Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blue Jacket

I have been informed that my son has been awarded early promotion and the "Blue Jacket" in the Navy.

Ben is a Master at Arms, stationed at the San Diego Naval Station in California.

You may be aware that early promotion is awarded for exemplary achievement, which is a very important thing to get because along with the rank comes more responsibility, more challenging duties, and a raise in pay.

The "Blue Jacket" is awarded quarterly in a command, so the recipient is referred to as "Blue Jacket of the Quarter". Recipients must perform extra duties, including off-duty study, so it's not just an 'atta-boy' which most service members can expect to receive. All recipients of that award in the command may then compete for "Blue Jacket of the Year", which (again) is awarded to only one member of that command in the year.

I'm very proud of my son for his achievement, not only because it proves what I've always known ... that he is an exceptional man with developing leadership potential ... but also because it indicates that his commander is impressed by his devotion to duty and willingness to make the extra effort to be the best in his chosen profession.

When Ben chose to join the Navy I was concerned, as any parent would be, for the safety of a child who chooses the military during time of war.

Ben is a man now. Happily married with five children (the last two, twins) he has proven that he has left the nest and making his own way in the world. I realized that long before his commander did, I guess, but it never hit me so emphatically as it has now.

He originally joined the navy because his career choice was in Law Enforcement, and he believed that a tour of duty as a Master at Arms would eventually lead to a career as a policeman. He told me that one factor in his decision was that he admired my (short and quite involuntary) term of military service. [Cringe! I never wanted him to join the military because of my influence.]

Now ... I'm not sure if he will complete his tour and then look for a compatible civilian career, or if he will consider this recognition as a clear sign that there is a viable and attractive career for him in the Military.

Not that it matters what I would wish for him to choose, but I have full confidence that whatever choice he makes, he will be successful.

And I'll always be proud of him, no matter what he does.

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