The next day, June 20th, was the actual graduation for these young men and women and they were all prepared to move onto their next assignment and schooling. When we arrived at Hilton Field once again, this is the sight that we saw. Jonathan told us later that they had all been standing at attention for several hours.
Once again, there was a great motivational speech by the Army higher-ups and we learned that there was a 20% wash-out rate during Basic Training. So Jonathan was among the best of the best! The soldiers then proceeded to march around the track. Jonathan is in the front row, directly behind the flag bearer.
After we reunited with Jonathan, we got some photos and then headed up to Ft. Lee, Virginia. Jonathan chose EOD as his "job" in the Army, so that was his next destination. EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal............yes, diffusing bombs! Not this mother's favorite job for her first-born son!
Waiting in line to get his packet of orders and to be signed out by his parents.
And yes, this is how our soldier enjoyed the five hour drive north to Virginia! His lack of sleep finally caught up with him!
A lovely picture of Rachel as we stopped at a beautiful rest stop in North Carolina! Beautiful green trees and lovely flowers!
We spent the night at a lovely campground, just minutes from Ft. Lee. The son of the owner turned out to be one of Jonathan's EOD instructors and answered many of Jonathan's questions about the schooling that would consume the next year of his life! We enjoyed much cooler, and less humid weather, in Virginia and enjoyed a breakfast picnic before we took Jonathan to Ft. Lee.
Yes, we knew we were in the right spot when we saw all the explosive symbols around!!
Jonathan getting checked in and filling out tons of paperwork!
Jonathan hauling in his gear to his dorm - we were not allowed to go upstairs to his room, but did learn that there are three young men to a room.
Exterior shot of his living quarters.
Final hugs and good-byes!
This was so hard for David...........he idolizes his big brother, and knowing it could be a long time until we see Jonathan again really upset him.
Not long after Jonathan returned to his dorm, we saw the soldiers - old and new - gather on the PT field and then march off............we assume to dinner. It was sad, and exciting, at the same time knowing the adventures that lay ahead for him, but knowing that our family will never be the same.............
So that ended our time with Jonathan, but we have plenty of more exciting adventures along the way as we headed back towards home! Stay tuned....................!