Signed, Sealed, Not Yet Delivered


My oldest son, Ross, graduated from high school in June. He told me, in June, like he’s been telling me all through high school, that he didn’t want to go to college. He got a job working construction. He loves to build stuff.

One rainy day, after slogging through thick mud pushing a wheelbarrow full of cement, he came home and said he didn’t think he wanted to do that for the rest of his life.

Goody! Can we talk about college again?

No. He wanted to talk about the military again. He’s been talking about the military for four years. And I’ve been crying about it for four years. I’ve had a few not-so-friendly run-ins with military recruiters. And I’ve bothered the principal of the high school a few times about all those military recruiters up at the school. Why, why, why must they let them come there? Leave my little boy alone! Don’t they know these are children? Recruiters would send stuff in the mail and I would throw it out. I’m a mother. I like my child just how he is, with all his arms and legs attached. At one point, Ross asked me to sign him into the military when he was 17, when it requires a parent signature.

Are you kidding? My grandmother signed my father’s little brother into the Marines when he was 17, during World War II, and he was killed on a Pacific Island. So. I don’t think so.

But Ross was 18 and he had already scheduled an appointment with a Navy recruiter to go to Beckley (West Virginia), a couple of hours south, to the military entrance processing station there. What? I asked him what else he’d done without telling me. ARE YOU MARRIED? (No. Whew.) The Navy recruiter called the next day and I grilled him. He almost made me feel like it might be okay. Like I have a choice. My son is 18. Do they not know that is still a child?

Ross wanted to be a Seabee. He loves construction! He had taken the ASVAB (general military entrance exam). Only when he went to Beckley to sign up, there were no positions available in the Seabees. In fact, it’s not so easy to get into the military these days. The past year’s economy has created quite a backlog in the military for new enlistees. The military is very appealing in poor economic times.

Oh, happy day! No more military. Only. There were two jobs needing enlistees in the Navy. That would be Navy SEALs and nukes (the nuclear program). SEALs and nukes are in demand because these are positions that require high qualifications.

I actually have some experience and knowledge about Navy nukes. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a Navy wife. I was married to a nuclear submariner. (He was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, though he ported out of King’s Bay, Georgia.) He was, in fact (of course), Ross’s father.

To be a Navy nuke is prestigious–and difficult. It requires a six-year enlistment due to the two-year educational training. There are big bonuses and advanced pay grades. It’s rigorous and only the smartest of the smart get in there.

Ross threw the Seabees out the window, since nothing was available there. He was bound and determined to join the Navy. He didn’t want to be a SEAL, though. He’d do that nuke thing. That’d be fine. The Navy recruiter took another glance at his less-than-stellar high school transcripts, which didn’t include classes like, say, PHYSICS, and told him that he didn’t think that was going to work out.

Ross + high school = girls + cars

Sorry, there wasn’t much time (OR ANY) for that studying thing. Or taking real classes.

His ASVAB score wasn’t that high and he’d have to take the separate nuclear test and pass it with flying colors. The Navy recruiter advised against it. Maybe a job requiring less qualification would come up. Ross decided he’d take the nuke test.

He went home and asked his 11th-grade football-playing little brother to explain physics to him. (His 11th-grade football-playing brother actually takes real classes in high school and pays attention.) Another job in the Navy, requiring less qualification, did come up. The recruiter called. Ross refused it. He went back to Beckley and took the nuke test.

And passed it.

Only he didn’t pass it very high, so if he was going to get in the nuke program, he was going to have to go back yet again and re-take the ASVAB and make a very high score to qualify.

The Navy recruiter said he’d never had anyone re-take the ASVAB and improve their score. At all. Much less, by a significant margin, which was what Ross needed to do.

He thought he was wasting his time.

On a boy who didn’t even take physics in high school, or anything past the basic required maths.

And he gave Ross two weeks to prepare.

I cried a little bit more then I bought Ross a study book. Ross decided to learn everything there was to know about physics in two weeks. (Teenagers are SO FUNNY.) And I decided that if he could really make it into the Navy’s nuclear program, I was okay. It’s safe. He’ll be living in a submarine and sleeping on a shelf. I’ve been inside a Navy submarine. I was a Navy wife. This, I know. It’s not Afghanistan.

Ross took the study book in hand and said, “I don’t know how to study. I can’t remember the last time I studied.”


Yesterday, he went back to Beckley and re-took the ASVAB. He scored so high, if he’d done that the first time around, he wouldn’t have even had to take the separate nuke test.

There’s no turning back. His signature is on the dotted line. He is scheduled for boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois and two years of nuclear school in Charleston, South Carolina, to be followed by four years of sea duty. There is a total six-year commitment. He volunteered for submarines.


Holding the envelope with his enlistment contract.
Boot camp ship date: June 17, 2010.

I’m proud of him.

Update: See Letters from Boot Camp here and his Navy boot camp graduation here.


  1. amspicer says:

    Wow that is such an amazing accomplishment! good for him! My best friend is in Iraq. I think I understand how hard it is to let go, her parents thought disowning her for a few month would make her change her mind, thankfully they realized that was really what she wanted to do and now they support her and other local families with loved ones in action. I am glad your son will be in a less dangerous situation!

    My prayers are with him that the experience is all good for him and you!

  2. Patty says:

    What a fabulous story!! Oh my gosh, if that happens with one of my kids I don’t think I’d stop crying, from sad to happy, the tears would never stop. CONGRATS ROSS!!!!! How awesome to follow in his father’s footsteps too! If he’s that determined to get into Nukes then the Navy is much better off now than they were before he signed! Feels good to have determined and upright men serving our country. Thanks Ross for wanting to help us keep our Freedom!

  3. Kathy says:

    I saw a sign on a high school sign the other day, it said “out do ordinary”. I think Ross has definitely done that! Way, way out done that. I will keep him in my prayers. Thank you Ross, in advance, for your service to our country.

  4. Eliza J. says:

    Congrats to Ross for sticking with it. No matter how old or how big or where they go or what they choose to do, your children will always be your “little ones” that you want to protect. And the pride never goes away. (from a mom of 2 and grandma of 2)

  5. KateS says:

    I cried and cried and cried when my daughter joined the Navy. :hissyfit:
    She loved almost every minute of it. Boot camp basically sucks, but its not real life. The rest of it – she Liked.
    Here’s to Ross for making a Great choice for himself and his future! :woof:
    Hang in there, mom. :hug:

  6. Penny says:

    Wow – I imagine you’re on an emotional roller coaster right now. And I imagine Ross is on cloud nine! Congratulations to Ross – and hugs to you. I joined the Air Force when I was 19, and spent my 20th birthday in boot camp. Joining the military can be a very positive experience and teach more responsibility than probably any other experience. I know it helped teach me skills and life lessons that had a significant impact on shaping who I am today. It sounds like Ross is ready for this – and it sounds like he is going to kick butt and shine. And I know he is definitely making you proud!

  7. Bev @ The 3 Clutters says:

    I am so happy for him, but as a mother I feel your pain. It’s hard to believe our babies grow up. Big hugs for you Suzanne.
    And congratulations Ross!!!!!

