as Marines are trained to serve, to protect our country and the people who live here. We are a brotherhood, of men and women, who will always stand proud, for our dedication to this country and for all it stands for. Once a Marine, always a Marine. We earned our title and we will always remain proud, will always be Marines.
Congratulations to all Marines, former and new.
Semper Fi
Madison

Posted by: Madison Durow on 01/22/2012

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Some people will never understand that concept, and I am very proud of my son, and my other sons who will be Marines someday, and of every man and woman in the military for the sacrifices you are all willing to make for us, and this country. Thank you for that!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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Frank Autry Avatar

Former Marine

Semper Fi!

Posted by: Frank Autry on 01/19/2012

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7

 
 
 

Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Absolutely! :)

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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Angel Sovia Avatar

Other

oorah!!

Posted by: Angel Sovia on 06/29/2012

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Jodi Kutzli Avatar

Mother

Thank you so much for posting your story. I am the very PROUD single Mother of a Marine recruit who just left 2 days ago. I got the same phone call Tues. morning from a frantic boy. I rushed home from work, picked his sister up from school, and literally had 10-15 minutes saying goodbye. Talk about turning your world upside down in a few brief moments. My heart burns with emptiness, but at the same time is completely filled with pride! I'm planning the long trip now for the graduation that I wouldn't miss for the world!! I can't wait to see him transformed into a man....a United States Marine! I know how it feels to have one son join.....God bless you for having another one join! God bless our brave boys!

Posted by: Jodi Kutzli on 01/19/2012

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

It's such a mix of emotions! I felt the same way - so proud but so empty! I know you have seen him by now, and I can only imagine how wonderful that moment was for you! Congratulations new Marine mom! :)

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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1

 
 
 

Joseph Lindsay Avatar

Former Marine

Semper Fi, from a Retired Marine who has a son currently on active duty in the Marine Corps.

Posted by: Joseph Lindsay on 12/29/2011

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Wonderful to hear it's continuing in the family! Thank you for your service, and him for his currently!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 05/06/2012

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

THANK YOU for all of the comments and stories! I'm honored by your reply, Carolyn...as I am from everyone that left a message...thank you. It's hard to see all three of them taking the same path, and hard to encourage it sometimes, but I have always driven them to find their own path in life, and to go where they feel led to be. Little did I know that would mean the Marine Corps for them all.... :) but I am absolutely proud of my oldest that is a Marine, and of my other two that will be. What better choice in life can these kids of ours make, than to freely give their all to protect the people of this country?! Only us parents of military kids can understand that decision, and congrats to you all for being supportive and encouraging to your children as well!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 12/04/2011

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Wayne Springer Avatar

Father

WOW Kim. That is an awesome story. Reminds me of my son and how much his little brother missed him when he left for RT at Parris Island in 2009. Thanks for sharing!
Proud Marine Father

Posted by: Wayne Springer on 11/24/2011

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Julie Ollivier Avatar

Mother

Thank you for sharing your touching story. My son and our family had a similar experience with the speed in which my son left for boot camp. My son did not join while in high school. He was in college, ran into a HS buddy who had joined the Air Force. My son was inspired by his friend and decided to join the Marine Corps. I thought his path was decided and this decision came out of no where. He spoke to a recruiter and was given a ship date of early Jan 2012. We too thought we had time to accept his decision and celebrate the holidays together before he left. Then the phone call came at the end of Sept. He was offered to leave in 4 days. Your conversation with your son resonated with me. That moment comes when we have to let our babies go to become men. I'm thankful my son looked to me and allowed me the privilege to share that moment with him. It's a moment I will never forget. It is when he became a man and defined his path for his future. He put his education on hold and was gone off to boot camp within 2 weeks of speaking to the recruiter. What a whirl wind!!! My boys have never been apart for more than a day or two. They are missing each other terribly. They didn't realize how much they meant to each other until now. These holidays will be hard without him but we know they will be harder for my son who is at Parris Island now. We look forward to those special moments of being reunited at graduation in early Jan. 2012.

Posted by: Julie Ollivier on 11/23/2011

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Linda Schellentrager Avatar

Mother

A great story! The photo says it all. WOW! Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Linda Schellentrager on 11/22/2011

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Carolyn  Alvarado Avatar

Mother

Kim,
I can only say I would love to meet such a strong woman that has raised son's to do what most wont do & thats to give me my freedom. Your story has made me cry & laugh & I know how hard it was for you & your family. I want to say thank you to your son & to you. Welcome to the Proud Marine Family, Marine Mom....

Posted by: Carolyn Alvarado on 11/22/2011

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Don Pjr Avatar

Father

OORAH and SEMPER FI MOM. As the father of a Rct soon to be a MARINE on 2DEC 11, I have been asked similar questions about letting our son become a MARINE. Or , did he do that because he could'nt go to college. etc. I believe those are the parents who do not and will not ever understand the pride of being the "PROUD PARENT OF A MARINE".


Don P, PHilly , pa

Posted by: Don Pjr on 11/22/2011

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Carolyn  Alvarado Avatar

Mother

I agree 100% Don, you have to stong, smart, & very brave to do what our Marines do...

Posted by: Carolyn Alvarado on 11/28/2011

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Kim Clark Avatar

Mother

Congrats on your new U.S. Marine, Don P, and the day will come before you know it, Julie, when your son graduates...it's an incredible moment. I can't tell you how it feels, you just have to experience it. Seeing your child out there, with all of those other new Marines...it's just amazing! Thanks also Wayne and Linda, for sharing your thoughts!

Posted by: Kim Clark on 12/04/2011

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