Friday, October 24, 2008

BCT has come to an end & a open letter

Today is the day. Christopher has finally finished BCT (Basic Combat Training) and will begin the last part of OSUT (One Station Unit Training). Today is the first day of Family Weekend and here I sit at home unable to be with my Soldier. How do I feel? PISSED. I have gotten over the heartbreak of this decision and have moved on to the Dammit part of the whole thing. So I sat down and wrote a letter that I will never mail but thought I would share it here.

To Whom It May Concern,
I understand that your job is hard, I have never walked in your shoes and I appreciate the fact that you are teaching my son, my Soldier, my hero how to become a Warrior, but with the utmost respect I have to tell you that today you are not my favorite person.
Rules are rules and discipline is discipline, Battle Buddies are for life and you have to have each other's backs at all times, these are things I understand. Maybe you have never walked in my shoes. I am a mother, a mother who misses the son that decided at 4 yrs old that he would grow up to be a United States Army Soldier. A son that until a little over 2 months ago was usually the first person I saw in the morning and the last person I saw at night. I MISS my son. Today begins Family Weekend for his troop and because of a stupid mistake that granted he made, we are all paying for. Has he not already paid for his mistake? He lost pay, he has had extra duty, he has not been allowed to make a phone call and now he doesn't even get to see his family. The Army takes 100's of young men from different backgrounds, different cities and states, with different beliefs and different opinions and they throw them all together and expect them to all conform at once to the Army way of life. Really? Is that what you think will happen? Again, I will state that it was his mistake, but it was a stupid mistake. No one was hurt, no one came to blows, no one put their hands on each other. Don't you think your punishment was just a little over the top?
These Soldiers will soon be sent to fight for their County, in a land that does not like them, does not believe like them and does not value their very existence. Some of these Soldiers will never return to the families that love and cherish them. However, because two young Soldiers in training made a stupid decision to see who clothes needed to be cleaner, they lost the opportunity to spend a few precious hours with their family.
I realize this is business and for most in charge this is not personal, and I am sure that what you see each day is one face that belongs to many different bodies. They all look alike and the only personality they have is Soldier. I am sure that at some point in time you were thought of the same way, you have paid your dues and now it is up to you to collect those dues from others. But I have to ask, deep down do you see the young men and women that have never been away from home before, the ones that believe with all their hearts and souls that this Country is worth giving their very lives for, the ones that really just need to hear a friendly voice every now and then, letters are great but a I love you and I am so proud of you coming from a voice they know and love is everything to them, do you see them? Do you think about the moms and dads at home that spend every waking moment wondering what they are going through. How their day is going, did they pass this test or that goal, are they cold, hot, hungry, getting any sleep, sick, hurt, upbeat or discouraged? Do you think about the ones that have younger brothers or sisters at home that cry when they get a letter because they miss them so much that their little hearts break because they just want a hug from them? As parents, we receive a letter from the CO when our Soldiers settle in to their troops that states that family encouragement is so important and that we need to write and tell our Soldiers that we support them 100 %, that phone calls are limited, all of this is true especially if limited is defined zero. And I understand that they are being trained for a very rough and dangerous job, but would a little personal contact be to much to ask for? I do write every day, I always tell him I love you, I miss you and I am so PROUD of you. I try to never send him anything but encouragement but letters take time and when you receive a letter saying I am worried about my pt test or I messed up my knee and have to go back to the Dr. in a week, how are we suppose to say, you can do this, you are stronger than you think or do what the Dr. tells you and get strong again when we know that by the time they receive this letter of encouragement this concern has already passed and they have moved on to another? Would you please tell me how we are suppose to deal with these things? We gave you our children, can't you please give us a moment with your Soldiers?
In closing, I would like to thank you for taking a moment to read my rants, explore my feelings and for training my son to be Army Strong. But I must tell you, you are not on my Christmas Card list and there will be nothing extra in your stocking this year.

Sincerely,
One very pissed off
Army Strong Mom.

6 comments:

Carla said...

I think you should mail it and put in there about the "Army Family" bulls**t is a lie!!!!

ABNPOPPA said...

AAM,

My heart goes out to you. Believe me when I say that. Both our boys are ARMY, one currently with the 82nd Airborne, the older left after his first enlistment. We got to see the youngest after BCT but not the elder. I really understand. Letters are not enough and even a phone call cannot convey the emotion of a ARMY PROUD PARENT.

I feel bad for Carla as it seems she has had a bad experience with the ARMY. Myself and my family are ARMY back to WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Desert Storm and now the GWOT with Jacob completing his first tour in March of this year. The ARMY family we know and have known has been wonderful for us and to us. I certainly hope this will turn around for her.

I would give you this parting thought. Don't worry about the Christmas card list, not too many DI's get or give Christmas cards. Just accept the fact it happened, move on, and just love him even more the next time you see him.

Being a parent of a soldier is THE toughest job in the ARMY. We both know that.

Pops
Proud father of an AIRBORNE Paratrooper

Carla said...

Well I don't have a bad experience with the ARMY I just hate what Tami has gone through.

I father and brother are retired AIR FORCE!!! My sister was in the AIR FORCE for several years and I was in myself!!!!! After my father retired he worked for the ARMY and retired from there. I was raised around military. I just HATE WITH A PASSION what Tami has had to deal with! I see it in her everyday and hear it in her voice every day!!!!!

Karen said...

It is a sucky thing, but in the long run it will make your Soldier a stronger person. The hardest thing, before deployment, was my son going through basic, especially hearing how the whole group was punished for something one or two had done. It's a tough pill to swallow but they try to instill unity, which will come in time, and cutting the strings of mom and dad. I was surprised to hear the pay cut but that comes with the territory no matter how unjust it may seem.

It really is a short amount of time to instill discipline and protocol before they release them as soldiers to their duty stations. Hang in there, it will get better and sometimes worse. However, you will see the change in your son the next time you see him. They grow immensly over the months and in return so will you. It's not easy, but you'll get through this.

I still remember the letters I used to get and crying over them. My husband just kept telling me, he'll be fine, you'll see and I'll say the same to you. You have us here and your blog, vent away here, (just don't send the letter, I know you said you wouldn't but fight the urge if you change your mind).

joyce said...

Address the letter to God. He is in control. I had to write one to Him myself today.

Then go read the blog of a mom of a soldier son in Israel. We have it so easy. http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.com/

AirmanMom said...

My heart hurts for you...
Cry your mom tears, they belong to you.
As Military Parents, our cold reality is that when our children enlist, these young men and women belong to our military.
They have to... otherwise could they do what they MUST do?
I know you know all this stuff in your head, it's the heavy heart which needs convincing.
The letter is beautifully written, now tuck it away or destroy it.
Stay strong!
Pray Hard!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...