  8. wkf says:

    Way to go Ross! ( I am sorry Suzanne) But, as you know having lived there Charleston, is full of cute girls. Maybe he will get distracted……

  9. Heidi says:

    Way to go Ross! As a mom, I totally understand you trying to steer him away from the military. As a Patriot, I’m grateful for his willingness to serve.

    Shall I send you a box of tissues next spring?

  10. Brenda says:

    Wow what a great story and You must be so proud of your son. However, I know the fear you feel~ I too have a 19 year old son and an 11th grader who plays football. I also had a few run ins with the recruiters who went to the high school. One day at work my son came to my job to tell me he had just left the recruiters office and was going into the marines. My heart hit the floor and I said, “did you sign anything”? No, he didn’t so I still had a chance to talk him out of it. We went through the whole college is not for me speech all while I’m crying. He thought by telling me at work I wouldn’t cry. How wrong he was. To make a long story short he is still in college but not because of anything I said or did but Thank God for girlfriends. I guess their tears fall harder than ole moms. LOL~ We are living in Charleston actually right across the street from the naval weapons station and I grew up in East liverpool Ohio. Not too far from your neck of the woods I believe. Oh how I long to go home to the country. Best wishes to your family. Have enjoyed your blog~

  11. Beth says:

    I am so impressed with what your son did with those tests. As a mom of a 16yo boy who has talked about joining the military on and off for several years, my heart goes out to you. I know you’re proud of him…but you’re a mama. That’s hard to take.

    Good luck with all you do, Ross. Way to take the bull by the horns.

  12. Tovah says:

    As the wife of a Navy nuke I will say that he has chosen a difficult path but if he is determined then he will make it through. The bonuses are indeed nice and the military does have a lot to offer with health care and such.

    Best of Luck Ross and thank you for your service!

  13. Diane says:

    Wow I am amazed. That is so wonderful Ross made up his mind what he wanted to do and went for it. I am not sure if I could study for something like that in 2 short weeks. Wow Navy. I had tears in my eyes reading your story. I am truly impressed by your son. How wonderful for you to have him in your life.

  14. Sarah says:

    Just goes to show that you can do anything if you are motivated and put your mind to it. I have not doubt you are a very proud Mama. Thank you in advance, Ross,for your service and thank you Mama for supporting him.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Congratulations to Ross – what an accomplishment. This must be very hard for you, but it is a great career. I retired after 20 years in the Navy and treasure the people and the places that were part of my adventure. I hope his time in uniform is as wonderful and fulfilling.

  16. Carol Ann says:

    What a saga! It sounds as if your determined spirit has found its way to your son now that he has decided on a path that appeals to him. How difficult it is to choose a course of action at the age of 18. I applaud your son and you for allowing him to get there in his own way and time.

  17. Julie Curtis says:

    Awww. I’m gonna cry.

  18. Carmen Smith says:

    Wow, I can so relate to your post! My son will be 18 in December, and for the last 2 yrs. he said he was going to welding school. OK, I was fine with that. But a month ago all that changed, not sure yet which “friend” may have planted the idea into his little head, but now all I hear is he’s joining the Army! One of my worst fears as a mother ! He is my ONLY son, actually my ONLY child period! I told him don’t decide till he at least graduates and that buys me a little time to try to change his mind!!!! Best wishes to you and your son in the Navy, my brother in law was in the Navy for 20 yrs. and loved it:)

  19. Jill Harper F says:

    Congratulations to Ross!!! We cried when my nephew went into the Air Force, but he’s been to Germany, Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Iraq. He spent his 21st birthday in Paris, France. He’s only 22 and he loves it! Like Ross, he didn’t have much ambition right after high school, but the military has done him good. Ross will be great and I’ll pray for his safety.

  20. Donna says:

    Good for you, Ross! (and kudos to you, Suzanne, for being a brave sailor’s mom!) Now exta-sad we missed the party Sunday where our son could have met yours. Our Brian just finished boot camp at Great Lakes and loved it – except for the food part. He LOVED the classes and now has decided he wants to get his engineering degree through the Navy. Not a teenager any more (he’s 23), but the sudden eagerness to study and learn is an amazing thing to watch. He’s in San Diego now, assigned to the amphibious assault carrier the U.S.S. Pelilieu. I love how the ships all have their own websites now, it seems – easier to be a Navy mom from afar…
    Donna :clover:

  21. Jill Taylor says:

    My husband and I both did 20 years in the Navy and we loved it. Got us both out of small town USA and gave us a chance to explore the world. Where do we live now? Spencer WV and we love it! You can go back to your roots!

  22. flutterby says:

    No, Suzanne, your child is not a child any more.

  23. Betty Ireland says:

    Yor son would have loved the SeaBees, but I’m glad he found his other niche in the nukes program.

  24. kristen says:

    congratulations Ross!

  25. Brenda says:

    Congratulations to your son! When I read your story I thought I was reading about what I went through with my son. I too, have been where you are now. My son enlisted in the Air Force after years of me convincing him, (all through high school, he graduated last year) that college would be better. He tried college for a semester and decided that it wasn’t for him. It was so hard to see my son, (my baby) leave for basic training. But we are SO proud of him, he still is in training, for 2 years, and when I talked to him the other day, he said he is in school all day and it feels like college. I got my revenge!

  26. NorthCountryGirl says:

    “WOW!” Congratulations to Ross! Good job! And to Mom for being there and supporting him. What an accomplishment…you should both be very proud. Thank you Ross for your service to your country…you’re a very special person. AND, thanks Mom for sharing your story. I have a grand daughter who plans to join the Air Force when she graduates in two years. I can only begin to imagine what that will be like when the time comes. God bless you both.

  27. mary says:

    Congratulations, Ross! i know your mom is very proud of you. Great job on the testing!! I will pray for your safety!! Good luck!!!!! :clover:

  28. michellewillingham says:

    Wow. I know you’re worried for him, but any boy who can figure out physics in two weeks can do anything he wants. Go, Ross! :snoopy:

  29. Netherfieldmom says:

    I’m proud of him–thankful FOR him and those like him. I’m proud of you, too–for allowing him to be his own man. What a circuitous route your life has taken! The best laid plans of mice and moms often go astray…

    I hope my own high schooler can find herself as simply as your son has. Congratulations–to both of you.

  30. CindyP says:

    Congratulations, Ross! Suzanne, he has taken that step into adulthood. A child would have quit at the point before studying for 2 weeks before retaking a test. You have absolutely every right to be proud of him! I’m not sure yet of Rach’s ship date, but I am so very proud of her for sticking to her guns on what she wanted to do and not backing down when her Mom cried to her. Our country needs the select people who can stick to their guns so young in life so they can learn the next step of leading and defending our country.

    And we may need to start your stockpile of Kleenex……..

  31. Donna Mc says:

    That goes to show you a determined kid can do almost anything! They can set lofty goals and meet them…when they want to. That’s very encouraging to me – I have 2 semi-slacker boys. =)

    As a mom, I feel your pain, fear, and worry. I watched my mama send 2 of my brothers off to the marines during the Vietnam era. Both came home MEN, her boys were forever changed – but in good ways. So hug him close, pray for him daily, and watch him become a man. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{family}}}}}}}}}}}}

  32. MsJamie says:

    That is awesome. Congrats to Ross!!

