On Tuesday, August 11th, we left Idaho for Great Lakes, Illinois, where the Navy boot camp base is located. Tyler had completed boot camp after 9 long weeks of training. The drive there went well, though we did have some communication mistakes in between the 2 cars, even with the walkie-talkies. We arrived in Great Lakes on Thursday afternoon, where we met up with Papaw and Grandmom Parker for dinner. The next morning we woke up at the all too early time of 5:00 AM. We were at the base and ready when the gate opened at 6:30. All our paperwork was in order, and after getting through the gate we parked and walked to our seats, where we got to sit for an hour or more. Classic military: “hurry up and wait.” As only 4 people could be present for the actual ceremony, Dad, Mom, Grandmom, and Jonathan went on, while I and the rest were led to the chapel to watch the ceremony on the big screen there.
Tyler’s division, the 270, graduated with 8 other divisions that morning, for a total of 700 sailors! Each of the divisions performed over and above in all fields: academic, physical, etc. Tyler’s group also had the top score in battle-stations, the final test given in a simulated ship. Tyler was one of only 2 in his whole division to earn the ribbon for Expert Marksmanship. Way to go!
After the ceremony, we met up with our sailor and took him to a lunch with no time limits: what a luxury! It was so good to get to catch up with him after not seeing him since June. We hung out in our hotel suite, telling stories and hearing cadence marches. (Some of them are really funny!) All too soon though, we had to take Tyler back to base. We did get the bonus of seeing a little of the base. Finally, we had to say our last good-byes.
The next morning we left for Idaho, and Tyler flew out to Pensacola, Florida, for Advanced SchoolHe’ll start his specific cryptology classes there, and then either go on to one more level of training, or be assigned to his post, which he hopes is shipboard. He has passed the test and is starting the first step of his 4-year journey. We are so proud of our sailor. Love you, Tyler!