Natalie and I just got back from spending a week in San Antonio, Texas to watch, celebrate and participate in our son’s (Luke) graduation from BMT at Lackland AFB. (Basic Military Training) One thing we have learned since joining our son on this journey of joining the Air Force, is that, our United States Military loves them some acronyms! Every thing has an acronym! From going to the BX with some of his A1C buddies, to getting his MREs for BEAST week and then finally graduating to go off to tech school. Not knowing if he is going to be CONUS or ONUS once he does complete tech school. I could go on and on, but I digress.
There is a special sense of pride when you see the kid who you helped raise, that same kid who only used to want to play Minecraft, XBox, skateboard and think of every excuse in the world not to do the school project that was due on Monday morning, and it is 8:00pm on a Sunday night, to wear that Air Force uniform and almost instantly transform from a 19 year kid to a 19 year old professional young man.
Our first time seeing Luke, almost 8 weeks after dropping him off at the MEPS center (military entrance processing station) in Tampa to ship off to Boot Camp, was Thursday morning for the Airman’s Run. All 786 Airman trainees in the their respective flights, wearing their flight colors and designed t-shirts ran in formation along the training pad yelling out their running cadence.
♪, ♫ ♪, ♫ “What’s it feel like,
To be bit by,
by a Gator?
Whoa Whooa Whoooa” ♪, ♫ ♪, ♫
I admit, it was pretty impressive! Lot’s of pride, the good kind of pride, on those young men and women’s faces and you could hear it in the voices as they yelled out their Jodys.
Next up was the “Coin Ceremony” where, while dressed in their ABUs, the airmen received their Airman Coin from their respective MTI (Military Training Instructor) and were officially transitioned from trainees to Air Force Airmen. We all went down on the training pad, and dismissed Luke by “tapping” him out. We had our Airman for the rest of the day, but was confined to base liberty only.
The next morning, was the official graduation parade. Luke and his fellow Airmen was decked out in their blue Air Force uniforms. Complete with their rank (if they had received it yet) and their chest pins. It was a great morning watching and listening to the official oath of office to the Airman’s Creed. When 786 men and women repeat something at the same time, it has the ability to give you chills.
Saturday we spent the morning walking up and down the famous River Walk and had lunch. Did I mention we walked the River Walk….lots of walking. We had our FitBit 10,000 steps in by noon. I was beautiful and not as crowded as we had expected! Love the River Walk and it is a definite “must-do” for anyone who visits San Antonio. Hung out at the house more that evening before taking Luke back to his HQ. Sunday, Natalie, Chase and I hung out with Luke on the base. Played some intense rounds of Ping Pong, Foosball and a little shopping and lunch at the BX.
It was quite impressive and amazing to witness the change in posture, demeanor and overall the way he carried himself in just 7 1/2 weeks. What ever our United States Air Force does for and to these men and women during BMT, they know what they are doing and they are doing it very, very well! My dad was a Navy man and my brother was an Airman. This past week however, offered a taste of military pride I had not experienced before. It has even made a strong positive impression on our 15 year old who went with us.
Being in Real Estate, I have had the pleasure of assisting some of our nations heroes/veterans in both selling and purchasing homes. It is a big honor for Natalie and I to help and try to give back a little to our veterans. We are offering a “cash back” award, during the closing, to all of our clients who are active or past military as a small gesture of saying, “Thank you for your service”.
God Bless America and Aim High!