Friday, September 29, 2006

Jump photos now online

Check out contact sheet #13

Re-posted from Yahoo 360 (5/24/06)

My current (5/24/06) thoughts
Dallas is in Reception at Ft Benning and starts OSUT on Friday. His destination -- Army, Airborne Ranger. I am occasionally asked how I feel about this but even more frequently I hear 'that's too bad'.
Well I wouldn't go so far to say he has chosen the world's safest occupation but it has been his dream since kindergarten. In Grande Prairie he came home almost in tears one day because somebody said the war was over (Desert Storm) and he didn't get a chance to be there. Before we left GP I took him to a military vehicle show at the Armory there and watched his eyes light up at the sight of the soldiers in attendance. In Lethbridge he got even more excited about his objective because both Melody and Trevor were in cadets and he often got to come with us to the army surplus store and to the parades at the armory. We attended a Tattoo at Lethbridge that had both the Canadian forces and the US forces putting on various exhibitions and drills. He decided then and there (partly because I managed to sing as many lines of the US anthem as I did of the Canadian and he had asked how I knew it) that it was going to be the US Army or Marines that he joined as soon as he was old enough. Eventually he decided on the Army and has been a regular visitor to since we have had the internet in the 90s. By the time he was in grade 5, in Hudson's Hope, clothes shopping meant getting something green or camo and gifts could be anything at all that came from a military surplus store. Even in cadets in Kamloops he frequently told them he would eventually be enlisting in the US Army and that was the reason behind my first contact with the US consulate in 2000 to find out how to establish my status so we could get him enlisted when the time came. Of course that was pre-9/11 so he didn't even have to prove his citizenship. I was assured that moving here and getting my status was simply a matter of moving down when ready and dropping in at an SSA office with my registration record from Taylor School in Sheridan and mom's SSN. Who knew how much THAT scenario would change following 9/11.
For the past 3 years Dallas has frequented the recruiting offices from Arkansas to New Mexico and has worked with me at using every resource possible to establish his citizenship and get the necessary paperwork to finally be able to enlist. It was no surprise he was at the recruiters the day before his SSN card arrived in the mail.
In answer to 'what I feel' I would have to say pride -- pride at seeing my son move closer to his lifelong dream, pride at watching him overcome all the obstacles that have landed in his way -- pride at watching him win out on the waiting game over the past 3 years. I also feel fear but no more than the fear felt watching him drive on his own the first time, or the fear of watching him climb the derrick at the oil rig.
What irks me most are the suggestions of his absolute demise or of being 'wasted' because all of these comments are political, opinionated and based on erroneous or misleading statistics. Dallas has not been given a life sentence, nor has he been sentenced to death -- I do not need, nor appreciate the condolences -- I am proud of his perseverance and his achievements. How many others are living the dream they had when they were 5?
I feel additional pride because he has not allowed others opinions to sway his decisions and he can cheer his accomplishments on his own without needing friends or family who agree. I wish I could do that.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Turning Blue

Turning Blue
Originally uploaded by Wildflower Tech.

August 31, 2006, Fort Benning GA

Taken with cell phone

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Basic Training Fort Benning

Graduation Sept 1 from: At the End of the Desert...: Ft Benning

Enlisted May 2006

videos of Echo 2-54

Back to Basics part 2

Overcoming obstacles

Bayonets & Grappling


My Son has Wings

From At the End of the Desert...: My Son has Wings

'Alone in the clear black darkness with not a sound other than the distant drone of the plane and the flutter of the chutes occasionally interrupted by a barked command regarding the target location -- and after landing I laid back to undo my chute and looked up into the night sky and stars and thought to myself -- I just came from up there."

Fort Benning Ledger-Enquirer

The video above is of the new Echo 254 -- immediately folllowing PV2 Hanson's graduation from basic training -- with an introduction to the training program.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rocky Mountain Rangers Cadets

Nothing changes and everything changes...