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  #1  
Old 02-22-2009, 01:16 PM
Worried_Mom Worried_Mom is offline
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Default New here.

My 17-year-old son (just turned 17 in December) has joined the Army and will be going to Basic at Ft. knox in July.
His MOS is "light wheel vehicle mechanic". He's enlisted for 6 years.
I am trying to do some research to learn more about the military, since no one in my family (during my lifetime) has been in it. So I'm not very familiar with it, and am trying to learn more.
Mostly, I'd like to hear how I can best be supportive of him, so that he can be successful in this life he's chosen.
I'm having a difficult time emotionally, dealing with this.
As American moms, we are taught that it is our job to protect our children and keep them safe at all costs, even at the cost of our own lives.
The idea of deliberately sending them into harm's way, for any reason, requires a major attitude adjustment.

Everyone tells me that the military will be wonderful for my son, who has had some behavior problems during his rocky adolescence. They say it will help him grow into an ethical and responsible man. I hope this is true. Nothing else we've tried seems to help. He's truly been on the wrong path.
I'm very worried, but reading forums like this and knowing I'm not alone helps.

Please, whatever you do, don't tell me that I'll be "proud" of my son when he's a soldier. I'm already proud of him. I'm proud of him just for being alive on this earth. He certainly doesn't need to risk his life to make me proud, and I'm not looking for any pay-off for myself here.
I just want him to come out of this alive and well, at the end of the day.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2009, 01:38 PM
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Sherry Sherry is offline
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Location: Keyport, NJ
Posts: 9
Default Army Mom

Hi,

I haven't been doing this long myself. I have one son at Ft. Gordon, GA and one at Ft Mead, MD. One has been to Iraq, one is in AIT. It's not easy but as far as letting your son know you support his decisions is one of the best things you can do for him. Just continue to do that.

If I can help you in any way just contact me.

Sherry
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2009, 01:47 PM
Worried_Mom Worried_Mom is offline
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How do you cope, when your son is deployed overseas?
This is just such a mind-bending adjustment I'm having to make.
This time last year, I wouldn't allow my son to go down the street to the rec center to play basketball, because it's in a rough neighborhood and there's an unsavory element that hangs out there.
This time next year, I may be sending him into a war zone, populated by people who actively wish to kill him.
I just don't know how to understand this.
I wish our society had prepared me better for this situation.
Everything I know tells me that a good mother stands between her child and those who might wish him harm.
Now, suddenly, I'm supposed to send my son out to protect me, and everybody else.
I hope he'll be better prepared for this than I am.
I'm having trouble functioning in my life right now.
I am surrounded by people who don't understand.
There are two types of people: the kind who offers helpful hints about how I can get my son out of this before he even leaves for Basic (here's a hint for them: he doesn't want to get out. If I refused to let him go, he'd probably run away and join anyway, and then never speak to me again).
And the kind who says, "Oh it'll be a great experience for him. My sister's friend's cousin was in all kinds of trouble as a teenager, and then he joined the military and straightened right up. Of course, it wasn't during wartime..." /nervous look.

Nobody understands.
I'm finding such solace on forums like this, where at least others have been through what I'm now facing.
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2009, 06:51 PM
MichaelDN MichaelDN is offline
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I have /am on both sides of what you are talking about. I served in the Army during Desert Storm (and I am looking to go back in) and my son has recently enlisted into the Army and is almost done with his AIT.

From your son's prospective the most you can do for him is be supportive and keep in contact with him through out his military enlistment. Especially though basic and AIT. That is when he will be needing the most support. It will only be through letters but they mean so much to receive them in basic and AIT. Just keep him informed of things going on in the family etc. It doesn't have to be long drawn out letters just notes that will keep him motivated. If he can receive packages those are appreciated as well. Once he is in his regular unit the occasional phone call and letter is all that is needed since then it is more like a job rather than the basic training restriction.

Depending on your finances and his AIT training time, you might be able to go and visit him for a weekend. I think that was the best thing that I did for my son through out his entire AIT.

As far as my son goes mine was a similar troublesome youth (skipped school, didn't graduate and what not) and lacked some serious motivation. Just with him being in the service for little over 7 months now I have seen him grow into a young man rather than an older teenager. Your son will be well taken care of in the Army and will not purposely be put into danger that he does not have to be. As a parent you can not stop worrying but try not to let it consume you, he will be in good hands.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2009, 02:31 PM
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Sherry Sherry is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Keyport, NJ
Posts: 9
Default Army Mom

Hi

I understand how you feel. I love my boys more than life itself. We raise them to think for themselves and when they do we wish they would listen to us.

Right now just keep talking to your son and let him know he can come to you any time for any reason and talk to you. About the Army or anything. Tell him you trust his decision. Don't let him see you worried to a frazzle or he might back off talking to you.

If talking to other people about this subject is difficult don't talk about it. Change the subject or just tell them you don't want to disscuss it.

As far as a deployment is concerned, that is down the road so don't give it too much thought right now.

Have faith in your son and yourself.

