• Parents' Stories

      Parents' Stories

      Parents' Stories

      As a parent, you want to learn everything you can before your child makes the important decision to serve in the Military. It's a good thing, then, that fellow parents who were once in the same situation are here to offer some honest advice. Watch videos of parents discussing their experiences with having a child who serves, from the initial discussion to deployment and beyond. Afterward, be sure to read our written stories, explore support groups and download resources — all to be as informed as possible.

  • Deployment

    For military parents, learning their child is going to be deployed raises a whole new set of questions and concerns. Hear how these parents coped with their children's deployments and what gave them comfort during this time apart.

    Betty Simmons: I think when they’re home you don’t think about them going. We never go down when they leave. They don’t want us. Probably, one, they don’t want their mom bawling when they’re getting on the bus to go. (laughter)

    Norman Brown: He said, “I’ll be all right, Dad. I mean, you don’t have to worry.” I mean, we’re going to worry anyway, but the way he was handling it, you know, made us feel better about it.

    Monique Morris: He basically told me that if, as long as he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, and he’s not supposed to leave the base, or leave the base with who he’s supposed to, he should be safe. So he’s not scared, so I guess I shouldn’t be, but I am.

    Puanani Ahlo: While my son’s been deployed, there’s been a lot of email contact, internet resources, Skype-ing. I can’t call him and contact him, but he does keep in contact with us regularly, so he’s taken his iPhone and his laptop with him, or he uses what they have at the facilities that they’re at.

    Marc Danziger: There would be weeks when he’d be up on the Internet and I’d see him every day, and we’d chat. We couldn’t Skype but we’d, you know, we’d do instant messaging back and forth or email back and forth a couple times a day, and then there would be a week-and-a-half long period when he’s just blacked out.

    Holly Clayman: I think his training that he had from the Air Force for this has been very good. I don’t think he felt he went to Afghanistan unprepared.

    Jayne White: I just wanted to know he was going to learn everything he needed to know. I wanted him to be so ready if he was deployed.

    Don Simmons: On one hand, you’re just extremely proud that they’re being deployed and helping out the country and going over there, but on the other hand you’re always, I guess, keeping one eye on the TV to see what happened over there.

    Patricia Smith: We would kind of watch the news or, you know, look on the website.

    Darlene Anderson: At first I was kind of, you know, very, very concerned, but after speaking with him and he told me, “I’m prepared for this. That’s what they train us for. It’s our job,” then that really made me feel a lot better.

    Harold Stewart: I spoke to Jason as much as possible but, I mean, you know, what happens happens. You just got to put your faith in the people around you as well as, yeah, the man above.

    Service

    Service members are the first to step forward and protect the freedoms of their fellow Americans. Military parents explain the importance of serving others, and how they take pride in what their children have accomplished.

    Harold Stewart: Well, service to me is, in so many words, whether it’s going to be on the local level or community, it’s giving back: giving back to your community, giving back to the United States as a whole, just giving your time.

    Patricia Smith: I mean, you’re representing your country, the freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. It’s thanks to these men and women.

    Mario Vega: These guys are the ones that are keeping us safe, you know. The whole continental United States, it’s relying on them, so I’m very proud of him.

    Hugo De Leon: Just being in the United States — and I tell this to my kids all the time — I’m richer than three-quarters of the world, just with my freedom, and I’ve always taught my kids that the United States, it’s phenomenal, it’s the best, and to serve for this country is an honor. I have the utmost respect for anybody that served, any veterans, anybody that’s currently serving, and if anybody approached me with any negativity about my kids serving in the Military I’ll stand up for my kids, you know. No problem. You know, there’s just — there’s no better place to live, and they’re defending it. I’m proud of that, very proud.

    Barbara Heinz: There were some people that seemed to be kind of — I don’t know if “concerned” is the word, but they wanted to know why the boys felt they needed to go into a wartime Military, and I told them that it was the support that they have for their country and for the love of their country that they wanted to go, you know, to feel like they were doing something. It’s a great way to build discipline and to show support for your country. They are literally defending and protecting us.