  33. MissyinWV says:

    I don’t like those high school recruiters either.What a roller coaster ride you both have been on.I can imagine your heart broke each time he brought it up..HUGE DECISION…Yes Suzanne he is your little boy (Can’t we all remember the things we thought were good ideas at that age) ..This is the toughest age I have experienced as a mother of an 18 year old too.. Its awkward finding the boundries……..I will keep you both in my prayers!
    Congratulations Ross!

  34. Maura says:

    Now there’s determination for you! Just goes to show you what a person can do once they make their minds up. Congratulations to Ross for doing so well on his tests and sticking with it even when things didn’t look so good and hugs to you Suzanne for the courage to let him go.

  35. Karen Whiddon says:

    Hey Suzanne – long time, no see (or talk to). I read your blog daily and wanted to let you know that I’m proud of your son and of YOU for being able to let him go. Even though he’s 18, you could have reacted much differently and I’m sure your support and encouragement helped him score so high on the test.

    WV is a long way from Granbury, yes?

    I didn’t see you at National this year and I’m guessing you were busy farming.


  36. Claudia W says:

    WOW! Great job Ross! I love that he stuck by his decision to retake the test and pass. That shows a lot of maturity on his part.
    Sorry that you are having to send your son off to live somewhere else for a while, but what you will get back will be amazing!

  37. marissa says:

    I’M PROUD OF HIM, TOO! You ROCK, Ross! Drive, determination, guts, AND brains. He will do great things.

  38. Sandra says:

    He will be fine & he will love it. A friends son did the same thing except he failed out of his first year of college & did this. He’s in Charleston right now & is #1 in his class, making money & loving it. This is a good thing!

  39. Abiga/Karen says:

    Proud of both of you and praying blessings in the coming year as you both prepare for a new transition in your lives!

  40. Phyllis Ryan says:

    My son was a “Nuke” and when he returned to civilian life he completed college, got a Masters in Safty Engineering, and currently works for NASA. I am sure that your son will make you proud of him. Mine did.

  41. Gayle says:

    Congratulations to Ross! You’ve become a part of an honorable tradition! And :hug: x 10 to mom. What an accomplishment!

  42. remudamo says:

    Bless your mama heart, and prayers for Ross.

  43. Shelly says:

    Your post made me cry. I have a 19 year old. He also talked about joining the Military but I said no, no, no, your my only child I need you close by. He finally stopped talking about it. Now he wants to be a police officer and is going to school to do that. Doesnt he know you need him on the farm to help out? I hope he will be o.k. but I worry because of the times we live in. My heart goes out to you, its so hard…

  44. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    I know how you feel. My son joined the Marines after high school. My daughter was in her 3rd year of college when she told me she didn’t know what she wanted to be (when she grew up). A few days later she told me she was joining the Marine Corp. Said if she could get thru that, she could get thru anything. She did and she can. I am proud of both my children for serving their country. I am so proud of Ross and you. Have a great day and hugs to all.

  45. becki says:

    Proud of both you. So many people out there, young and old, seem so eager to choose the quick thing, the easy or sure thing, over the right thing. Isn’t there something written somewhere about a village asking its young people who among them was willing to help fight a wild animal attacking the village’s livestock. One young man stepped forward. Not the biggest or the brightest of the young people. But the only one willing to say “I will”. From this young man whom many in the village may have dismissed before, emerged a leader.

    And on letting go…when I watch my now 12-year old cross the street by herself, I still watch (from afar) for cars.

  46. Navy Bean says:

    I knew my husband in high school and laughed when he told me he was joining the Navy. I figured he’d get kicked out in boot camp. But he didn’t have money for college, so the military was really his only option. He’s been in the Navy 18 years now, and is now an officer. It was the best thing he ever did. I hope Ross has as positive an experience as my husband has had. And if he ever gets stationed in Norfolk, let me know!

  47. Myrna Mackenzie says:

    Suzanne, I’m so impressed by your son’s determination and commitment. The fact that he knew what he wanted and did what he needed to do to succeed is really something to be proud of.

    His story reminds me almost exactly of two other young men I know. One didn’t want to college and enlisted in the Navy, hoping to work with computers. They made him a cook. He loved it, and when he came out he went to chef school and is now a chef at a Waldorf Astoria and in love with his work, so the Navy sent him in a new direction and showed him his passion.

    The other was a friend of my son’s. Very similar story to Ross’s. Loved athletics, hated school (to his parents’ chagrin. They’re both educators). Started college, hated it. Joined the Navy, trained at Great Lakes and totally loves it. It turned his life around.

    Still, I know that none of that makes this easier for you. A thousand success stories wouldn’t. How could they when this is your child, and your first child to leave home. As the mother of two sons only a few years older than yours, I’ve faced those fears and I know how difficult this must be for you. But it sounds as if this is Ross’s passion, and it must make you so proud that he is following his with the determination to do whatever it takes to succeed.

  48. Mollster says:

    Congrats to both of you…it’s SO hard to let go…but I’m not far from Great Lakes, so if you get the chance to visit….you’ve got a place to stay!!

  49. Katie says:

    It’s so funny to be saying – my congratulations and my sympathies! The separation will be hard to bear, especially at first, but you should be able to sleep easy knowing that you raised one heck of a fine son. To have taken those tests three times, and turned down an easier offer just proves how much grit he has (which I’m sure he learned from you). I wish you and your family the very best in the years to come.

  50. .Nancy in Iowa says:

    Talk about perseverance!!! Ross, you are amazing – congratulations. Suzanne, I know it must have been hard for you to go through the process. I think right now I’m glad I had only a girl! My father was in the SeaBees during WWII, and my SIL was in the SeaBees for a while then went into the SEALS. All this before I knew him – and he’s quite a guy! Ross is just moving on from childhood and becoming himself. Best wishes to all of you!!! :sun:

  51. Karen says:

    Man, doesn’t it just kill you to know that he could have done a stellar job in high school, if he’d only buckled down? I was the same way, so I know how he feels. He KNOWS he’s smart now.

    In my opinion, it’s a big mistake for every single person to think they need to go to college. Ross will learn amazing life skills in the Navy, and he will come out of it with self-confidence, discipline, and knowledge that will take him places he never dreamed of. This is a good thing, Suzanne. And now that he knows how easy it is for him to learn new things, maybe he’ll end up going to college later, anyway, and doing yet something else. It’s all good.

    Best of luck to him, and I also want to thank him for choosing service to his country.

  52. Leah says:

    Congratulations on passing the test and for following your dream Ross.Thank you for serving our country. I wish you and your family the best!

  53. Gini says:

    My heart flutters for you both! He will love his career, Suzanne. He will be okay.

  54. falnfenix says:

    congrats…to him, for getting in (and proving to HIMSELF that if he applies a little oomph, he can do anything), and to you for finding the courage to let him go.

