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**UPDATE 4/26/2022** Effective with the May 6, 2022 PIR 4 guests will be allowed.  Still must be fully vaccinated to attend.

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Veterans: your experience vs your child's experience?

I'm having a hard time separating MY experience in the Navy (20 years ago, my boot camp and A school no longer exist, and my ship has been decommissioned) from my son's pending experience. My husband (also a Navy vet) and I have been giving him all kinds of advice, but every time I turn around I learn about something ELSE that has changed drastically from my own experience. From uniforms to policies, everything is different, but it's still the same in many ways, too.

I think it might actually be easier to be a parent who has no military experience.

Are there any other moms out there with this problem?

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I agree with you! I served during Vietnam just as the Navy was opening many previous "all male" rates to women. We still weren't allowed on ships yet but it was coming soon. My husband and I are also both vets and we have a son and a daughter serving. I do think tho' that my experiences as a sailor helped my daughter, especially in boot camp. One of her RDCs actually asked her if she had ROTC experience or other military experience!! But I do find that in some areas what I try to advise her on no longer applies. What I find for me is that I remember how I felt to be out and on my own at that age, and in hindsight some of the things I did probably weren't the smartest ideas around. I especially try to let my daughter make her own decisions and fight her own battles. It's hard sometimes to just stand back and keep quiet. It's different with my son because I stil want to protect my daughter. I think my son is better able to handle things, plus he has 3 1/2 years experience over his sister!!
My husband and I were in the Navy during the early "80's when there was no war. Lots of things have changed, but I think there's still lots that will never change. I found it helped our daughter when she went through boot camp. I know it certainly helped me, knowing what she was basically in for. I think it would have been scary if we had no military experience at all. So, when she calls home with some (?) whining we've got some idea what she's going through.
One of the reasons I joined this site when my nephew enlisted was to find out how things run now. So many changes, yet so much still the same.

There's a group for "moms who served" ... more than moms, any service.
I don't clearly understand what the "problem" is that you are referring to in the post. Is it that you are unable to guide him as you want to, are you afraid he is not getting all of the information that he needs from his recruiter, are you at a loss for understanding what is going to happen to your son because the Navy has changed so much, or is it something else?

I am former Navy, and so is my husband. My daughter has joined, and we spoke to her recruiter with very specific questions about what we remember and asked how things in the Navy may be the same or how they have changed. As some people have said in the posts here, some things are the same and some have changed. We may not fully understand all of the ways her experience will differ from ours, but, for me, that is okay; this is my daughter's experience, and not mine. In fact, when I compare my and my husband's experiences in the Navy, I realize that his was drastically different from mine in many ways (and we were in at the same time 20 years ago!) Just as I learned how the Navy worked, the many procedures, chain-of-command, moving, etc., through my own personal experience, I'm sure my daughter will also.

Please understand, I love my child, and it sounds like you love yours. You want to help him as much as you can. That is truly commendable and honoring of your parental love and care. I too want my child to have as much information as she can about what she is going into, but if I can't be the source of that information, yet she wants to learn, all the better for her. Personally, I don't want to give her any undue prejudice about anything that I may have been negative about or give her too glorious a picture of the things I loved and enjoyed, as these may not be her experiences, and she may expect too much or too little as a result. It is so easy for me (I don't know you, so please don't think I make this judgment of you, I am just relating personal feelings) to try to give my child too much information, and I work hard to temper that. A person's experience is solely based on the people he or she comes in contact with, personal attitude, training, job, education, and a limitless number of factors. When I think back to when I was a young person of 19 or 20; I appreciated my parents' advice to a point, but sometimes they just didn't know when to stop giving it, and I ended up tuning them out so I didn't have to hear it anymore! I knew that they lived, at the age of 20, in a different era, where things were looked at differently, experienced in a unique way that did not apply to my generation.

Sometimes our fear of the unknown is unknowingly transferred to our children when we give too much advice. Therefore, my advice to you is the same that I give to myself: keep loving your child as you obviously do, give him advice, but don't overdo it. There is a point (albeit not an easy one for us) that we have to let go of our children and let them have their own experiences. Encourage him in studying hard, paying attention, following orders, and maintaining a good attitude, and to grow with each new day's experiential education (and for my child, to keep true to her beliefs). Let the Navy do the rest! Hopefully, he chose the Navy for himself, and just as the choice was his, so must the experience be.

