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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Caleb Processes into the USAFA

 Today, Thursday 28 June 2012, Caleb entered the military.  I will write more later about the last week which has been full of good things (and fires).  But a few hours ago I snapped these pictures as I dropped Caleb off.  Above we are in the parking lot of the Field House, where the cadet "in-processing" was moved to get further away from the fires that threatened the southern border of the massive Academy base.  Cadets walk up to a table in the lot and drop off their bag, which includes the limited personal possessions one may bring:  ID, toilettries, Bible, soccer cleats, stationery.  That's it.  No clothes, no photos, nothing personal.

 Inside the field house cadets and parents listen to a brief cheery introduction with bad Navy and Army jokes to loosen us up and make us smile in spite of the impending goodbyes.  When they asked for shows of hands from various states the MC ended with Alaska and Hawaii and then asked if anyone traveled further.  Caleb raised his hand and said "Kenya" which the MC used as a PR point with parents to show how diverse the class is.  So here is Mr. Diversity.  Then there was a brief tear-y hug and the cadets filed to the right and the parents to the left.
 The indoor field was the site for the initial stage of inprocessing.  Parents could watch this part from a balcony.
 Caleb at the table, reporting.
 Another station, signing something.

 After about five stops at tables, Caleb walks across the field towards the track.  I wanted him to look up so I used the Nyati call (a poor imitation, but it worked, and I don't care what the other parents thought). 
 Last few of Caleb as he walks out into the 100 degree day to line up for the buses that take the kids from the Field House to the cadet area.  This is where the yelling starts, but mercifully for me the parents can't see that part.
 Afterwards there was a parent fair of sorts, tables and booths and displays, helpful polite people answering questions in a very reassuring manner.  I found out that Caleb is in G squadron (referred to as GUTS, as in no guts no glory)  for the summer (A through J makes ten squadrons of about 100 each, for the 1000-strong class of 2016).  Each squadron has four "flights" a, b, c, and d.  Caleb is in flight "c".  Those 40 flights (Aa, Ab, Ac, Ad, Ba, Bb, etc.) join the 40 cadet squadrons in August after Basic Training.  At that point Caleb's flight (Gc) joins squadron 27 which is named the Thunderbirds.  Very sweet since that was my Dad's vintage car.

From this moment until Parents' Weekend (American Labor Day, Sep 1-3), except for a couple hours on "Acceptance Day" Aug 7, we can not see Caleb or talk to him on the phone or email.  His only communication is by written letters.  I have mailed the first two already, and am very grateful to the RVA community for sending me here with a stack of notes!  If anyone else wants to write to him to encourage him, use plain paper, no pictures, no colors, no cards, and mail to this address:
Basic Cadet Caleb S. Myhre
PO Box 2694
USAFA CO 80841

I cried a lot today.  I was brave all week, right up to the last minute.  Not really brave but at peace, knowing this was Caleb's desire, and believing it to be God's leading.  As a parent it would be selfish for me to keep him from that just because I want him to be with me.  This launching is what we prepare for over 17 years.  It is good, and right, but still very very painful.  I told him my tears and grief do not take away from the fact that he's making good choices that I believe in, I just MISS him already.

Thanks for prayers.  Grief is exhausting, so more of the story of our travels eventually, but this is all I can muster for now.


Sally said...

I've been praying for you and Caleb, wondering how the fires might affect the inprocessing. Now I will pray for the grieving.

Melissa said...

How in the world did you write this post without frying your computer with tears. Wow. Thankful for the obedience of Caleb & the rest of yall.

deborah said...

Praying for you. I know this is hard.

Anonymous said...

And I wouldn't have cared what the other parents thought either if I were in your shoes. Go Mom! I am praying for y'all.