  55. Nancy says:

    That story brought back some not so distant memories! My son graduated in June of 1999 and left for the Navy that August. He was a Nuke out of Groton, CT. Thinking of his first 6 month deployment made me sick to my stomach…until he was on leave in N.Y one weekend and was involved in a very serious car accident…he could have been killed. Suddenly, being in that sub didn’t seem so scary! I’m happy to say I was right…in 6 years, not one hair was harmed on his beautiful head due to the Navy. He is a well educated, happy, healthy adult. They now have a wonderful support system for parents! Good luck to you all!

  56. Amber lynn says:

    Wow….I have a 19yr old boy, and I too try to protect him from harm…He talked about the military a year ago, and I put my fingers in my ears and said la,la,la, for 20 minutes till he went away. He is my only son, and he knows how devastated I would be if something happened to him, so for now he is in Community college…sigh…I am happy for you, and sad too…Your son proved that he could do it, and rose to the challenge..I am proud of him…I wish him well, and that you continue to have peace over this…

    big hug,

    amber lynn

  57. Sharee says:

    I was a military wife for 7 years. In fact I was a navy brat till the 6th grade :)Life is what we make of it…God Bless you and your family…The navy was great for my as a child and I loved being a military wife…Although the husband part wasnt that great! LOL!! Thanks for letting us be a part of all your wonderful and truly adventurous moments! Your family is something special and things will work out!

  58. Melissa Marsh says:

    You SHOULD be proud, Suzanne! Wow! What dedication that boy has!

  59. Jenni in KS says:

    I know how hard this is. My son joined the Marines last September. We signed those papers for him in May since he would have signed them when he turned 18 in September anyway and the recruiter convinced us there was some benefit to it. Recruiters can be a lot like used car salesmen. They are generally not my favorite people to put it mildly, but it helps (if only a little) to remember that most of them hate the job and would rather be doing something else. Caleb was just home on leave and left to drive back to Camp Lejeune last night. Long story short, the recruiter kind of screwed him out of the job he was trying to get, so he got diesel mechanic, he did his MOS training, then he got invited to be part of MARSOC. He is thrilled about this. I am not. I am proud of him and I hope he gets to do all the things he wants to do. You should hear how excited he is about SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape) training and being deployed. Sigh.

    Well, prayer is a good habit, and I feel like I’m certainly developing that habit these days. I will add your son to my prayers as well. As military service goes, I think he picked a good branch and job. It may be, too, that once he’s in it for a little while he’ll start to see some new direction for his life. My son didn’t want to consider college either, but he’s already talk about possibly becoming a high school teacher when he gets out, and he’s decided he does not want to re-enlist after his four years. That’s a victory on its own.

  60. Madeline says:

    Suzanne, my prayers and all my Mother-heart are with you and your family!! It’s obviously part of his destiny or it wouldn’t have played out this way– as a Mom,though–whoa, I can imagine your mixed feelings– he is a hero already, for following his heart and also for doing what it took to pass that test–already, this very grown up decision is brining out the best in your boy.. MANY MANY HUGS to you!!!!!!!!

  61. Becky says:

    Wow you gotta admire his dedication and perserverance in obtaining his goals! It sounds like he might really do well in the Navy and anything that comes his way after the NavY.

  62. Taryn says:

    That was a testament to his determination. And his intelligence. Scary for mom, but what an opportunity for him!

  63. Tina C. says:

    That is awesome!!! It must make you so proud that he has such determination. Congrats!

  64. AmyW says:

    This story spoke to me on so many levels….as a mom, a high school teacher, and a wife of a former Army Ranger.
    I have an 18 year old (my oldest). He is a senior this year. This growing up stuff is hard…for the moms. He’s not sure what he wants to do and it is hard to step back and allow him the freedom to make his own decisions. After all, he’s the one that will have to get up and go to work for the next 30+ years. He needs to chose what makes him happy and not what makes his mom happy.

    The military is scary because it takes them away from you. However, something happens when a young man goes off to the military. My husband went into the military right out of high school. He was in the Army Rangers. He will tell you that it was the smartest decision he ever made. No one is his family supported his decision to enter the military. They thought he was throwing his life away. However, the military opened so many doors for him and showed him that he was capable of so many things.

    As a teacher this story proves that just because a person doesn’t take physics or college-bound courses, they are doomed to a life of hardships (hope the sarcasm comes through on that one).

  65. Rys says:

    Congratulations Ross!
    I know how hard this is for you Suzanne.My daughter was in the Army & served in Iraq.

  66. Cheryl in Sunny Cal (Calhoun Co.) says:

    Congrats Ross! You over achiever you πŸ™‚ I wish you the best and will keep you and your mama in my prayers!

  67. Ken says:

    Congrats to your son on his quite commendable accomplishment. I spent 20 years in the Navy, retiring in ’96 and owe all that I am to that service (including college degree, law school, senior attorney). I had few prospects when I turned 17 and joined the Navy as soon I was legally permitted to do so. Your son sounds like he’s quite a special young man and I’m sure the Navy will give him quite a foundation upon which to build a lifetime of experiences upon. My two brothers and I combined to serve nearly 60 years on active duty and we look back fondly. OBTW, it takes a special parent to raise a child with as much character as your new Sailor!

  68. wvsky says:

    The only thing I remember about physics is that E=mc2 :yes:

    Congratulations! :snoopy:

  69. Colleen in OK says:

    Congrats – to both of you : Ross for working so hard and being determined to get what he wanted in the Navy (that will carry through- just watch) and to you for supporting him in his decision no matter how much it upset and worried(s) you. You raised a great son there and will be so proud of the man he is becoming.

    I’ve been in the Air Forc for over 17 years now and know what chages (good ones) it made in me … and now as a senior NCO I watch how my young airmen are growing and learning the strengths that they have. And the opportunities that the military offers for education etc help also.


  70. quietstorm says:

    {{{{ huggs }}}} suzanne
    Way to go Ross!!! It is amazing what they can do when they set their mind to something….
    my oldest is in the army & was stationed in Afghanistan.
    He came home from his 1st yr tour in march on his birthday – no better birthday present – you’ll have to let us know where he is so we can all send him care packages.

  71. cgReno says:

    Being the parent of a child, is way easier than being the parent of an adult……Bigs steps for both of you…Congratulations Ross and Suzanne………

  72. Senta Sandberg says:

    Tell Ross what he just did here in this last two weeks he will be doing for the next 6 years. Slow steady determination from now on. Good luck and nose to the books.

  73. Analogman says:

    Sounds familiar. Great Lakes will be really cold this time of year.

  74. jean says:

    As the mother of a son I am so torn over this post. My heart is in my throat right now. You and every American should be proud of him. He’s going to serve our country and obviously he really wants to. On the other hand, he’s your baby. I don’t care if he’s 18, he will always be your baby and you’ll always worry about him. Give him a hug for me please.

  75. wannabe says:

    Isn’t it amaazing what a little motivation can do (and how little of it most kids have in high school)!

  76. Mariah says:

    Congratulations! Despite all the mixed emotions I’m sure you are a very proud mom! You have a great kid on your hands!