Know that there are others who can encourage you and pray for you (here on this forum and in your life), as you go through your own unique experience of watching your child grow in to a man over the next months and years. God bless you!
yep, all the time. It makes me feel really old (I went in in 1988 and was a Corpsman). Also, when he picked his rate,MA, I has reservations and somewhat didn't know what to think. My step father as well as my husband were AW's and I was used to the "brown shoe" side of the Navy. I had to let that go and just accept that this is HIS navy career, not mine. Also, so many things have changed now that It's almost like I'm doing it all over again. N4M's has helped me a lot and it's been a Godsend. I've given a lot of advice to my son and probably the most important bit of information I've given him has been to serve honorably. Advice is always good especially when it comes from mom so don't worry about it. Just keep up your support.
I too am a navy vet out twenty years and some their boot camp was way different than ours well the yelling was the same the ship idea was a good one and battle stations is awesome but I dont know seemed a bit generic with the uniform changes hard to tell the marines from ours except for the cracker jacks and I have to say they dont do women justice. I noticed more exhaustion than pride and the lack of contact with parents for me was frustrating but thats the mom not the sailor in me. The navy without dungarees is just wrong lol that was my favorite uniform. We are definitely headed toward a combined service. My a school no longer exist and neither does my rating and many have never heard of it even lol I was a OTA.
What is OTA? I'm not familiar with it.
Same story here. But, at least we were able to give some pointers on how to get through BC without a big target on his back. And, it is different! Remember when boys were "trees" and you couldn't even look at them? Now they're training together. I'm not sure about the sleeping arrangements, but I sure hope they're not in the same room. I was stationed at Great Lakes, my command if gone, but it will be great to get back and see it again. Our son's graduation is 9/3 and he'll be a sub nuke just like his dad. It will be neat to see the new camo uniforms. I think the new work uniforms are ugly. Looks more like the Marines.
My experience is a little different from my Son's. His dad and I were in the Marine Corps in the 80's. regarding BC. I really don't like the idea of the co-ed divisions. I think having the men and women train together in BC is a big distraction for everyone. My son was lucky and was in a all male division and he said his group was much more cohesive and didn't have all the in-fighting that the co-ed divs had. But of course his dad and I were amazed on how "relaxed" the command and recruits were in general (NTC is no comparison to Parris Island). Regarding the new "reese cup" uniforms. I like them but of course they are very similar to the Marine Corps Charlie's. I think the look nice and are much easier to take care of too.

One thing that I think is drastically different (for the better) is how strict they are about the drinking and partying. no drinking on or off base for the underaged service members. Used to have the E-clubs where all were able to drink and party on base. I am sure the alcohol related incidents still occur, but I doubt it is as bad as it was in the 80's and before.

My Son is loving his experience so far and can't wait to get to his perm duty station. He is going to Lemoore and then to El Centro CA....
We had co-ed "divisions" (made up of everyone who arrived in the same week) when I went to boot camp in Orlando. There were four "men's companies" and two "women's companies." We had classes and PT together, but each "company" we had separate sleeping quarters. Women were on the third floor, men were on the first and second floors. We used to joke that they did it that way so that invaders would have to go through the guys before they got up to the girls.

I do like the new uniforms, but I miss the traditional look of the old ones. The Navy is losing some wonderful old traditions, although they do look like the uniforms from the 40s. I can't believe they're getting rid of the crackerjacks! Right about the time I left they introduced the womens' crackerjacks. What a mistake, they were horrible. I was lucky, I never had to wear one.

I like the new Weskit style tops for the women.

I remember the E-clubs, and they were pretty strict about underage drinking even in the late 80s. One time my ship had liberty in Vancouver, Canada, where the drinking age was 18. We were really confused as to whether we could drink or not.
Arwen: Oh, definately! I'm having exactly the same experience. My son just graduated from bootcamp and is now in a holding division awaiting "A" school. He can wait anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months due to a bottle-neck in training status. It has something to do with there not being enough instructors. Anyway, we gave him alot of advice and warnings and his experience in bootcamp was so much easier than ours. They now have the sleeping quarters, chow hall, and classrooms all in the same building. So they don't have to run everywhere all the time. They have instructors who mentor them rather than chiefs who drll them. His instructors focused on the class work more than physical training. He didn't even know what a grinder was. I told him it was outside where we did our PT. They did their PT inside the drill hall. (It's airconditioned) My husband had to run a mile to the chow hall three times a day. Raymond had to walk 50 feet. He used to tease me for going to bootcamp in Florida; he said that I must have had it easy. Not compared to him.

My ship is decommissioned too. Which one were you on?

I was on the USS McKee (AS-41), stationed at Point Loma Submarine Base in San Diego.


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