In one way or another I have been lucky enough to be involved with the military since birth! Both of my parents enlisted in the Navy right after they graduated from high school. They meet while stationed in Bainbridge, MD. They were introduced through mutual coworkers. Once they married, my mother was released from active duty to travel with her husband and look after the children (that was the military way back in the day). After my sister and I were born, my father was transferred to Charleston, SC. This is where we settled while my father continued to be transferred to different duty stations while he finished his Navy career. Once he retired and my parents divorced.
As a single parent, my mom struggled with us, but always remembered her military career fondly and wished she had not given it up. Once we were old enough (high school age) my mom enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves where she served our country until we graduated high school, then she transferred to Active Duty Army and retired at 65. She is currently resting at the VA cemetery in Beaufort, SC.
My daddy who is now 92 is still proud of his military career and wears his military ball caps and jackets every time he gets a chance. I still refer to him as Senior Chief and speak to his in military times (which makes his happy). His man cave is lined with his military trophies (his shadow box, letters of commendation, etc.). Where he sits and admires them fondly.
In 1982, I was hired by the U.S. Navy Civil Service where I spent 35 years before retiring. I never donned a uniform per se, but I served my country in other ways. In Charleston, I was a civilian dispersing clerk for 3 different submarines, ensuring that they were paid correctly and on time every pay day. When the Charleston base shut down, I moved to Kings Bay, GA. Although not active duty, I was welcome as if I were. Which made me feel at home there. For a change, I moved to the west coast where I worked at the Personnel Support Detachment where I supported the submariners at Bremerton, WA. After two years I missed the south and moved back to Charleston. Although no longer connected to the submarine community, I was now concentrated on taking care of the financial needs of the Nuclear School students and the Weapons Station staff. No, I did not have to leave my family for long periods of time, but what we did back on shore was extremely important too.
When my son Ryan was a little boy he always wanted to be a policeman. High school was crazy time, everyone wants to fit in. His group of friends were not bad kids, but not many had a life plan. After he graduated from high school one of his friends enlisted in the Marines and tried to talk him into joining with him. Ryan declined even though he had no real direction. Ryan had many different jobs, but none that really spoke to him, so he decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a Master At Arms, which is actually the Navy Police. He spent 4 years in the Navy and petitioned to transfer to Active Duty, but at that time the government was down sizing the military and would not allow that to happen. He was extremely disappointed because he loved the discipline of the military. When he was discharged, he came back home to Charleston and applied to the North Charleston Police Department. He was accepted to the department, went to the police academy and has served there since 2008. He started as a Patrolman and now serves as a Lt. I firmly believe that the military gave him the discipline and courage to pursue his dream.
I miss being a part of the military community and believe that being a volunteer for your organization, I can still serve this country and our service men and women,