My Son Is At Navy Boot Camp
by Carl Willis | on November 16, 2011
My Son Is At Navy Boot Camp
Last Tuesday my oldest son arrived at Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, IL. Christopher has had a desire to enter the Navy since he was in his early teens. At age 14 he joined the Sea Cadets unit in Pittsburgh, PA, where we lived at the time, to get a head start on what he hoped would be his career. Christopher’s interest at the time was aviation. More than anything else he hoped he would someday get the opportunity to fly for the Navy. Midway through his Junior year, our family relocated due to my work and he switched from Sea Cadets into the NJROTC unit at his school. This proved to be very beneficial for him, as he was selected to receive a full ROTC scholarship to Prairie View A&M.
Once Christopher got to college, he had difficulty adjusting to the freedom of college and wound up struggling. His grades lagged and he soon found himself on academic probation. His Sophomore year did not go much better and at the beginning of the second semester, he found himself dis-enrolled and off of scholarship. This left him with two choices enlist or repay nearly $14,000 in scholarship money. After some soul searching he made the decision to enlist.
Navy Boot Camp – Everyone Starts On Level Ground
Although his experiences with ROTC have come back to haunt him on occasion, Navy boot camp is giving him a fresh start. Christopher goes in on equal footing with all of the other recruits. At 21, he will be one of the old men in the crowd, but other than that he looks like all of the other nervous young men and women arriving at Great Lakes. The beauty of the military training process is how quickly they are able to transform a group of individuals from all walks of life and all personality types into a cohesive unit of disciplined sailors. The privileges and obstacles of the outside world no longer helping or hindering the individual.
Navy Boot Camp – Transformation In Progress
My wife and I look forward to seeing Christopher at his graduation from Navy boot camp. We are very proud of him, but we also know that the mindset of the young man we dropped off a week ago will be much different from the mindset of the man we greet 8 weeks from now. I think every young man goes through a pivotal place in his life where he sheds his childlike leanings and assumes the responsibility of adulthood. For me this was done as I went through my police academy training in the early 90s at roughly the same age. For many others it is their time in military service. The finished product of this process, always comes away with greater focus, clarity and clearly defined goals for life. This is the thing I most look forward to as I watch Christopher in the years to come. What are the things he will do to leave his mark on the world. Our family has a long line of men who lived out such values as honor, duty and courage. It is rewarding to see the next generation embrace these values as well.