Tomorrow my nephew enters boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He will be the third generation in our family to “go Navy.” I called him tonight to wish him well in his new career. I was speaking to a retired Navy recruiter yesterday and that man said that today’s recruits don’t face the hazing that was part of my experience in the early 1970’s, but that my nephew will face rigor nonetheless. I hope that you will join me in praying for Tom as he embarks on this journey. All recruits face a transition from civilian to military life. They leave behind the familiar surroundings of home with its comfort and familiarity. They make the transition to military life. They learn to become part of a team. It’s the end of individuality in a culture that stresses just that.
I remember my own transition. I joined the Navy because that’s how my Dad had answered the call during World War II. Like Dad, I went to Boot Camp at Great Lakes. Those first days were an awakening. I met a lot of great young men and formed relationships that I still remember nearly thirty-six years later. I had a really great company commander. He was Chief William W. Boyd. Chief Boyd was near the end of his Navy career when he took us through boot camp. We loved him and visited him after we got out of boot camp. I hope Tom does as well.