    Dawn Woodings: It gives you a sense of pride that I am doing something that — his term was “I know that my family and my friends are sleeping safe tonight.”

    Mario Vega: Walking with him when I pick him up from the airport, it’s — it makes you feel good because, you know, you see the respect people give him, and even at the restaurant, you know, when we got him yesterday, and so that makes you feel proud.

    Betty Simmons: They have so many people just, you know, thanking them for something that, you know, they think of as an everyday, you know — they’re just serving and doing what their country needs them to do at the moment.

    Jayne White: I go out of my way to hug people, to thank people, to promote anything I can for the Services.

    Nancy Kennon: I feel like serving your country means that you’re going to be out there protecting the citizens of the United States, and, as Julia put it, that there’s a real reason why she’s in there. It’s because she’s protecting the country. So, to me, to have people like Julia out there, I feel safe knowing that they’re there and they know what they know.

    Patti Kolk: It just makes me really proud, too, that I’m a Military parent and I’m an Air Force Reserve parent.

    Challenges

    No experience comes without challenges, and the demands can be high for both military service members and their families. In this clip, parents share what was difficult for them and how they found support.

    Nancy Kennon: My biggest challenge was from the time she picked the job she was going in and signed for it to when she left for boot camp, and the reason that was she had a lot of peer pressure. All her friends were telling her she shouldn’t do it, and it was really confusing her, and she was trying to back out. And also when the parents of her friends were telling her that she didn’t need to do this, and I just made sure that she knew her options, and I would back her, whichever decision she made. You know, whether she went to college and had to work and support herself, it would be a hard job for her, and if she went in the Military it was going to be hard work.

    David Smith: The most challenging part of this whole experience for us is actually the day we had to take him down and say goodbye for the first time because we had to for the first time actually let him go, and it was the first time for a long period of time we weren’t going to be able to see him on a daily basis.

    Darlene Anderson: I think the hardest part for me was watching the news and the media, and you see all these things that are going on, and you kind of wonder, you know, was he in that area? Was his unit in that area? Were they affected by that? I think that was the most challenging part for me, and I just had to learn to not, you know, be consumed by the media. He seemed to be more concerned about his family at home and what was happening with us.

    Dale Conjurski: Chris’ challenges were that, when he first went out on the ship he didn’t like being away from his family, and it was six months at a time, and there’s very little communication because you’re out in the middle of nowhere. There’s no cell phone coverage. He actually, I think, picked a job where he could be on a computer, so that’s how he would communicate.

    Beth Radiseck: The biggest challenge for Chloe is just being away from the family because she said, she says often that she loves her job, she loves Oklahoma, so — and she just said it would all be perfect if her family was close.

    Transformations

    Military service can have a dramatic effect on young service members, both physically and mentally. Here, parents share how service helped their children develop confidence, determination and more.

    David Smith: For me, the proudest moment was the day that we saw him at graduation because you could see the transformation, and you could see that he now had a sense of duty, something that he was going to do, a job that he wanted to do.

    Harold Stewart: Once graduation and you transform from being a civilian to a Marine, it was just one of the best things in the world.

    Holly Clayman: He had pride of himself, and he hadn’t had that yet. He had respect for himself and respect for others around him — not only other Military but just the people around him.

    Barbara Heinz: He was a little bit lost. You know, he was in college, but he didn’t really have any direction, and then when he graduated from boot camp he knew what he wanted to do, and he said, “Oh, I’m going to do this for 30 years,” which he may not do, but, you know… I mean, he — he grew.

    Dawn Woodings: They’ve got a look on their face that says, “I am proud. I did it. I made it. I am a Soldier.”

    Louis Arroyo: I mean, it’s just a remarkable transformation that happens from the day they leave your home to the day they graduate. They’re highly disciplined. They’re motivated. They’re proud.

    Darlene Anderson: I saw my boy become a man. I could see the confidence.

    Edward Smigelski: He’d matured an awful lot. I mean, just because he used to be a wild young man. He’s just very more mature, even more so now. This experience for him has really helped him grow up.

    Rusty Mead: It’s made her a more responsible young lady. It has. I can see it in her. She’s just a more responsible person.

