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The Marine Corps Transformation
From the Founder of MarineParents.com, Tracy Della Vecchia

THE TRANSFORMATION: Pre-Bootcamp
Pre-USMC Bootcamp Derrick Jensen on the way to Kansas City to leave
for bootcamp in San Diego, August 28, 2001, 2:00 P.M.

Post-Bootcamp (3 months later)
Post-USMC Bootcamp PFC Derrick Jensen on the trip home from San Diego on
November 22, 2001, 2:00 A.M. as a proud United States Marine.

My son was a Recruit in bootcamp on 9/11. He'd been there two weeks. From that time until he graduated on November 21, 2001 seemed to last forever. I was glued to the news and wanted a letter from him every day. I only got three letters and two very short phone calls. One of them was simply "Mom, don't worry about the terrorists that took down the Twin Towers. My job will be to protect you now and I'm getting excellent training." He was crying and I could hear every recruit in the background crying.

And that was it. I was left with a dozen unanswered questions. I was nervous and constantly wished for more information. Somehow I got through bootcamp, solo.

All my fears were put to rest when we arrived in San Diego for his graduation. He was not the same little boy that I had kissed goodbye 13 weeks prior. He was a United States Marine, and his job, was to protect our country. I still cry when I recall the moment I was able to finally wrap my arms around him on family day.

Graduation was phenomenal! Don't miss it. Do whatever you can to go to your Recruit's graduation. Start saving now, ask for time off from work, and make sure at least one family member is there to witness, first-hand, the transformation. You are taking this journey with your recruit. You are being trained right alongside one another--your journey is to be a Marine Parent, and your recruit's journey is to become One of the Few, The Proud: A United States Marine!

I didn't start MarineParents.com until January, 2003 when my Marine son called to tell me he was deploying to Iraq. I've learned so much and traveled so far since that time. The part that never ceases to amaze me, is the tight-knit Marine Corps family. Our Marines are brothers and sisters--this is their new family. And you are an integral part of that family now too. Semper Family!




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