  77. catslady says:

    My husband was a SeaBee but that was back during Vietnam – we had been married a year and I had to go back home to live – didn’t know how to drive. I too hate the recruiters. He was told if he enlisted he would not be going to Vietnam. His battallion had just come back from there and they Never sent them right back except they got a new high commander that wanted his medals and stars so they went. But like you said – it’s not Afganistan or Iraq for your son thank goodness.

  78. Cousin Sheryl says:

    Congratulations, Ross! We are proud of you! :shimmy:

    Love and Prayers, Suzanne!

    From ALL your cousins “over the hill.”

  79. Robin G. says:

    Congratulations, and also, I’m sorry. It’s… just one of those complicated things, isn’t it?

  80. Marianne says:

    I’m proud of him, too. My DH was in the Navy — served in Desert Storm and has all his arms and legs. My dad fought in WWII, was part of the Battle of the Bulge, came back with all his arms and legs. It really can happen. The military is a fantasic opportunity, though it takes a brave, brave person to sign up when we’re at war AND to volunteer to be on a sub. I don’t think I would survive on one. Living on a little bitty tube under all that water? I didn’t even like riding on BART in San Francisco when it went under the bay…

    Best of luck to him. Sounds like he’s got quite a backbone, good stubborness and the desire to succeed. Wonder who he got that from?

  81. Susan says:

    What an incredible saga, and it’s just the beginning! Wow, your son Ross–this was inside of him all along.(that gives me some hope…)

    What a blessing you and your family are, thanks for perservering, doing what you feel is right. And for writing about it with such elan.

  82. Cindy says:

    My son is in the Army, and he joined at 18. I tell you, I was so terrified for him when he was in Afghanistan, but so proud, too. He made it home safely, though he’ll bear the scars of battles forever, I’m sure. Ross, congratulations! You are doing something wonderful for our country, and for yourself, too.

  83. Susie says:

    Congratulations Ross! I’m glad that you chose a branch of service that will make your mom feel a sigh of relief for your safety! You are shipping out on my 60th birthday :hug:

  84. DebbieInMemphis says:

    Congratulations Ross!! You’ve shown what hard work and determination can do.

    These are those moments, as a mom, that warm your heart and scare you to death at the same time. We’ll be praying for you all.

  85. Beth Brown says:

    :chicken: Tell Ross ‘thank-you’! You’ve raised a son to be proud of – I can’t imagine the dedication it must have taken to learn physics in two weeks! I’m glad that he is reaching for his dreams! My daughter joined the Army in 2002 and enjoys it. She plans to take ASVABs and get into a different branch that is more in tune with her interests (environmental engr).

    Good for Ross, And Good for you!

    Beth Brown aka oneoldgoat

  86. Joni says:

    OHMYGOODNESS. Ross’s story brings tears to my eyes. You bring tears to my eyes, in how you’ve told his story. WOW. That’s all I can say. This boy, this AMERICAN boy, makes me so proud to be an American. DETERMINATION and SMARTS is going to serve him well in life. And, we all aren’t cut out for college, but the military can make great men of young boys…over time (some need more time than others!). I feel for you, being his mom and all, but let me say: ONLY IN AMERICA! Congratulations to him on kicking the A%$ of that test and for voluntarily serving his country.

  87. julie says:

    I too married a Navy Nuke. He had just graduated boot camp when we got married. He too was stationed on subs out of Norfolk, Virginia. He got out of the Navy after serving almost 12 years. He had too big of a husband and Daddy heart and he didn’t like leaving his family for sea duty. I also have an 18 year old and 16 year old son. If I had to choose, I would choose the Nuke path for my boys too. This path has given my husband a fantastic career in the Nuclear world. He is now a nuclear engineer contractor with no college degree. His experience in the Navy qualified him for the jobs he has had since then. I am excited for Ross. It sounds like he has found his motivation!
    grace and peace,

  88. Nita in SC says:

    Yay for Ross for his determination. That says a lot about what kind of boy (man!) he is. Hey – I am in Charleston!! When you come to visit him I will take you out to lunch!

  89. Oklahoma Granny says:

    Young men can surprise their parents sometimes. My older brother lacked a few credits to graduate from high school back in the 50’s. He enlisted in the Navy and somehow was able to obtain the credits he needed to graduate. Not only did he do that but the Navy gave him a battery of tests. He scored so high on all of them they offered to send him to Annapolis if he would enlist for an additional 4 years. He turned it down. He’s been kicking himself in the behind on that one for years. Our oldest grandson has talked about joining the Navy when he graduates this year. His mother and I would be proud of him but we are like you – he’s just a kid. I’m going to share this post with his mom. Congrats and good luck to your son. He sounds like a wonderful young man.

  90. Donna says:

    Good for Ross!! I am so proud of him!! He wants to do something good for his life career!! Coming from a military family and being married to one, I am PROUD of him!!!
    The military is great for getting kids to grow up and be mature too, for those that are not mature. Good for him!!!
    My father had been in the wars, since Korea…Vietnam..and one time I told him that someone’s mother didn’t want her son to join because of the wars and he got really mad and said “yeah,they want everyone ELSE to go fight for them”…so Ross is stepping up to the plate, at least, to serve and protect. Good news. Go Ross!

  91. Donna says:

    P.S. – I TWICE worked at a Military Entrance Processing Station. The first time in Headquarters/Testing and the second time in the I know all they look for, etc. I also dated an army guy that loved construction and he cross trained to go into that field. But, I don’t know how he did, because we broke up. LOL

  92. Estella says:

    Congratulations, Ross!
    You have every right to be proud of him, Suzanne.
    Estella, mother of 4 ex-Navy men—no nukes.

  93. Merlyn says:

    From all I’ve seen on this blog apparently he didn’t get that intellect from strangers.

  94. Jennifer says:

    My husband was unvoluntarily tapped to become an Army recruiter in early 2008. I know all about the ASVAB, know all about the methods they’re ordered to use to recruit, know all about the whole start talking to them when their juniors in high school bit, and know about military contracts.

    So three bits of advice (should it be needed):

    1. Just because his signature is on the line, doesn’t mean he can’t back out if he chose to do so.

    2. Now that the recruiter has your son’s signature, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear so much from him again, if at all, until it’s closer to time. Meaning, if you have questions about anything – the process, the contract, etc. you will be on the bottom of their “to-do” list. Finding new recruits comes first.

    3. If you or he would like to talk to my husband (no longer a recruiter) for some inside advice, I know he’d be glad to do it.

    That said, I want to share something with you & your readers that’s not been brought up enough in the media.

    The stress they put these guys through as recruiters is beyond unbearable. Especially for the guys just coming out of theater & now are being told to go “sell the military” – by no choice of their own. These guys didn’t join to become salesmen – they joined to fight.

    I know from personal experience, if they don’t “perform” they threaten to take away pay, take away rank. And when there’s no more pay or rank to take away, they threaten to disrupt your family life so much that divorce will be the only option. They work you from 6am to midnight 7 days a week. They find ways to write up Article 15’s (punishment) to continue to push them to succeed.

    PTSD is rampant. Drinking is rampant. Unethical means of recruiting & testing is rampant….and so is recruiter suicide.