    Marc Danziger: I think it grew him up. I mean, this is the classic thing that people say the Military does, and I think it really did for him, and I think he sees the world much more clearly. He sees himself much more clearly.

    Mary McHugh: The transformation was immense, and yes, it did alleviate a lot of my apprehension. It was truly… He had become the man that he said he was going to become.

    Monique Morris: He just changed a lot, like, I don’t know… It was weird just to see him grown up, I guess, grown up. It took my breath away.

    Support

    Having a strong support system is important, not only to service members, but to military parents as well. Here, parents share the resources and organizations they turn to for encouragement and guidance.

    Jayne White: The support that is out there for Military parents, if you look, is just tremendous. Blue Star Mothers has been around since 1942, and it’s the mother of anyone in the Service. It’s a red, red outlined flag with white and then a blue star in the middle. You hang it in your window to let people know you have someone in the Service.

    Barbara Heinz: I talk to moms every day from New York and California and North Carolina, just all over the place.

    Janette Pellas: It was really nice because there was all these moms there that were going through the same things.

    Puanani Ahlo: The closeness of the Military — you have the family blood and then you have a military family, but you share a common bond in your different experiences and emotions that you go through.

    Mario Vega: When we have been to the bases, you get to make friends and, you know, we eat and drink and we share stories. You know, we share stories with people from Ohio.

    Darlene Anderson: It makes a difference when you can speak to someone who really, truly understands because they’ve gone through it or they’re going through it themselves.

    Marc Danziger: There’s a formal Facebook page and what’s called the Family Readiness Group, so when you deploy you’re part of the Family Readiness Group, which is the wives of deployed soldiers and the parents of deployed soldiers.

    Hugo De Leon: We found that with Hugo, when he was going through Basic Training for the Army, there was an actual Facebook site for the Army, and so there we were able to kind of communicate with other parents that were in the same unit as my son. You could read up on their concerns, their questions. You can, you know, kind of get feedback on concerns and questions you may have as a parent. So it was, it was really, it was really nice. It really helped out, you know, just being able to talk to other parents that were going through the same thing you were going through at that time with a kid that was right there next to your son.

    Nancy Kennon: They have a Facebook site you could follow, and it has pictures of all the shipmates. They tell where the ship is.

    Marc Danziger: Everything from “I can’t sleep, you know, I’m really tossing and turning” to “What are we going to buy him?” or “Who’s going to send cookies?”, or “Oh my God, what did you hear?”, or, in a couple of cases, when you got bad news, “OK, what are we going to do? You know, what do you need? How can we help you?”

    Nancy Kennon: I’ve talked to the kids, like on Facebook, with other girls in her schooling and guys in her A school, and they still Facebook me.

    Marc Danziger: We’re still in touch, and it’s been a long time, and I think that, you know, that’s going to be something that we carry around for quite some time.

    Advice to Parents

    We asked military parents, "What would you tell another parent whose child was considering service?" These responses provide valuable advice for families and a firsthand perspective on making the decision to serve.

    Mary McHugh: The advice I would give another parent who might have apprehensions… Well, I could say this for certain: I’ve been there, done that. I don’t think there was anyone more apprehensive about a child joining the Military than me, but I have to say that you still have to let them make it their choice, and if it’s going to be the choice that they make you need to be 100 percent behind it.

    Barbara Heinz: I would tell them that I do think it’s a wonderful thing to serve your country, the dedication, the discipline, the loyalty to your country. I think all that’s important, but the service isn’t for everybody, and there are some people that just can’t. They can’t do it.

    Dale Conjurski: It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great experience. I would caution any parent whose child is going to join anything is that they’re going to be away from home. Can they handle that time away?

    Beth Radiseck: I would say for them to find people actually serving because I think they’re the biggest wealth of knowledge.

    Marc Danziger: People who are retired or current Military are stunningly generous with their time to talk to people who are thinking about this as a career, and they’re stunningly honest.

    Patti Kolk: They really need to go and speak to a recruiter. Go to different recruiters. Go to different recruiting offices. You know, just don’t accept your experience with one person.

