July 13, 2013

Army Strong

Instead of blasting Facebook and Instagram (...more than I already have!) I have to take this moment to brag about my younger brother, Zachary, and his most recent accomplishments as a new soldier in the United States Army.

I've mentioned on here a few times that I am a military brat.  My parents met as soldiers, and since birth being part of a military family is the only life I know and love. When my brother officially decided to join up I know it was a proud moment for my parents.

After 2 very long months of hard work, sweat, and yelling---lots of yelling, Zach is now a graduate of Basic Combat Training in the US Army.

Zach excelled during basic training and did very well in all areas. When we arrived to family day on Wednesday and met his drill sergeants it was easy to tell by the way they spoke of him that they were proud of him and saw a great future for Zach in the military.
Family day started with a field demonstration by the drill sergeants. They concluded their demonstration by filling the tree line at the back of the field with smoke and slowly we saw the battalion emerge from the smokey cloud, marching down the field in formation. 

The crowd was going wild with excitement and a sense of pride for the newly turned soldiers as they made their way down the field. A member of Delta Company, we easily spotted my 6'4'' brother in the front line. After brief introductions and instructions, we were able to make our way down to the field to see our soldier.

 It was so nice to see and hug my brother! He looked older, taller (combat boots!), and like an all around changed man. Boot camp will do that to you, they say. Zach was free from there as long as we stayed on Post so we all went to lunch together and then walked around taking pictures and catching up.

Soon after lunch the power went out around Post and they granted everyone a pass off for the evening so we were able to go back to the hotel where Zach could relax and then we went to dinner. He was most excited for sleep, candy, and my mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies and pineapple upside down cake she brought him.

After dinner we headed back to Post and Zach's company had a small ceremony and briefing. This was probably the most exciting point in the day. Zach along with 11 other soldiers in his 200 person company was promoted! He was called to the front from formation and my retired, 1st Sergeant father got to pin my brother's first rank.

The drill sergeants said to pin it with some "oomph" and of course my father did not take that lightly!

It was a very proud moment for my parents and not just because he is their son, but as veterans and an Army family I know it is that much more special. I am so proud of my brother for standing out among the rest as a leader and an excellent soldier. He deserved every bit of that recognition for his outstanding performance throughout BCT.

After that Zach was in for the night, so we said our goodbyes until the next day...graduation day!

Day 2--Graduation Day
Thursday morning was an early start as my parents and I got up and headed back to Fort Jackson for the official graduation ceremony. We were seated and entertained by an Army reserve band and then the ceremony was under way as the battalion marched down the field in their dress uniform.

The ceremony was simple and short and my parents and I were filled with pride yet again.

Next up my brother heads to AIT where he will do 14 weeks of job specific training. I know he will continue to lead and grow as a man and a soldier. I am so incredibly proud of you, Zachary. We will miss you back home!

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