    The Houston station alone has had 4 suicides in less than a year. In Oklahoma, out of roughly 150 state-wide recruiters there were 4 suicides & 11 attempts in 2008.

    My husband is a ‘by-the-book’ guy. His moral compass runs straight & true and being a recruiter, being forced to do ‘whatever it takes’, for 9 months nearly took his life.

    It’s still hard to talk about it without getting emotional. But if you or your son need someone in your corner, please let me know. We’d be glad to do all we can.

    Military life can be great – it can be a grand adventure like no other. And I know how proud you must be of your son – to set his mind on something & accomplish it. Just don’t let the process to get in taint your opinion of what it’s really like.

    Congratulations to Ross & welcome to the family.

    Much love from an overseas Army wife,

  95. Marlena says:

    Good for him! I’m sure you are proud. He worked hard and succeeded. My husband is in the air force. We’re stationed here in Charleston at the Air base. The air base and navy base are going to joint basing this year so the navy base will fall under the air base. My husband is retiring next spring after 23 years. It’s a good life if you make the best of it. Charleston is awesome as I’m sure you remember. He’ll enjoy it here with the beaches and the weather.

  96. Missy says:

    Go Ross! Go Navy!

  97. Angelia May says:

    Congrats to Ross. I am married to an ex-Navy guy. He taught nukes – I used to work at one of the facilities in Norfolk. At least Navy, on a ship πŸ™‚

  98. LisaAJB says:

    My husband’s in the army and would have talked him out of it for you. Now that he’s in, good luck and be safe! Hope everything works out well for you and for him.

  99. Stephanie says:

    You should be proud. And Go Ross!

  100. Jennie says:

    And proud you should be. My son aced that test at the age of 17, and we proudly signed for him to join the nuke program. He makes good money and got a Harvard education, paid for 100% by the Navy. We’ve never regretted our choice.

  101. Dawn says:

    I’m proud of him too. And totally understand many of the emotions you described when he signed up. My sons are both army, and i’m currently just starting “my” third deployment. Oh my god, my nerves!

    Being military mom is something. I’m not sure what…but it sure is something…. and you’ll be in my thoughts. πŸ™‚

  102. Brianne says:

    Suzanne!!! I live no more than 30 minutes from the Great Lakes Naval Base in IL (I live in Volo, IL). I don’t know exactly how boot camp works, or how long he’ll be there, or if he can accept visitors or, more importantly, food… but if you can find these things out for me, I would be more than happy to look in on Ross while he’s here next June and bring him homemade bread… and report back my findings to you, of course. If he can “escape” for dinner, I’d also be honored to “rescue” him for an evening and make sure he’s well fed and in good spirits. My husband and I are only 10 years older than he is, so hopefully we’re still cool enough to carry some good conversation over a meal! Think about it. Really! I’m more than willing, and would love to meet your son! Email me if you want to talk about it! πŸ™‚

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi, Brianne! I don’t think he’s allowed to do anything during boot camp. He’s not even allowed to bring his cell phone (or wear his contact lenses!). I believe boot camp is a very restricted period. But thank you!!

      • Brianne says:

        Insert sad face here. πŸ™ Well, in that case, or in addition, rather, if you need a place to stay before or after you deliver him to base, my home is your home. We have a great guest bedroom and far too few guests. Just let me know… And tons of hugs and comfort to you during this multi-conflictingly-emotional time.

  103. cranberry says:

    God Bless your son for his (future) service and keeping we Americans all safe, moms, dads, kids, everyone. God Bless the Military. What would we do without all of these brave men and women. Other wise we’d be some third World Country. I would be proud to have a son that wanted to enlist.

  104. Mustang Sally says:

    Suzanne, what a story. That young man just learned a lifetime lesson in believing in himself. I really don’t see what the Navy can teach him after that. My favorite saying has always been, “nothing succeeds like determination” which he so vividly illustrated. My prayers and good wishes go with him and with you.

    Sally B.

  105. smiledarlin says:

    He will leave a boy and return a young MAN- with a purpose and a skill.
    I am proud of him and of you- Momma.

    My family was military and I have nephews who are in the USN- all love what they do.

    Good luck & God Bless HIM.

  106. Shelly says:

    I’m against war of any kind. I know this brings up many questions but there are many others options in life. Do you really want your boy to be a changed man. Look at the statistics of how many military men come back with mental problems, if they come back at all. Do some research while you have time.

  107. Christy O says:

    My dad was in nuclear subs for a few years. If you have to be in the military, that is the way to go. It is quite an accomplishment to get accepted into the nuc program.

  108. Catherine says:

    Amazing story, Suzanne! And thank you, Ross, for letting your mom tell us about you! Your story is an inspiration and a comfort to us moms with still little boys who aren’t, you know, school-oriented. You can be proud of each other! Sending you all good wishes.

  109. Melita says:

    Congrats Susan and congrats Ross!

  110. Deborah R says:

    Your son does a great honor to his country, her citizens and especially his family. I’ll pray that G-d keeps him safe, out of harm’s way, and happy.

    The family a service member leaves behind also serves, so thank you for your service.

  111. nancy h. says:

    You should be proud of Ross. You should also be very proud of his brave,supportive mother. Bless you both.

  112. Darlene says:

    Oh, this is a hard one isn’t it?

    I spent 3 years in the Air Force while Viet Nam was going on and then 3 years in the Air National Guard. My daughter wanted to enlist in the AF, but hasn’t gotten around to finishing her schooling. She’s dating/engaged to a young marine who is in Iraq. He’s not sure if he will re-up or not. My almost 18 ds is talking about enlisting in the AF, he wants to fly. He’s the only son for several generations and if something happens to him, his great-grandfather’s branch of the family dies out.

    But you know, they have to be free to live their own lives. We can send in coaching signals, but ultimately, THEY have to live THEIR lives. If we try to make their decisions for them, we end up crippling them or leaving them angry and unmotivated.

    Most of the young scamps I knew when I was in the AF have grown into religious people. Yes, they didn’t do a lot of things that they should and did a lot of things they shouldn’t, but eventually, they grew up and really became respectable citizens. They’ve taken the training they received and went out to make the world a better place.

    I’m sorry Shelly made the comments she did. The only reason she can make them is that someone fought a war to allow freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the ability to continue speaking English! How easy it is to forget that fact. Yes, war is a sad thing and to be avoided, but sometimes you have to protect yourself and your country. Know that the “nuke kids” are a different class of sailor. They have to be or they wouldn’t live to tell about it – they are on NUCLEAR powered subs. You don’t mess around with that kind of ship.

    Yes, you WANT your son to change. Green grows, ripe rots. You really don’t want him to remain a boy on the threshold of manhood all his life. Witness how many men are glad to sponge off of the women in their lives. How many keep coming home to mama when things get tough instead of standing on their own two feet. How many fail to provide for their own families. You’ve given him wings and roots, now it’s time to let him fly, he’ll come back better for the experience.

    The truth is, your son is now an adult and has to choose his own way. You REALLY don’t have anything to say about it. All you can do is damage the relationship by trying to order him around. Look at how determined he was, as evidenced by his learning a topic in 2 weeks, just to pass those tests! This was not done on a “whim”! I’m glad that you love and trust him enough to support his decision to enlist. I’m glad you’re proud of him and not disowning him for not doing what you wanted.

