Justin becomes a Marine

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BOX 16240

PARRIS ISLAND, SC 29905-6240

My oldest, who I call Dork, leaves on August 16, 2010 for boot camp to become a United States Marine. I will update this page as he goes through training so that his friends and family will know how he is doing. I have no doubt he will be fine.

He will graduate boot camp on November 12, 2010.

Friday August 13, 2010

Three days left till he leaves. Wonder how nervous he really is?

Sunday August 15, 2010

All of the recruits and their parents met at the recruiters office at 2:00 pm. The guys met with the recruiters for a bit, going over what was going to happen the next few days. Then, we the parents had a similar meeting with the Staff Sgt.

He told us that they would swear in Monday around 1:00 pm and would leave on the bus for the island around 2:30. It would be about a 4 hour ride. They would stop about an hour outside of Parris Island for “the last supper” and the remaining hour of the ride would be the quietest the boys would probably ever be in their lives, having no idea what was going to happen to them once they got there.

He told us that, once they got there, they would begin more processing and receive their uniforms. By the time they got their next chance to sleep, they would have been awake for 48 hours. During the first night, they would be given the opportunity to call home, to let us know they had gotten to the island safely. However, they would only be reading a prepared paragraph. They would not be able to converse at all. They would read the paragraph and hang up. 😦

After this meeting, we took Justin on over to the hotel where all of the recruits from all of the branches of the armed services stayed the night before they left for their prospective training camps. We arrived there at 2:45 and Justin had to wait until 4:30 to meet with the Marine liaison for some initial paperwork. So, we sat. and sat. Goose slept. Reese and I listened to the boys (boys…not for much longer will they be) talk about what they were expecting. Oh and it was funny to hear the different branches already ribbing each other.

Once Justin met with the liaison, we took him to dinner – we had only planned on a movie, but he had to be back to the hotel by 8:00, so no time for that. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by a drug store to grab some travel tooth paste, tooth brush and deodorant – they couldn’t bring anything except the clothes on their back and $20.00, so we bought travel sizes, throw aways – but not a razor or shave cream.

We left our little boy at the hotel and headed home.

Monday August 16, 2010

The big day.  I know this is about Justin and his journey – but I must mention the hour we spent LOST because my Garmin has decided it needs a vacation.  About 11:30 am Justin used a parents phone to text me “WHERE ARE YOU????” – by then, we had found our way and were almost there.

They took them in a branch at a time and the Marines, apparently, are always last. The few, the proud.. I suppose maybe it is because of the few..?

Reese had gone out to kill his lungs when they called us back. They got all of the boys lined up and you could have heard a pin drop. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through their minds? So, they are all lined up, and the doors are in the back of the room. The only person the boys are expecting is the captain who will be swearing them in. The door opens, they all come to attention and in comes Reese. Too funny. The all stood at attention for what seemed like eternity – was probably only less than a minute- until they realized it wasn’t the captain.

The long winded captain comes in, gives his speech and swear them all in and we get to take pictures. Then  – back to the waiting room. Two hours later, after the army leaves for Fort Benning, Fort Knox.. the navy and air force leave..then they call the Marine recruits back. And we wait. and wait. Finally we go back and have someone call Justin out and ask him if he is o.k. if we go ahead and leave.  He turned white as a sheet but said yes, of course. We all hugged and the only tears shed were by Goose. He was so sweet. Told Justin he was proud of him.

(Wait – I have to go get a tissue to wipe my eyes.)

We were told the call could come at anytime, so, I slept that night with the phone in my hand.

Tuesday August 17, 2010

Woke up. Didn’t get the phone call. So, I called the Staff Sgt. He told me that if I didn’t get the call, I probably wouldn’t get one. OH WAIT – did he shave? (Remember I mentioned that we got toothpaste, toothbrush,,but not a razor…?) Well, no, but his facial hair grows in so slow, that it was barely there…

Someone got in trouble as soon as they hit the footprints with the CO for not shaving, and it was someone with his group. Staff Sgt. figured that with is baby face it probably wasn’t Justin, but would do some checking and call me back.

I stopped by his recruiter later in the day and found out it wasn’t him, but I am sure – one person gets in trouble, everyone gets in trouble.

Wednesday August 18, 2010

We recieved a surprise phone call this afternoon! Not from Justin, but from his original recruiter, Staff Sgt. Brooks. He was awesome and he and Justin formed a great bond. Anyway, Brooks told me that he had made a day trip to the island and thought I might like to know that he saw Justin and that he was doing fine. In fact, he said, he looks as if he fit right in.

So, that, in a nutshell, is Justin’s (and our family’s) journey with the Marines so far.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finally! A letter from Justin! Well, sort of. It reminds me alot of what I bet the paragraph phone call may have been. It is a form letter, Justin wrote my name after the “Dear___________, ”

and signed his name after the  “Sincerely, ______________”

But, it at least gives us an address and some info about his life at boot camp.

