We made it to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, without mishap. Settling into the campground allowed us to get organized, showered, and to have a really great night's sleep! Wednesday, June 19, was the Big Day! We arrived at Hilton Field in plenty of time to get a good seat and get ourselves ready for seeing Jonathan.
Patriotic music was playing and it was a very festive atmosphere. We could only imagine how excited the soldiers were at this point! Joe had the brilliant idea for us all to have matching t-shirts. I worked with a great business here in Tucson that came through for us in a big way in a short amount of time! The shirts had the Army logo and said "Army Family" on the front. The back said "PFC Krause". We got so many comments on our shirts and I think it made Jonathan smile, too!
It looked as if it could pour down rain any moment, but fortunately the rain held off. Promptly at 9:00, the program started, with smoke, military demonstrations, and narration . There was all sorts of hooting and hollering, clapping, and stomping of feet! Adrenaline was high! As the smoke cleared, we could see rows and rows of soldiers emerging from the trees - quite a good effect!!
After a short program describing Basic Training and the incredible challenges that these young men and women had been through, the families were told to "Go find your soldier!" The announcer had told us which platoon was which, so we knew to head to the group on the left. I'm ashamed to say that we walked right by Jonathan - believe me, all these soldiers in the same uniform, standing at attention with shaved heads, look amazingly alike. David was the one who actually spotted him by seeing "Krause" on his uniform!
Jonathan had to stay on post, but the soldiers were given freedom to be with their families the entire day. He had to be back at his barracks by 8:30 that night. He told us that one of his top priorities was to buy a new pair of boots. The ones they were issued at Basic apparently didn't fit very well and weren't the best quality, so as the day progressed we saw hundreds of soldiers all trying on new boots! So off we went.................! But first, we got a short tour of the barracks, etc.
This was the place where the soldiers did PT (physical training) each morning, before breakfast.
This is where the soldiers ate, but we were not allowed to go inside. Can you imagine the massive amounts of food that were prepared and consumed each day?
Lunch in the RV as we headed to the PX to begin the hunt for new boots!
Isaac LOVED feeling Jonathan's shaved head!
Giving instructions on how to correctly do a push up!
After all the mandatory picture taking, we headed over to the Officers' Club for a wonderful buffet. We ate in shifts, by platoon, and it was delicious.
After this, we went over to a very nice park to relax, let the boys play on the equipment, and just have some down time. We were all getting very tired at this point, including Jonathan.
Well, that's a lot of Army green in one post! Part three will be coming up soon!