The Transformation

From the Founder of, Tracy Della Vecchia

My son was a Recruit in boot camp on 9/11. He'd been there two weeks. The time between then and when he graduated on November 21, 2001 seemed to last forever. I was glued to the news and wanted a letter from him every day. I only got three letters and two very short phone calls. One of them was simply "Mom, don't worry about the terrorists that took down the Twin Towers. My job will be to protect you now and I'm getting excellent training." He was crying and I could hear every recruit in the background crying.

And that was it. I was left with a dozen unanswered questions. I was nervous and constantly wished for more information. Somehow I got through boot camp, solo.

All my fears were put to rest when we arrived in San Diego for his graduation. He was not the same little boy that I had kissed goodbye 13 weeks prior. He was a United States Marine, and his job was to protect our country. I still cry when I recall the moment I was able to finally wrap my arms around him on family day.

Graduation was phenomenal! Don't miss it. Do whatever you can to go to your Recruit's graduation. Start saving now, ask for time off from work, and make sure at least one family member is there to witness, first-hand, the transformation. You are taking this journey with your recruit. You are being trained right alongside one another--your journey is to be a Marine Parent, and your recruit's journey is to become One of the Few, The Proud: A United States Marine!

I didn't start until January, 2003 when my Marine son called to tell me he was deploying to Iraq. I've learned so much and traveled so far since that time. The part that never ceases to amaze me, is the tight-knit Marine Corps family. Our Marines are brothers and sisters--this is their new family. And you are an integral part of that family now too. Semper Family!

The Transformation

January 27, 2015: New recruits of Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, move from the yellow footprints to the contraband room during receiving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., Jan. 26. The contraband room is where the recruits are searched for items prohibited in recruit training such as weapons, drugs and cell phones.
— USMC Photo.

Pre-Boot Camp

Before Boot Camp

—Derrick Jensen on the way to Kansas City to leave
for boot camp in San Diego, August 28, 2001, 2:00 P.M.

Post-Boot Camp

After Boot Camp

—PFC Derrick Jensen on the trip home from San Diego on November 22, 2001, 2:00 A.M. as a proud United States Marine.

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