    Hugo De Leon: Make sure they’re there in the recruiter’s office, and to ask the questions the kids aren’t going to ask, you know. As parents, even though the kids don’t like to admit it, we’re a little wiser. You know, there’s questions we’re going to have on our minds that the kids aren’t going to think about, and being there and really being able to look at the recruiter in the eye and know that you’re getting the straight answers, it means a lot. Beyond that, it would really be study up, math especially, because when they take their test, you know, whatever score they get on that — it’s based a lot on math — that’s going to open the doors to whatever trades they can take.

    David Smith: I would tell them right away, it’s a great idea, particularly for anyone who is not ready for college or has no idea what they want to do with their lives. They can go into the Military, and they can pick from a menu of things to train in, and they’re going to learn what it is they like and what they don’t like. And I would absolutely recommend in a heartbeat that they encourage their child to go into the Military.

    Finding Out

    Most parents never forget the first time their child mentioned joining the Military. Hear how these parents found out and what their initial reactions were.

    Marc Danziger: My son went to University of Virginia, and his senior year he calls me up on Skype and we’re chatting about what’s going on. He says, “Oh, by the way, I’ve decided to join the Army,” and, and I was literally — it was like one of those kind of “What?” kind of moments. And I said, “And where did this come from?” And he said, “No, I just thought about it. It’s done. I’ve decided to do it.” And I’m like, “Have you talked to anybody in the Army about it? Do you have like a plan? What are you going to do?” And he had a very specific plan about what he wanted to do. He’d thought it out. He’d researched it online. He’d been talking to a recruiter back in Virginia.

    Nancy Kennon: Julia came to us in the eighth grade telling us she wanted to go into the Navy, and that’s what she was going to do and in the eighth grade we just said, “Sure, (laughter) we’ll see what you do.” When she was graduating from high school in February of 2010, she told me she wanted me to take her to the recruiter’s office. That was the first time that she really brought it up again.

    David Lopez: I told him that, if this is what you’re going to do, I’d much rather you go all in and do the Marine Corps. They’re the toughest, I said, but you’ll get really good training, and, you know, I won’t worry as much. (laughter)

    Monique Morris: One day I came home from work, and he told me that he Googled the Navy office in Montebello and walked over and signed up. I mean, that was a little shock, but he had already signed up. There was nothing I could do about it, so I just basically encouraged him, and I was happy.

    Hugo De Leon: He came to me and said he was joining the Air Force, and he had already signed up, and it was just kind of shock, caught me off guard, but he went two feet first and he just went for it.

    Dale Conjurski: He had talked about joining the Navy while he was in high school, talked to the recruiters, had worked a little bit out of high school. And then one day he came to me and had this big weight on his shoulders that he needed to drop, and he said, “I joined the Navy.” And I was a little shocked because that wasn’t the path that his mother and I wanted him to take. We wanted Chris to go to college. I’d gone to college, she had gone to college and that’s what we wanted him to do. We were successful. We thought that was the road to go, but it’s not always the right road. He hated school, so he said, “You know what? I want to see the world.” And he said, “This is the first decision I’ve ever made on my own, and it feels good.” And I said, “OK.” When Justin decided to join, we said, “OK, Chris, you’ve been in the Navy for nine years. What’s going on? What should we do?” And we all kind of had a big family conversation and decided that it was the best thing for Justin to join as well.

    The Discussion

    Even the most supportive parents might have questions about a child's decision to join the Military. See what these parents asked to make sure their children had thought the decision through.

    Harold Stewart: I'm a retired officer. I started off as a private, worked my way up. I explained to him the option of trying to come in as an officer. Go to college, coming in at officer. Go to OCS. He said he wanted to do the enlisted thing and try to follow the career pursuit like I did, become enlisted and then get the respect of his men and become a chief warrant officer some day. So I think he — I don't know if he's following my footsteps, but it looks like he's on the same career path.

    Beth Radiseck: I thought she was serious when she came to me and she said she was thinking about joining the Air Force, and we had already, you know, applied for college, you know, to a college of her choice, and she'd been accepted, so it was a big surprise in the fall.

