My Coastie

What an adventure!  After a very exciting summer, Dustin is now a Seaman Apprentice in the United States Coast Guard.  He is doing well.  We are so proud.

Dustin left for boot camp on June 26th.  His family watched him swear in before saying goodbye.

He flew to Cape May, NJ for eight weeks of training.  Dustin told me that boot camp was the most difficult thing that he has ever done.  And his graduation from boot camp was certainly his proudest moment.  He seems to have a lot of respect for his CC’s (you mean the men & women who screamed at you constantly?).  He says that no matter how hard it got, he did not regret his decision to join the Coast Guard.

We had very little communication with Dustin while he was in boot camp, except thru letter-writing.  Now, writing letters & waiting for the mail can be tedious.  But it was actually a nice way to communicate.  Dustin is not normally a sentimental guy & rarely shares his feelings.  But his letters home were very heartfelt.  It was nice to hear how much he appreciates the love & support of his family & friends.  And he so appreciated getting letters from home, as he was terribly homesick!

I joined his company’s Facebook page.  It was comforting to hear from other parents whose sons & daughters were going thru boot camp with Dustin.  Pictures were often posted, & we would get an occasional glimpse of Dustin in a picture, running or marching; always looking quite serious & military-like.  It was surreal to see my boy in those pictures.

During week five, I got a brief phone call from Dustin.  The call was only to inform me of his duty station, no chit-chat allowed.  He let me know he will be working on the USCGC Bristol Bay, an ice-breaker on the great lakes.

In August, I made the trip to Cape May for Dustin’s graduation.

The morning of graduation, as we were walking into the building, Dustin’s company marched by.  Seeing him for the first time in eight weeks, so changed…it was very emotional.

The ceremony was nice.

The best part, of course, was finally giving him a big hug!  He looked different, he sounded different, but he was still my Dustin.

I enjoyed the long drive home from New Jersey with Dustin.  I loved hearing all of his boot camp stories.  I admired the maturity & confidence that his experience had clearly brought forth.  I am glad I got to spend that time with him, because his week at home was a flurry of activity; packing & preparing for the move to Michigan.

It was nice to have him home, if only for a week.

On August 25th, we said goodbye again & Dustin left for his new home, his new career, his brand new life.  He is not nearly so homesick these days!  He says he is working very hard, learning lots, & he speaks highly of his shipmates.  He seems very happy.

Dustin made the decision to join the military, left home determined to succeed, & came back to us a Coast Guardsman.  He did that on his own.  His family & friends are proud of him.  He should be proud of himself.  I am excited to see what the future holds for my Coastie!


One thought on “My Coastie

  1. I’m trying to blink away tears so I can write this without typos. At the swearing-in he looked so young. I’ve never met Dustin and I wanted to grab him, bring him home, and bake him cookies! But the graduation pictures and afterwards – you have a wonderful young man in your family. I’m so glad he’s enjoying at as much as he’d hoped to. I KNOW how hard it is to let go, but it makes you feel great to watch them spread their wings and soar, doesn’t it?

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