One week from today, my son will graduate from Armor Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). In two weeks, parents of cadets at The Citadel will descend on Charleston for Parents’ Weekend. It is also Ring weekend, the time all cadets look forward to their senior year.
This year is the first year, in the past four, that we will not be in Charleston for Parents’ Weekend. We are creating new rituals as the family of a graduate and new second lieutenant. I will miss the rhythm of the college school year. Fortunately, I’ve made some wonderful friends and know we will go to Charleston for visits but our time won’t be spent following the official schedule of events for cadets.
I’m already missing the regular information posts of The Citadel. As the mom of a second lieutenant, I have to rely on calls, emails, or text messages from my son to fill me in on what type of training he is going through. The Public Affairs Office at Fort Benning does have a lot of information posted, but much of it is geared toward the spouses of soldiers, not family members who are not in the area of the base. To learn the location, time and directions to the graduation next week took a phone call and a few email messages.
The next phase is Ranger School. My son will report at the end of October. The website for Ranger School is very helpful. I’ve also read Facebook posts of his classmates who are in the Ranger School class immediately ahead of him. They all know just how challenging this training is. A few 2011 graduates of The Citadel have mentioned that their schedule in the real Army is tougher than knob (freshman) year. That is saying a LOT.
In some ways, I feel like the mom of a knob. I get little information from my son. He is putting in long hours and getting little rest. And he still appreciates care packages of protein based foods.
Unlike knob year, I don’t have the comfort of regular photos being posted to a web site, or parent volunteers to call with questions. In that regard, I am like any other parent of a recent college graduate living away from home and working at a new job . . . until he is deployed.
Filed under: Military families, U.S. Army Tagged: | Armor BOLC, Army Rangers, Cadet, Dorie Griggs, Family, Fort Benning, Knob, military families, Parents Weekend, postaday2011, Ring Weekend, The Citadel, United States Army