    Marc Danziger: He had three more months of college before he was going to graduate, and he just said, "Well, I'm just going to go now," and that was something I sort of pushed back on pretty hard. He called me up at 11:00 at night and said, "I need a plane ticket back to Virginia. I'm going to finish school. I'll come back, and I'll join." His mom and stepmom were very deeply focused on talking him out of it (laughter) in a big way. I mean, it was a lot of family drama. And I was kind of — he's a grownup. You raise kids to make decisions, and it's a healthy decision to join the Military. It's not a bad decision. I think his mom and his stepmom were scared he deliberately wanted to go into combat arms. I wound up doing a lot of calming of fears.

    Nancy Kennon: I had to convince Robert a little bit because I was going to the recruiters' office. I went down there with her five times. I knew what was going on. I knew what they were talking about. I knew all the advantages and disadvantages. And when it came down to the final decision, that's when he said, "She better really think about this because there's no turning back," you know. So there was a little bit of convincing I had to do with him to help him help me to support her in her decision.

    Robert Kennon: I listened to what she had to say, and it kind of sinked in, and like two days later I was like, "I'm — whatever you're going to do, baby, I'm going to be behind you 100 percent."

    Greg Brewer: I came from the '70s. I come from the Vietnam War era. I'm in my fifties. And I told them when they were growing up, I said, "Boys, if you ever join the Military, you will not have to worry about being killed by a foreigner because I will kill you."

    Louis Arroyo: The way my daughter came about joining the National Guard was a surprise to me. She decided one day that she wanted to earn a degree, and currently I'm employed with the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). She inquired a few questions about getting school paid for, so I gave her the information with, without the intentions of actually assisting her in joining because I didn't want her to join. She's my little girl. But I gave her the information.

    Greg Brewer: Eventually it sunk in to me that he was serious about this, and after talking to me and telling me the benefits of the training and how that could transfer into the civilian sector where he was trying to land a job doing law enforcement, and the schooling benefits, I turned from a flaming antagonist into a rah-rah-sis-boom-bah supporter.

    Recruiters

    Recruiters can be a great source of information for young adults and their parents. Hear about real parents' experiences and learn what to ask.

    Nancy Kennon: Julia went down several times. I took her down to the recruiters' office, and they went through ... They really went thoroughly through everything with her. I was really shocked how she knew so much about everything they offered and all the jobs there were. It was kind of hard for me to get her to go and get motivated, so I would call the recruiters, (laughter) and I got them set up where they would come and jog with her and work out with her, and they were doing that three to four times a week. And they had her ready within — she couldn't do one pushup, and within two weeks she was doing 21 pushups and running her mile and a half.

    Darlene Anderson: He had an awesome experience with his recruiter. Actually, they really had a really close relationship.

    Betty Simmons: His recruiter called us when they picked Matt up to take him for his physical and stuff. He stopped at the house and, you know, said, you know, "They'll take care of him," and where he's going and what will happen.

    Mary McHugh: He was very down to earth, very soft-spoken, you know, very real, and he explained, you know, what Basic Training was going to be like, that it was going to be very difficult, but he also explained that the potential that these young men and women are going to experience as a result of belonging to the Military is immense. He could be anything he wanted. And then he said, "Ms. McHugh, he could be a doctor if he wanted to be a doctor."

    David Smith: He was a little drifting and not knowing what really to do with his life. He was working as a lifeguard at the community swimming pool, and Patty suggested to him, "Why don't you give the Military a try?" His recruiter —

    Patricia Smith: Yes.

    David Smith: — was calling him like every other —

    Patricia Smith: Yes.

    David Smith: — day —

    Patricia Smith: Would not give up.

    David Smith:  — because he wanted him to get in.

    Jayne White: Well, I'm lucky that his recruiter was in the town where I worked, so he took me down to the recruiter, and I got to meet the nice gentleman that took my son under his wing, I want to say, because they would go, they'd go running. He had to lose some weight, so they would have to do runs and exercises before he went off to boot camp, and that was especially good for me to know the recruiter.

    Misconceptions

    When a young adult serves, his or her parents may find themselves faced with popular military misconceptions. Hear which false impressions these parents encountered and what they did to set the facts straight.