Sherry
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2009, 03:15 PM
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reconmedik reconmedik is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 187
Default Calm Down Momma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Worried_Mom View Post
How do you cope, when your son is deployed overseas?
This is just such a mind-bending adjustment I'm having to make.
This time last year, I wouldn't allow my son to go down the street to the rec center to play basketball, because it's in a rough neighborhood and there's an unsavory element that hangs out there.
This time next year, I may be sending him into a war zone, populated by people who actively wish to kill him.
I just don't know how to understand this.
I wish our society had prepared me better for this situation.
Everything I know tells me that a good mother stands between her child and those who might wish him harm.
Now, suddenly, I'm supposed to send my son out to protect me, and everybody else.
I hope he'll be better prepared for this than I am.
I'm having trouble functioning in my life right now.
I am surrounded by people who don't understand.
There are two types of people: the kind who offers helpful hints about how I can get my son out of this before he even leaves for Basic (here's a hint for them: he doesn't want to get out. If I refused to let him go, he'd probably run away and join anyway, and then never speak to me again).
And the kind who says, "Oh it'll be a great experience for him. My sister's friend's cousin was in all kinds of trouble as a teenager, and then he joined the military and straightened right up. Of course, it wasn't during wartime..." /nervous look.

Nobody understands.
I'm finding such solace on forums like this, where at least others have been through what I'm now facing.

The key word here right now is you MAY be sending him to a war zone this time next year. First off he has to get through BCT and AIT and that in itself will take at least 6 months.The next thing is that once he completes these requirements he will be sent to an Active Duty Unit. That unit quite possibly may have already done several rotations to the Sandbox by this time. He will most likely not be sent directly to the sandbox as a standalone soldier. He will be assigned to a unit that needs his MOS now. Once he gets to his unit he and you will have a much clearer picture of what the future holds as far a deployment to the Iraq or Afghanistan. As a light wheel mechanic there is a very good possibility that even if he deploys to theater there is a very small chance that he will even leave the base. During my tour in Iraq we recovered our own brokedown vehicles and brought them to the base for the Mechanics to fix. Never saw the Mechs leave the FOB except to go on leave or they volunteer for duties outside thier MOS which alot of commanders will not let happen. Just my 2 cents.
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  #7  
Old 02-23-2009, 06:15 PM
Worried_Mom Worried_Mom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reconmedik View Post
The key word here right now is you MAY be sending him to a war zone this time next year. First off he has to get through BCT and AIT and that in itself will take at least 6 months.The next thing is that once he completes these requirements he will be sent to an Active Duty Unit. That unit quite possibly may have already done several rotations to the Sandbox by this time. He will most likely not be sent directly to the sandbox as a standalone soldier. He will be assigned to a unit that needs his MOS now. Once he gets to his unit he and you will have a much clearer picture of what the future holds as far a deployment to the Iraq or Afghanistan. As a light wheel mechanic there is a very good possibility that even if he deploys to theater there is a very small chance that he will even leave the base. During my tour in Iraq we recovered our own brokedown vehicles and brought them to the base for the Mechanics to fix. Never saw the Mechs leave the FOB except to go on leave or they volunteer for duties outside thier MOS which alot of commanders will not let happen. Just my 2 cents.

Thank you. That makes me feel much better to hear.
Although, if they are allowed to volunteer for dangerous missions, my son will probably be the first to volunteer. He's a hot-headed teenager out to prove himself.
On the other hand, he did choose this mechanic MOS over infantry, so that's something. He chose it for the job skills he'll gain. It's probably not as tough or macho as being an actual combat soldier, so perhaps I'm misjudging him. Perhaps he does have a little bit of instinctive caution.
I feel better talking to military people. I've just never known any, is the problem, and I think I've gotten a distorted view of how dangerous this war actually is.
When i looked up the actual casualty statistics yesterday, they weren't quite as horrifying as I'd imagined.
It seems a good many deployed soldiers come back alive and unharmed.
I just wish he hadn't signed up for six years (although he'll only be 23 or 24 when he gets out). I'm not fooling myself; there are probably a number of deployments in his future.

But I do feel better about his choice, the more information I get. Nothing is scarier than the unknown, and like many Americans, I have tried not to think about the situation in the middle east before now, because it's disturbing and upsetting.
But now that my son's involved, I need to find out everything I can.
Thanks for being patient and putting up with my worries and my no-doubt-stupid questions.
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  #8  
Old 02-25-2009, 05:11 PM
sdl70 sdl70 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worried_Mom View Post
I am trying to do some research to learn more about the military, since no one in my family (during my lifetime) has been in it. So I'm not very familiar with it, and am trying to learn more.
Mostly, I'd like to hear how I can best be supportive of him, so that he can be successful in this life he's chosen.
There is actually a guide out there for parents you can download or request from[URL="http://www.ausa.org/about/ilw/ilw_pubs/SpecialReports/Pages/SR_CodyBook.aspx"] AUSA [/URL]called Your Soldier, Your Army: A Parents Guide.

There is also a ton of information at [url]www.myarmylifetoo.com[/url]. You might be interested in the AFTB I (Army Family Team Building) on-line training.
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