Austin wanted to be a Marine since the age of 12. At that time he belonged to a youth organization called the Young Marines. His enthusiasm & facination continued, never without a doubt.
He was in ROTC for 3 years & had many accomplishments in there. His platoon won Honor Platoon 2 years & his last year, he was the Assisstant Flight Commander over his class.
At 17, all the military branches started calling him during his Jr year in high school. He was told because he made an acceptionally high score on his AZVAB test, he could pretty much have his pick for his MOS, of course if it was available.
Just as he started his Sr year, he went to each military branch, hearing what each had to offer. His heart was still with the Marines & joined a few days later on September 30, 1999 at 17 years old.
He chose to leave for bootcamp just after he graduates. He left for MCRD in San Diego on July 25, 2000, 1 month after graduation. He just graduated on 10/20/2000 with the rank of Private First Class. Being in ROTC for 3 years helped, he skipped the rank of Private.
It was a long 13 weeks for both of us. We counted each week as it passed with different reasons. For me, each week passing meant it was closer for him to come home. For him, it was 1 week less he had to train hard. He was focused more on getting through the first weeks, because the hardest ones were in the beginning. He claims the last 4 weeks were a breeze compared to the first 8.
His platoon won "Honor Platoon", which was a "Real Honor" to them.
Especially since they were told that their platoon contained all the "Degenerates" and were considered the "Worst Of The Worst" upon receiving. He said they did look bad...lol
Three days before his first 10 days leave were up, he got an additional 7 days for Recruiter's Assistance. Actually it was only 16 days total, because he had to catch his flight at 8:am on the 17th day.
His days were spent more away visiting & having fun, than at home. I can't blame him though. After 3 months of grueling training & not being able to do anything for pleasure. He deserved the much needed break & to really enjoy himself. Ten days is an awfully short amount of time compared to the 87 they just went through.
I am thankful that his girlfriend came over here for most of their visits, or we would've only seen him when he woke up to eat, take a shower or needed the telephone...Oops, I forgot when he needed to borrow the truck too ...LOL
We really enjoyed having him home & looking forward to the next, which will not be any time soon. It would always better to see him for just 1 day, than none at all.