The Proud Mom and Dad of James R. Reid the 3rd.
This past month has been a flurry of excitement with all the families of the Parris Island recruits preparing for the big day…the day their sons, daughters, grandchild, sibling, husband or wife was graduating boot camp and becoming a full-fledged Marine.
Everyone, who was connected to a recruit in 3rd Battalion Kilo Company was able to check in on their recruit because of the Kilo Facebook page and a very special person who ran the site, Tammy Opel. This amazing woman kept many parents and grandparents calm while explaining exactly what would be happening to the daily. We can’t thank you enough, Tammy. I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet you on Graduating day, but I will keep in touch through Facebook.
Whenever a picture was posted to the Kilo page, my daughter and I would scour through the photos trying to find a picture of Jimmy. There were several pictures that I even posted to my Facebook page swearing that they were of my grandson. Ha! We weren’t even close, but for some reason; they all look the same. Kind of makes me wonder how good of a job I would do picking someone out of a police line-up.
But luckily for us, Michele Breland Gauthreaux found a picture of Jimmy and the article saying that, yes indeed, this was our recruit. Michele was also the person assigned to getting the news out about the SAM BAGS. I wrote a blog about this event …more on this later.
The plans were for my husband Dan and me to ride in a rental van with my daughter and her family all the way to Parris Island, but as we all know, the best laid plans of mice and men often get screwed up. My husband, who was hit with several major health issues this past month, had to stay home, while I went with my daughter and her family on the road trip.
The van although huge, seemed to shrink with each passing mile; 700 miles to be exact. At one point, it was suggested that I ride on the roof of the van, just like in a certain movie...only kidding, but it was a long trip.
We arrived at our hotel, the Detreville House, which is part of the Marine Corp Community, late Wednesday night. The hotel was awesome and we were protected by armed marines; cool!
Family Day and a Freezing Thursday Morning
We were at the base by 6 a.m. to line up and cheer for our brand new marines at the Family Day Race. It was so stinking cold on that Island, and my daughter and I were bundled up like Polar explorers, but it didn’t help at all. We couldn't wait until Jimmy and the other marines were dismissed for a few hours of liberty
Nathan and Joshua were in their glory and couldn’t get enough of their big brother. I found this really funny since they did nothing but fight before he left for basic training, but absence does make the heart grow fonder, especially when you can raid big brother’s X-box games.
My son-in-law and my daughter were so very proud of their son. They were pleased to know that contrary to how he kept his room at home, Jimmy was quite capable of making a bed. Thank you Drill Instructors!
Thursday night we headed over to Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant for dinner…they have the best food, ever, followed by Gilligan’s manager, Kelly telling us the history of how the Sam Bags Project was started. Sam Bags stand for Stand Alone Marines. These are marines whose families, for a number of reasons, are unable to attend the graduation ceremony. This site explains everything and how you can participate even if you don't have any family members at Parris Island.
I was able to get a picture of three kilo moms, starting with Michele Breland Gauthreaux on the left, Candy in the middle and Patty on the right. We all pitched in and packed the blue bags with goodies for the big day. I’m going to support and blog about this event every year from now on because I really think this is such a worthwhile cause.
Friday: Graduation Ceremony
This was the big day and all the Kilo families were in the bleachers waiting for their marines to go through the graduation ceremony. It was all so very impressive, but for four families even more so because four marines from the Kilo Company received awards.
Jimmy was one of the four and he received a plaque
Pvt. James R. Reid III, Kilo Company high shooter of Platoon 3018, earned a rifle score of 335 out of 350. I guess it does pay to play war games on X-Box.
After the ceremony, we all loaded into the van for the long and wayward ride home. Stay tuned for part two or as I like to call it, “From Here to Eternity.”