Support military men, womenBy Alyssa Bloechl • April 12, 2012 • Category: News, Opinions
Recently a good friend of mine enlisted into the United States Navy. He went to college
for a few years and determined that he would be better off serving our country and
applying his skills in that way. He will be focusing in a nuclear engineering position on
submarines once he finishes his basic training.
I have never been close to someone who has enlisted into the armed forces, so this is a
new experience for me. As a journalist, I should be bursting with intellectual and thoughtful
questions, but I am at a loss of words whenever I think about starting a letter. I’m so
proud of him, and want to support him, but I’m also scared that I will say something
wrong or stupid.
I am very anxious about what he will be doing in his immediate future, and I think
about him a lot. I have been impatiently awaiting his first letter. His mom told me this last
weekend that his class was given just 25 minutes of writing privileges, so I may not see
anything for a while because I’m hoping he is writing to his family first. My fear is that
when he does write, it won’t be more than a quick “hello, I’m fine and I miss everyone,”
kind of letter. I want to know everything, and I won’t get to for a long time.
Since his departure to Great Lakes, Ill., I have been reflecting on what I will do and say
when I see him again, which may not be for over a year and a half. According to navy.com,
people like my friend operate and maintain the most formidable fleet of nuclear-powered
submarines and aircraft carriers on the planet. He is going to be pursuing an extremely
high level of intellectual and personal endeavors in this field along with defending the
United State’s national security. I’m sure he won’t want to try and explain the science
and hopefully not the math behind his job to me in a short conversation or a little letter.
I mean, I have a cousin who has been in the Navy for almost a year and my Grandfather
also served in the Navy during World War II on a battleship. (I know, lot’s of Navy
connections . . .) My cousin and I are not very close, so there isn’t much for me to learn
from him and my Grandfather never talked about his war experiences for obvious reasons.
I basically have nothing to work with.
It’s not as if he will be seeing combat anytime soon, or ever for all I know, but from
what I am finding on navyformoms.com and the Facebook page for US Navy Life the
only thing I, or any other person that has a friend or family member in the Armed Forces,
can do is to just be supportive. Support for their choice to enlist is the best thing for them,
because it will make their experience easier and not ridden with guilt for leaving.
I also learned that when welcoming home someone from a tour, it is best to adapt to
change as effortlessly as possible. The separation can create an awkwardness or a new
found independence from each other. Time is an essential element in being back together,
becaue no matter how many preventive measures you take to keep your lives the same,
they will more than likely change.
As for seeing my friend again, I can’t wait. The plan is to be whatever he needs me to
be. Supportive, loving, distant or just there, whatever it takes. I feel that this is a lesson
everyone needs to be knowledgeable of so that when your time comes to be the support
of a military man