    Greg Brewer: The primary misconception that, or misunderstanding that I had about service in the Military was the fact that, being from the Vietnam War era, being from the '70s, I had the feeling that it was a combat role for everybody that went in, and the truth of the matter is that the actual combat role, percentage-wise, is very small.

    Patti Kolk: I definitely heard misconceptions about the Military prior to Michael wanting to talk to the recruiter in the past, but I definitely think since 9/11 unfortunately happened that there's been more of a call to serve on people's parts as opposed to the government asking people to join.

    Al Radiseck: I think sometimes people have a feeling that someone goes into the service because there's nothing else for them to do, and I just think that that didn't, that that's not the way it was for us, and I think that there's a lot of people out there who are going into it because they want to.

    Hugo De Leon: They just have so many trades, so many different skills that they can learn, that they can teach these kids, you know, that can help them in their futures. When my son, Hugo, first mentioned infantry, I freaked out. I was like, "Oh, you know, you're going to be up on the front line holding a gun," you know, but then he showed me a list of all the different trades, all the different, you know, skills, all the different jobs, you know, and that really put my mind at ease, you know, that it didn't necessarily mean that he was going to be up in the front, you know, fighting.

    Marc Danziger: I was a hippie war protester. I mean, I had no military experience whatsoever.

    Jayne White: I've encountered people who are against the war and then that makes them against the Soldier. If you don't believe in the war, fine. Support the child. If you don't believe in the cause, that's up to you, but support the child.

    Marc Danziger: You know, I can give the litany of problems and grief and, you know, griefing, you know, all day long, but the reality of it is that the people who serve are incredible people, and I am forever proud of all of them. In a sense, they're all my kids today.

    Basic Training

    For many parents, Basic Training is the first time their child has lived away from home. Learn how parents cope with the demands boot camp places on them and their children, and the sense of accomplishment felt by all upon its completion.

    Howard Zanit: Basic Training, having heard stories from people about that, does scare you, because I think boot camp.

    Darlene Anderson: Boot camp is designed to, you know, break them down and to build them back up. Everything that happened at boot camp and that they learn in boot camp is for a reason, and you find out later on.

    David Smith: Well, he was firm in the decision up until the day it was time for him to actually go down.

    Patricia Smith: You would've thought he was going to the guillotine. Truly, I mean, he just ... You know, I think most of it was just the unknown, scared. He'd heard some horror stories, you know. They're going to be screaming at you, they're going to be doing this, that and the other.

    David Smith: I think he was just really worried about surrendering his freedom and how much control was going to be over his life.

    Mary McHugh: I wasn't very worried about the Basic Training because Scott had prepared himself mentally and physically. He trained to go into Basic Training. Several months before graduation, he began a physical regimen that involved about 10 miles of jogging a day.

    Holly Clayman: When we said goodbye, we really tried to hold it together, and we tried not to let him see our emotion, and we did, until we turned our backs and walked out the door.

    Nancy Kennon: It was the first letter that I got from her that actually made me feel good, when she said it's going pretty good, and she really liked it, and I was actually shocked just to know that, because I was really worried about her not liking it and not liking to be told what to do, and ... But she, she fit right in.

    Patti Kolk: I was very proud to be able to go to his graduation ceremony, to see them dressed in their dress uniform. It was very exciting.

    Robert Kennon: We was there at that graduation that day. We was trying to figure out where could we sit so we could take some good pictures, right. And I went up to one of the officers there and he asked — I asked him, we were like, "My daughter, she's in, like, C4." At that moment he goes like, "Y'all be very proud of your daughter because she's a stick," because that's one of the highest things that they can accomplish, you know, carrying that flag, and so that made me feel really, really good.

    Monique Morris: My proudest moment was when I saw him at his graduation, when I was in those stands and I could actually pick his face out of that crowd. That was my proudest moment. I'd never felt that good, not even — (crying) I don't even think the day I gave birth to him I felt that good. I really was so proud.

    Training & Skills

    The Military offers continuing opportunities for both formal education and life lessons. Find out what these parents think about the learning experiences their children have encountered in the Services.