    True, going into the military is not my first choice for my kids (nor having them marry into a military situation). Not because I don’t want them to protect my country, but because I’ll miss them and I want them near me. :hissyfit: But it’s not MY choice, it’s their’s. It’s THEIR life. I support whatever honorable work they choose to do in this life, including joining the military and moving away. πŸ˜₯ And I Facebook with my new “son” to keep up with him. I’m proud that he has chosen to serve.

    By the way, your son is in more danger driving around town than he will be in the Navy. Ships don’t normally sink, but cars end up greasy side up all the time! lol now you can worry about that. πŸ˜•

  113. Chris says:

    Congrats to you Ross for sticking up for what you want to do!! You proved to everyone that it didn’t matter what your past performance counted for – its what you do now that counts!!! Be proud!! Being in the Navy will be a good experience!! And Mom, bet you will be the most supportive person for him – plus look what you give to him to look forward to when he comes home for visits!!!
    My parents were both Navy!! Go Navy!!

  114. Sharon says:

    Tell him I’m proud of him. I remember going through this some 15 years ago. We did sign when he was 17, he left for Marine boot camp the day after high school graduation and has been in ever since – that was in 1995. He’s still in there and plans on staying for several more years. He will soon be going to the “Stan” for awhile.

    From a Semper Fi Mom

  115. annbb says:

    Ya done good, mama. You have a lot to be proud of.

  116. Mia says:

    How great is it that he found what he wants to do. I do have a question. What does that NF Open mean on his envelope? Does he have documentation that guarantees him the job he asked for? If that ‘Open’ means open enlistments then they can stick him in any job they see fit. No matter what the recruiter ‘said’. Just saying….

    • Suzanne says:

      No, NF stands for Nuclear Field and that the job is open (available) for him. FR stands for First Recruit (his title until boot camp begins). He has a contract with a list of enlistment guarantees including his job and bonus.

  117. Donalyn says:

    Both of our daughters chose to go in the military and despite several wartime deployments and some rather difficult times, they are both out now, safe and sound and the better for the whole experience. Oh yeah – the military issued each of them a husband as well, so now we have a couple of big wonderful sons in law too. πŸ˜‰

  118. Fiddldd says:

    Please Include my well wishes & Congratulations to Ross.It was truly AMAZING what he accomplished in TWO WEEKS!!!.
    All my sentiments have been said by others while my computer took a little nap.

  119. amspicer says:

    you should put Ross’s new address up when it comes, I know in the army any food sent they have one minute to eat. There is plenty of us here to send care packages or just words of encouragement!

    If you send food though make sure they have all the stuff they need, a friend of mine used to send back for cans of baked beans, and his mom would send them and a can opener, that way he could still eat them and not have to through the whole can out. My uncle used to send my mom tacos from taco bell with the sauces already on them, and rolled ready to eat πŸ™‚

  120. Amy Lynn says:

    Congrats to Ross. You should be very proud of him. It takes an amazing person to want to protect our country. Good job on raising a good man! πŸ˜€

  121. Patricia Herman says:

    Congratulations for your son – he has made a decision to serve his country and accept an challenge. Awesome job he did on studying – passing and getting into the Navy!

  122. Lori in CA says:

    What a story! Ross – WTG!! I’m proud of you. It would have been easy to have just given up. It’ll be exciting to see just where your drive and determination will take you.

    Suzanne – hugs to you. Being a mom is one tough job (and it’s the best job on the planet too – but it ain’t for the weak!!).

  123. wendy says:

    Navy has the best dress uniforms. That’s what really matters!

    Congratulations to your son!

  124. Katharina says:

    I am so proud of Ross and I am proud of you too, Suzanne. Having a son that serves has been the highlight of my life. It will stretch your prayer life like never before.

  125. SuzieQ says:

    My son, the baby of my three, took the nuke test, many years ago, his junior year of high school. Beat out 3 college graduates taking it at the same time..We had to sign for him because he wasn’t yet 18. He graduated from high school in June and left in Aug from NC for boot camp in San Diego. Had his 18th birthday in Sept while in boot camp…thought I would die when his plane left for the west coast..BUT SO PROUD as I know you are! :heart:

  126. Stephanie Sweat says:

    This made me tear up! I’m a mom, too, and I lived that fear right there with you, friend. At the same time, I know you’re SO VERY proud of your son, who has committed to serving this great country. I’m proud of him, too. Blessings on him, and blessings on you as you let him go.

  127. Paola says:

    I am so proud of my cousin…what smarts he has. And, I’m glad he enjoyed school of girls & cars, and still was able to buckle down, study and be in the Navy! What an honor!!!

  128. FlowerLady says:

    Congratulations to your son! Blessings to you both.


  129. SuzzyQ says:

    I just read this (I am a fairly new fan!) and got teary! I’m proud of your boy and I don’t even know him.
    He is, as they say, “The best of the best”. I will pray for him. WOW! I’m so impressed!

  130. Joykenn says:

    Suzanne–Great Lakes boot camp isn’t bad. When they finally get a weekend day off, we see all the fresh new kids–all polished and pressed and YOUNG–show up at Navy Pier in Chicago to take in the sights, eat in the restaurants, go to the IMAX theatre and stare at all the other people from Chicago and the tourists doing the same. Lots of proud Mamas and Poppas along with them.

  131. Carol Langille says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post, Suzanne, but I did.
    I am proud of your son. I can see in his straight forward eyes that he will be everything a real American military man can be…honest and hardworking, smart and brave. Congratulations on this beautiful son…God bless him and keep him safe.
    And I’m proud of you….how hard it must be to give a child up to the military. But you have shaped him and helped him become the young man he is and I know you want what is right and what is best for this boy child.
    You will both be forever in my prayers.

  132. Rechelle says:

    Great story. I am proud of him too.

  133. Judy D. says:

    Ross’ actions certainly showed his determination and it all paid off. I’m glad you said you’re proud of him…as you should be. Wow, what an accomplishment!! I’m sure he feels good about himself as he demonstrated an “I can do it” attitude. Congratulations Ross. I wish you the very best with your military career. I’ve always been very proud of the men and women serving our country.

  134. Colleen says:

    Welcome aboard Mom… My son is stationed in Japan. Please tell Your son THANK YOU for HIs Service…

    Blessings Colleen :sun:

  135. Jill O'Connor says:

    I think it is so funny that I found your blog looking at your homemade pop tarts. I’m a Navy wife and cook book author, and my husband is a “nuke” as well. He is retiring next month after 30 years in the Navy. Good luck to your son. It sounds like he has found his passion and calling. It’s a hard life (as you know) but I wish him, and you, well.

    We seem to have a lot in common.

