During the initial stages of dealing with Rappy’s injury (She did it right before we left and was hospitalized the whole time we were gone) we attended a joyous occasion of Aaron graduating from Basic Training. He’s in the ROTC program for the Army/Wisconsin Army National Guard. Part of this is he has to complete Army Basic Training. He did his at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Here’s the trip in pictures. As always you can click on one and go to my Flickr account where there are many more (yes this for the grandmothers.)
To get there we went through St. Louis.
Then we got to the base. Now I know why the Army guys called it Ft. Lost In The Woods because it’s in the middle of NO WHERE!
RHP – rank has privileges. Yet being an Senior Officer Mike reserved a cabin for us and his parents. It was nice with two bedrooms, full kitchen, living room, and bath. If you are really curious there are photos of the interior over on Flickr. We were on base and didn’t have a far drive to anywhere. Not that there was a lot to go to other than the graduation. We did spend time at the museums on base (another post for that) when Aaron was busy.
Needless to say I was thrilled to see him. (not at all thrilled to see myself in a photo it always makes me feel physically ill). We had to sign him and his friend out for the evening. It was nice and we took them to dinner on base. His friend didn’t have family coming in for the ceremony so it was good to take him away from the barracks to relax. It was their first time out since they got there in January. Which reminds me here’s a picture of Aaron talking with Mike as he waited to leave for Basic.
Always going through the ever present paperwork.
Any way we got the guys back to the barracks and signed in for the night. Len and Donna, Mike’s parents, arrived later that night and we all got some sleep. It was a long day and stressful dealing with Rappy’s medical decisions multiple times a day during the whole process.
There aren’t any really good pictures of the ceremony. It was dark. We were far away. It was packed crowded. Still the graduation consisted mostly of jodis (the chants they march to), slide shows, music, and speeches.
Aaron was one of three graduates to make a speech. He was the last and spoke on courage. The funny story to that is he got up to the podium to find his speech notes gone, they were supposed to be there. So he just had to give it off the cuff from memory after only doing it a few times before. He did excellent his time as a state officer in DECA served him well. He maintained excellent eye contact with the audience and didn’t faulter. Talk about courage – then again he’s like me performing in front of people isn’t too bad.
We did make more pictures of him in his dress uniform after. Here he is with his proud dad.
Here he is with his friends that came with us. They didn’t have family attending so we took them out to eat off base to celebrate. Where did they want to go? Buffalo Wild Wings of course! LOL! Then just hang out at the cabin enjoying seeing tv, having their cell phones, and internet available for the first time since January.
Really it wasn’t THAT serious of a dinner but I KNOW he got tired of having his picture taken. He was also anxious to get some private time to call and talk with Sara. Once that was done it was a quick dinner on base then back to the barracks for the boys (I guess they are men now being in the Army and all). We chilled at the cabin. I had a good cry about Rappy as her prognosis wasn’t improving.
The next morning was a bit more time to ourselves as Aaron had to check into his next training school. That was 88Mike a big equipment/truck driving school. We checked out the on base museums. Something to see and got lots of photos for another post. Rappy was stablizing but still didn’t know if shew was going to make it until we got home.
After that we got Aaron. First he ad to deal with some uniform stuff. Also had to get the internet repaired at the cabin so Aaron could do his taxes. It wasn’t fun but we got it done.
Yes there were more pictures posed for to avoid Mom taking candids. He likes his picture taken just a wee bit less than I do.
Under his new command he had to wear a water camelback at all times.
I teased him about he wouldn’t dehyrdrate while driving that way. Also they marched about wearing eye protection glasses. I asked if eye injuries resulting from marching had resulted in this new development (new since Mike went through his training *cough* 30 yrs ago *cough*) Aaron just laughed and said the Drill Instructors wouldn’t put it past new recruits to poke themselves in the eye while walking. LOL!
We took Aaron to lunch on base at the golf course then dropped him off at his new school. That was the trip. Now he’s finishing up that school. Scary thought my son could now be driving a big rig – the boy I taught to drive! He’ll be coming home in a week or so. Then it’s back to college a changed man from the experience I’m sure.