This is the info friends and family are waiting for…

mail should be addressed EXACTLY:



BOX 16240

PARRIS ISLAND, SC 29905-6240

Justin recieves mail everyday except Sundays and Holidays. Please send mail FIRST CLASS or PRIORITY MAIL. DO NOT send any EXPRESS,INSURED or CERTIFIED MAIL. Due to scheduled training, Justin is not allowed to go to the post office to sign for such mail. If you must send it Express mail, please waive the signature requirement.










Letters and SMALL packages are the only authorized mail due to the limited space in living area. You may send  Vitamin C pills, POWDER gatorade and cough drops.

Again, thank you everyone for your continued support!


Friday August 27, 2010

Got a real letter from Justin today. He is doing well, and said that seeing Staff Sgt. Brooks that day was very reassuring to him and helped him to know he will make it! I always knew he would, I’m glad he does now, too.

He asked that I send him Hall’s Fruit Breezers. So, In the mail they will go Monday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I didn’t realize until yesterday just how much I miss Justin. No, that’s not true.  It’s not how much, it is, I guess, what I miss? He and I have developed I would like to think, a friendship, over the past couple of years and I miss talking to him. Bummer. I catch myself wanting to call him and that is when I miss him the most.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I received another letter from Justin today! (I do find myself racing to the mailbox everyday looking for one.) This one made me kind of sad. He is beginning to get homesick now. He has no regrets about the Marine Corp. He is enjoying that (as much as you can enjoy boot camp..). He is just missing us – even Dixie (our border collie, for those who don’t know).

In the letter he has also asked if we could get one of Goose’s classes to write his fellow platoon members. I am not sure why, but I told him I would check into it. If anyone knows a teacher who would be interested in having a class do this, please let me know. All I can figure is maybe some of these kids aren’t getting letters….which is sad.

He has asked specifically this time for protein bars and powder Gatorade. If anyone wants to send a care package, that’s what he needs. The Gatorade, I think, would be easiest in the packages that are made to mix with water bottles, not the big containers with the scoop. I have been advised by my fitness junkie friends that MetRx protein bars taste the best, and as close to 40g of protein is what the Corp would prefer. Wal-Mart sells them in boxes in the health/diet section of the pharmacy. They are the cheapest I have found there as well – GNC is EXPENSIVE..

So, that’s where we are so far. Someone asked me about the holidays the other day. I have no idea what we are doing yet or where we will be. I think this year, I may leave it up to him.

Until next time..


NO POWER BARS!!!  I just received a letter from Justin and he said that the platoon got in trouble and they can no longer have power bars.

September 13, 2010

Write write write!

This is what I am begging of you, my family, friends and any readers who have stumbled upon my site..he is feeling quite down and disheartened, as those of us with military experience (whether it be first hand or because of a loved one) knew he would.

Remind him that he was told (or rather it was implied) that it was too hard – that he couldn’t do it. That he should take the easy way.


He can do it! He knows he can. We all know he can! Let’s write him and remind him.

We all get by with a little help from our friends…sometimes, we need just a little bit more…for me, for my son…

(To my friends who are Sailors, Soldiers and members of the Air Force..please , no offense intended.. I love and support you all)

Until the next letter —



11 responses to “Justin becomes a Marine

  1. Hey Anna,
    Just go the sweetest note from Justin. He didn’t say anything about the power bars (nice guy). I feel like an accomplice to a crime for sending them. 😦 He sounded like he’s doing his best to stay upbeat and is looking forward to phase 2. We’re keeping him in our prayers and yes, we know he WILL do it!! Writing to him again today. =)

    Take care,

  2. hey aunt anna. its harley. and i can get the clc class to write letters. that is not a problem at all. give me names. or how many people

  3. What a wonderful Mom to do this blog for Justin! He is blessed to have you and we are blessed as a country to have him. We haven’t known him long, but he immediately impressed us with his intelligence, good character. God bless him and your family!

    • Anna Allen Chappell

      Thank you very much! I will pass the word along and please, drop him a line whenever you get a second. They don’t get to make any phone calls, so as much mail as he can get, the better. Thank you for your support.

  4. I was so pleased to read about the travails of getting Justin through his ordeal . I feel so sad every time I think about him being away. Please continue to update us regarding his experiences. I feel like Reese and want to cry when I think about this. Much love to all of you.

  5. Catherine Brower

    I’m keeping Justin in my prayers. Let us know how he’s
    doing! And let us know when he can receive letters/packages … I’d love to keep in touch! Let him know
    how proud we are of him!

  6. God Bless and I will pray for him each day as I have for you and your family since we met.

  7. Jennifer Ellington

    I am just crying and crying Anna!!! This is wonderful that you are keeping this blog going. I love this and will be checking it daily to follow his and your journey. I honor him as do I all the soldiers who fight for our country. Keep us updated and I will pray for your strength as a Mama!!

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