For those of you just joining this series about our daughter Amanda joining the Army, click here. Your comments and support of her efforts, and my worry, are heartwarming and we thank you.
Amanda shipped off to Army Basic Training on July 2nd. We spoke to her several times before her phone was taken away. We received a form-letter from her on July 12th. The first real letter from her arrived on July 14th. I kid you not; we checked the mailbox hourly in anticipation of word from her.
I forgot to tell you something in the first of this series; Amanda finished reading my manuscript on the trip to Fort Jackson. She called me when she arrived at the base and said, “Mom . . . your book made me cry three times.” This is heady praise coming from a girl who didn’t cry at the end of Old Yeller.
Letter One Dated July 9, 2012 Summarized
The notes in parentheses are mine.
“Day Three is officially over. It is pretty easy in terms of getting yelled at or smoked. We are split up almost 100% of the time by gender. I sleep in a bay (barracks) with 60 girls, who are called females in the Army. I don’t think I have ever spent this much time with females in my life.
(Robin’s first note here . . . let’s not forget she is ONE of our THREE daughters.)
The military stuff is easy.
(Amanda did four years of ROTC in college and knows a bit about the drill)
I don’t get yelled at ever. I just keep my head down.
Oh man, right now as I write this letter, two platoons in my bay are arguing about being quiet while trying to go to sleep. People are “shushing” each other thinking it keeps things quiet when it actually makes it louder. Every once and a while a f**k comes out and it gets rowdy. Hilarious.
Food here is awesome. Every night there are several sides, vegetables, and meats, with a full salad bar. We eat really fast but it doesn’t bother me. I eat healthy and just shovel it in. No table manners though!
(Good girl for noticing. We taught her well!)
Holy smokes it is hot here! But tonight we had an awesome thunderstorm. The air is thick in my lungs when I run, but I was the top female in my platoon in the diagnostic Physical Training test.
All in all, it hasn’t been bad. I’m just ready for training to start so they can see my potential and know I can do more than marching and push-ups.
XXX ~ A
P. S. Madre, they took away your book. I won’t get to read it again until I am on the plane to come home.”
(My last note here . . . those Drill Sergeants are cruel! Don’t they know fine literature when they see it?)