  136. Cathy Nichols says:

    I too am a Navy Mom. My son, Caleb was in 3rd year of college when he decided to go in. His Grandfather was on Normandy Beach D-Day, his uncle was in Vietnam and Great Uncle was a Seabee. He went to Great Lakes and then married a Nuke…now divorced. Caleb was on the Enterprise CVN-65 and went across the pond 3 times now. He now lives in Newport News, Va on shore duty. I got to know the other sailors while he was on the ship and have become very close to all of them. I sent all of them packages while they were on sea and they loved it. They call, write and even come to Wv to see me. I love them all and love my veterans! Caleb is a Petty Officer and now on his Masters. So very proud of him as you are your son. GOD bless him and thank him for me for what he does. Cathy

  137. cassandra plouvier says:

    Good luck to your son and your family (and thanks for all the awesome receipes!!!). I have served in the Navy for 9 years as of yesterday and am glad everyday that I did it. Your son is in for an adventure!!!

  138. Wendy says:

    As the wife of a wonderful man who has served his country in the Navy for 29 years, I wish your young man all the best, he is in for some hard work and some great times as well making friendships that will last his lifetime… May he always be blessed and safe.

  139. Samantha says:

    I have LOVED reading all about Ross, I’m the girlfriend(of 4 years) of a recruit and reading all of this has help me so much. I have 16 days until my recruit’s graduation and it’s getting really hard but all of your stories have helped. My recruit is also doing the Nuke thing, and though he only took the ASVAB once, I was skeptical about him getting into that. I really like that you put some excerpts of Ross’ letters, that very cool of you. You’ve definitely helped with worrying about my recruit. I have gotten 4 letters and 2 calls and it just is too little communication, which I’m sure you can understand and felt that way. But, thank you for sharing your’s and Ross’ boot camp experience, I hope he is still doing well in the Nuke program. πŸ™‚
    -Samantha, FL.

  140. cinderbama says:

    My youngest decided this past summer to withdrawn from college and enlist in the Navy. We are an old military family, but most are Army or Air Force. It feels differently when it’s your kid instead of your husband. My son has a ship date in March but they have now told him he may get orders as soon as two weeks. I’m hoping we make it through Thanksgiving. He will be Electronics Tech – Fire Control. Since we are from Alabama I don’t think he realizes how cold Great Lakes is going to be this winter!

    Reading about Ross’ adventures (and yours as his mom) have really helped me know what to expect. Thank you for sharing Suzanne.

  141. Brad McCulley says:

    That was a great story! As I was reading it I said to myself “oh poor him, very few people do better 2nd time around on the ASVAB” but he did. Good on ‘im! I did the same thing when I was in high school (though not so lucky re-taking the ASVAB) and it all turned out ok. Bravo Zulu and much luck in his new career.

  142. lyzcollins says:

    I am a Navy mom and a Veteran and, once like you, a service member’s wife. Like you, my son is a Nuke. Your blog made me smile and cry at the same time.

  143. carmeno says:

    Kids can give you unexpected “surprises”. I had my finger crossed that selective service would not make a come back until my son turned 25 (3 generations of Army in my family). He turned 25 and what happened? He decided to join the Army. Lucky for me, the recluter kept telling him how he would be get to get lots of “action”, not exactly in the military if you get my drift. I raised him on my own, after my divorce, so I taught him better. The next recluter over was Air Force, who told him all the right things (I could breathe, way safer than the Army). He “left” the Air Force to study engineering through VA and is now doing an internship in the same Air Force base as a civilian.

  144. Kelly Barnes says:

    Hi, I just want to tell you, My Grandpa was in the Navy, My Dad in the Air Force and my “little brother” is currently serving in the South Pacific in the Navy. He has 6 months to go and he is retired ! Its not easy being a military family. Theres alot of worry, anxiety, fear, ( he went to Fallejah with the Seabees in 2004) But there is its benefits too. He earned a college degree, it made him a man, he laerned a trade and it made us stronger as a family. As a family, we dont take each other for granted. We value our time together as a family when he is home on leave. It will be hard, but what ever you do, support ( not that you wouldnt) him. I love your blog by the way. Kelly P.s. Ross, thank you for your service.

  145. Mrs J says:

    I’m a Navy Mom too! My daughter was looking into the Medical field and there were no openings. She then decided on MA (Master @ Arms = Military Police). She graduated BC in May 2010, tech school in San Antonio, then off to Europe for the rest of her enlistment. She is loving every day of it (even though BC was really hard for her). She had decided to change her career objectives to Law Enforcement (she had to qualify for and carries M-16, Rifle, and Glock 19)and has even mentioned she wouldn’t mind being a gunners mate!? She had made a wonderful decision and her family is very proud of her!!

  146. seadreamstudio says:

    sounds familiar! my son is a future nuke… in his 3rd week of boot camp right now!!β™₯

  147. angelg5159 says:

    I too am a Navy mom,also an Air Force mom! My son is staioned in Guam and all I can say is thank goodness for Skype.We talk about twice a week and I get to see his face not just hear his voice.My son turned 20 while in training and I cried,it was his first birthday away from us.Congratulations to your son and be proud of your awesome young man as he begins the next step of his life’s journey.

  148. wyobacyardfarmer says:

    Yea! I am a Navy Sister/Neice (my brother & my aunt are Navy!) I was a soldier and a sister of a soldier! Now I am a backyard farmin Mama in the same small town I grew up in! I am still involved with the military as the Family Readiness Lead Volunteer for the NG here! For the first 2 years with the same unit I joined 12 years ago (they closed that unit in June of 2012) now for another unit! I LOVE THE MILITARY!

  149. yoshicorto says:

    I am about to know what this all feel like. I found your post and you crystallized exactly how I am feeling this morning. It encourages me to know, we are mom’s who love our sons, and want to keep them safe. We also have to allow them to choose the path they feel is best for them. My son will be joining the Nuclear Sub program too. He is truly excited. I am holding back my tears.

    So hard.

  150. Alfsdogs says:

    Having read your story and the adventures of your son, I can only say, he is in very good hands.

    I served and retired from the submarine service, then of all things, our son went in the Navy and then went submarines as well. The service has been a long standing tradition in my family. Just our way. But, we (my son and myself) found a good life and good careers with challenge in the Submarine lifestyle.

    I do wish him well. My son is nearing retirement now, he is on a Submarine located up here in the Northwest.

    I enjoy your site very much, the work by you and so many others, the sharing of recipes and other crafts and such, just fantastic. Thank you so much for this and for allowing me to look around and try a few of the wonderful recipe’s listed.

    I do look forward to sharing a few of my own recipe’s from from my double career in food service. Now, I just cook for fun and friends. Much easier and personal.

    :chef: :french:

  151. myriad says:

    I made an account to especially convey sincere gratitude that you nurtured a son who made a choice to join the defense force. So many of us enjoy a perfect sleep because someone else is being selfless enough to give up the sleep and keep a watch. It requires a special person to do this job and the one who loves that special person is even more special because he/she are watching and hoping and praying with everything that if something happened it happen to you and not to your loved one. It’s a huge huge sacrifice.
    I was searching for recipie for flower food when I connected to your site but I have always respected defense personnel and I just checked out the navy mom link. I was touched by your story and went about reading other comments as well. Thanks to you and all the other people who work to protect all the others.

  152. cincyjojo says:

    I’m a NARMY mom, too!

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