    Darlene Anderson: I can say that the Military really helped him in his direction as far as his career path and what he would like to do for the future.

    Louis Arroyo: If my son chooses to retire — I believe currently he's thinking to retire at 20 years — so I'm sure by the end of 20 years he will be more than prepared to come into the civilian world and pursue whether it be logistics or whether he pursue school while he's in the Service and maybe another career. But currently he's looking at making a career out of the Marine Corps.

    Norman Brown: Well, he wanted to go in the Army Reserve because he wanted to go to college, and he said, "Well, this way, Dad, they'll pay for me going to school and stuff." I mean, he really wants to, like, be an EMT. That's what he's going to school for, and he's working hard at it.

    Jayne White: His school is paid for. He just has to jump through some hoops as far as the paperwork, and most of the schools are pretty good about understanding how to fill out the paperwork.

    Bill Fraedrich: He has been in school now three different times, but interestingly, since his engineering school requires a co-op program, he's been able to count those schoolings as part of his co-op program. So he got paid for it. All his expenses were covered: living, food, everything, travel. Plus, he gets co-op credit in college. That's worked out pretty well for him.

    Beth Radiseck: Lindsay is at, in Monterey, Calif., at the Defense Language Institute learning Russian because she's going to be a Russian linguist. She's still in school now. She's halfway through. She graduates in February, and then she'll go to Texas for a couple months to learn how to be a linguist. She'll have had her language — she'll graduate with her language and an associate degree, actually, which is great.

    Greg Brewer: He had been trying to procure a job in law enforcement for the previous three, four years, and after going the rounds and trying to get on in many different suburbs on many different police forces, it just finally kind of sunk into him that the military service, which he could get the security and police training from, was a viable option for him, and so he decided to go that route.

    Dale Conjurski: Justin got advice from Chris saying, "If you're going to be in the Navy, you've got to be in this program." If you talk to people, you tell people your kid joined the Navy and they're in nuclear, and everybody that knows it says, "Oh wow, that's a great program to get into," and even though their kids weren't in the nuclear program they had heard about the nuclear program. Justin chose that because if you can get that test and pass that test you might as well go for the best.

    Monique Morris: Because he is an accountant, he had to go to a lot of classes about learning about taking care of your own finances, so he got a car loan, so he has to pay bills. He's a credit union member. Now he, you know, he has his own accounts, he pays his own car note and all that stuff, so I think financially it helped him a lot, too.

    • Deployment 2:10

      Deployment

      For military parents, learning their child is going to be deployed raises a whole new set of questions and concerns. Hear how these parents coped with their children's deployments and what gave them comfort during this time apart.
    • Service 3:05

      Service

      Service members are the first to step forward and protect the freedoms of their fellow Americans. Military parents explain the importance of serving others, and how they take pride in what their children have accomplished.
    • Challenges 2:03

      Challenges

      No experience comes without challenges, and the demands can be high for both military service members and their families. In this clip, parents share what was difficult for them and how they found support.
    • Transformations 2:12

      Transformations

      Military service can have a dramatic effect on young service members, both physically and mentally. Here, parents share how service helped their children develop confidence, determination and more.
    • Support 2:44

      Support

      Having a strong support system is important, not only to service members, but to military parents as well. Here, parents share the resources and organizations they turn to for encouragement and guidance.
    • Advice to Parents 2:38

      Advice to Parents

      We asked military parents, "What would you tell another parent whose child was considering service?" These responses provide valuable advice for families and a firsthand perspective on making the decision to serve.
    • Finding Out 2:51

      Finding Out

      Most parents never forget the first time their child mentioned joining the Military. Hear how these parents found out and what their initial reactions were.
    • The Discussion 3:26

      The Discussion

      Even the most supportive parents might have questions about a child's decision to join the Military. See what these parents asked to make sure their children had thought the decision through.
    • Recruiters 2:26

      Recruiters

      Recruiters can be a great source of information for young adults and their parents. Hear about real parents' experiences and learn what to ask.
    • Misconceptions 2:28

