My nephew Zach made it through basic training. He graduates on Friday but today his mom, Gloria, and I attended the Turning Blue Ceremony.
Commander Beachman opened the shindig with a slide presentation. I'd call it a briefing but when it comes to the military, briefings are a misnomer. Still, there was standing room only at the family orientation.
I met a man from Pennsylvania who had two sons graduating. One was 27 and the other 29. He said he wouldn’t have been so surprised if they had done this out of high school, but it’s different when they are older. The economy is lending to the upsurge in recruitment.
It isn’t affecting the number of hats people are buying, however. I saw several women wearing hats today.
But take my word for it, this last gal? It wasn’t her hat that everyone was staring at. Especially those troops who hadn’t seen a girl for 10 weeks. At Sand Hill, there isn’t a girl in sight, except the cashiers at the PX.
The Cmdr. said the Turning Blue Ceremony signified the move from recruit to the Infantry. He said the training of previous generations was inadequate, but now the military has seen the errors of their ways and are now acting as “coaches, teachers and mentors” and turning out “products” “Mules” “House” & a “weapon system” that knows how to “destroy the target.”
The Cmdr. noted that there had been “a lot of injuries to lower extremeties” due to the intense training. I translated that for Gloria: “That means he busted their balls.”
As the Cmdr. continued to give a detailed explanation of all the ways these boys had become men in the past 14 weeks, men capable of taking the lead in battle, I walked outside and noticed this sign which tickled me. So, let me get this straight. These men, the ones who are going to fight the war on terror, have to have a sign to remind them not to hurl lugis in public? Shouldn’t they have learned that in first-grade? I’m just saying…
Other than all that it was a very moving ceremony. Gloria began to weep soon as she saw her boys. I made friends with a couple of little girls, one knick-named Tater Head who stood up during the ceremony and yelled out in her loudest 3-year old voice, “HEY CHRISTOPHER.” And another, Abgail, who came dressed to the hilt with matching purse and all for her brother’s ceremony.
It was very sweet. All of it. We are all proud of Zachary for making it through Basic Training.
Is that the best spit-shine you could manage, Son?
Gloria got to put the blue cord on her boy.
Abigail brought along her beautiful purse to her brother’s ceremony.
And what kind of Infantryman would let a woman walk in heels across a muddy field? Here, Miss, lemme give you a hand with that.