      Misconceptions

      When a young adult serves, his or her parents may find themselves faced with popular military misconceptions. Hear which false impressions these parents encountered and what they did to set the facts straight.
    • Basic Training 2:37

      Basic Training

      For many parents, Basic Training is the first time their child has lived away from home. Learn how parents cope with the demands boot camp places on them and their children, and the sense of accomplishment felt by all upon its completion.
    • Training & Skills 2:59

      Training & Skills

      The Military offers continuing opportunities for both formal education and life lessons. Find out what these parents think about the learning experiences their children have encountered in the Services.
    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Daddy's Little Girl

      Daddy's Little Girl

      QuoteShe’s my little girl … Being prior Service, I have knowledge about what it takes. Seeing your daughter graduate [Basic Training], and suddenly your little girl is a Soldier … I am so proud of her.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Discipline & Determination

      Discipline & Determination

      QuoteI saw a lot of character [come out] within him.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Reaching New Heights

      Reaching New Heights

      QuoteI was so thrilled for him for being able to meet his dreams. Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      A Mother's Pride

      A Mother's Pride

      QuoteI saw my boy become a man. I could see the confidence.Quote

    • Parents: In Their Own Words

      Parents: In Their Own Words

      Like Father, Like Son

      Like Father, Like Son

      QuoteIt's a lifestyle. It's a way to learn. It's a way to grow daily.Quote

    • Resources

      Contact a Recruiter

      Schedule a meeting with a recruiter and learn what to expect from your visit.

      Request Info

      Get a free DVD and magazine, plus additional information from each Service, sent to your home.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      View answers to commonly asked questions about the Military.

      Further Exploration

      Further Exploration

      You've finished your journey and seen all the Military offers. Continue your exploration with hundreds of Joining, Training, Living & Working videos.

Darlene Anderson: I can say that the Military really helped him in his direction as far as his career path and what he would like to do for the future.

Louis Arroyo: If my son chooses to retire — I believe currently he's thinking to retire at 20 years — so I'm sure by the end of 20 years he will be more than prepared to come into the civilian world and pursue whether it be logistics or whether he pursue school while he's in the Service and maybe another career. But currently he's looking at making a career out of the Marine Corps.

Norman Brown: Well, he wanted to go in the Army Reserve because he wanted to go to college, and he said, "Well, this way, Dad, they'll pay for me going to school and stuff." I mean, he really wants to, like, be an EMT. That's what he's going to school for, and he's working hard at it.

Jayne White: His school is paid for. He just has to jump through some hoops as far as the paperwork, and most of the schools are pretty good about understanding how to fill out the paperwork.

Bill Fraedrich: He has been in school now three different times, but interestingly, since his engineering school requires a co-op program, he's been able to count those schoolings as part of his co-op program. So he got paid for it. All his expenses were covered: living, food, everything, travel. Plus, he gets co-op credit in college. That's worked out pretty well for him.

Beth Radiseck: Lindsay is at, in Monterey, Calif., at the Defense Language Institute learning Russian because she's going to be a Russian linguist. She's still in school now. She's halfway through. She graduates in February, and then she'll go to Texas for a couple months to learn how to be a linguist. She'll have had her language — she'll graduate with her language and an associate degree, actually, which is great.

Greg Brewer: He had been trying to procure a job in law enforcement for the previous three, four years, and after going the rounds and trying to get on in many different suburbs on many different police forces, it just finally kind of sunk into him that the military service, which he could get the security and police training from, was a viable option for him, and so he decided to go that route.

Dale Conjurski: Justin got advice from Chris saying, "If you're going to be in the Navy, you've got to be in this program." If you talk to people, you tell people your kid joined the Navy and they're in nuclear, and everybody that knows it says, "Oh wow, that's a great program to get into," and even though their kids weren't in the nuclear program they had heard about the nuclear program. Justin chose that because if you can get that test and pass that test you might as well go for the best.

Monique Morris: Because he is an accountant, he had to go to a lot of classes about learning about taking care of your own finances, so he got a car loan, so he has to pay bills. He's a credit union member. Now he, you know, he has his own accounts, he pays his own car note and all that stuff, so I think financially it helped him a lot, too.

closeX