Welcome to Son to Soldier. We started this blog as a way to journal our son's journey to become a soldier and a medic in the U.S. Army (HOOAH!) This has been and continues to be an exciting adventure for our entire family. We have covered lots of new territory and continue to learn more and more every day. We will be posting son's letters, pictures, and will try to keep you updated. And I'm sure we'll also have lots of posts from Mom since she's just a tiny bit proud!! I LOVE being an ARMY MOM!

(*I absolutely hate having to put a big ole watermark on front of my photos. In order to keep from doing this, I ask that you please ask permission before copying or downloading pictures. Thanks :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

You Know You're an Army Mom When...


You cried when you heard the little neighbor kid sing Yankee Doodle.

Everything you've purchased in your closet lately seems to be Red, White, or Blue (or Army green/khaki).

You can understand EVERYTHING they talk about on "Army Wives".

Anything you see at the store that is camo is "so cute".

Your favorite song is now The Star Spangled Banner and you bawl like a baby when you hear it (Boy am I in trouble when the Olympics roll around next month and I don't even want to THINK about how I'm gonna get through the 4th of July parade!!!).

You start checking the Echo Company Facebook page every 30 minutes just for an update or a new photo.  (Okay...let's be realistic....if I have my phone close by then it's a lot more than every 30 minutes).

You scan those photos for hours and blow them up x100 just to see a glimpse of your soldier's roster number on the front of their helmet....it doesn't even matter if you see their face!

You stalk the mailman.

You wear a bracelet proudly engraved with ARMY MOM and the name of your soldier.

Your number of Facebook friends has grown by the dozens overnight because you realize you have a "new family" and it seems like you've known them all forever.

You start talking in acronyms; How is your SIT in BCT?  What is his MOS and where is he going for AIT?

You know NBC day is a bad thing...and that it doesn't mean reruns of Seinfeld, Friends, or ER.

You stop and look at the picture wall of service men and women every time you leave Walmart.


You PROUDLY display a "Mother's Flag" (service flag) in your window and hold back tears of pride and joy every time you walk by.

Yep, I'm PROUD to say..... I AM AN ARMY MOM!!!!!!!!

(Oh...and you actually KNOW what hooah means and why they say it!!  :)

I'm Loving White Phase!!!

Gotta love this new found freedom these boys are getting in White Phase.  TWO letters this week!!  HOOAH!!!

Hey Mom,

Things are good (he must've thought I'd be worried right off the bat - receiving two letters in a week!) We are qualifying on our shooting this week.  We have to shoot 40 targets; 20 prone (laying down) supported, 10 prone unsupported, and 10 kneeling supported.  My best pre-qual score has been 28.  We have to score at least a 24 to qualify.  Oh, and I got assigned to design our platoon T-shirt for when we graduate.  Drill Sergeant Weiss said it has to be the most bad a** out of the whole company or else I'm gonna pay for it!  My guess is that just mean a crap ton of push-ups.  And yesterday we had a 5 mile Tactical Ruck march.  So that was one of those days I was really glad I got to take my boots off at the end of the day.  Although I think that they're finally broken in now.  When they assign you your boots they give you a size smaller to avoid blisters, so I've crammed my feet in a size 9 1/2 boots.  OUCH!  But now they are pretty much formed to my feet.

Today is the OFFICIAL halfway mark!  BOOYAH!  It's exciting to think that Basic is half over because it's been going by so fat.  Anyways, there's been a rumor going around that Tom Brady (quarterback for the Patriots) was killed in a car accident.  It's crazy, almost like being back in the MTC - no information in or out other than what somebody overheard someone else talking about.  I can't wait for Sunday.  Some of the guys said they think they might try out church with me.  I love answering all their questions about the gospel.  Archondous even answers a few questions.  Tell his mom that he's doing great and he's a good dude.  Right now I'm just waiting for laundry to be done.  Most of my clothes are just soaked from sweat.  It's gross, but kinda funny too cause when my uniform gets like that it look like I jumped in a pool.  I stay hydrated though.  I swear I drink at least a gallon and a half of water a day.  My pee has never been so clear - ha ha!!

How are things back home?  I miss ya'll.  I can't wait for the 4th so I can talk to ya'll again when we get to have a phone call.  It's gonna be awesome on the 4th!  We are just counting the days!  Someone said we had 36 days left til graduation.  Just over a month left.  I can't believe it!  But it is starting to get hot here now.  We had a high of 105 today!  Yeah, I thought wearing a suit was bad - oh no - wearing full gear (ACU's, helmet, combat gear, vest or flick's as we call em) makes things even worse.  Even the bugs aren't out when it's that hot!  Ha Ha   When we qualify for shooting we don't have to wear the helmet everywhere we go.  That's gonna be a great day!  I've never hated a helmet so bad in my life.  And I thought bike helmets were bad!  So maybe if you really want to punish Tanner, make him wear a helmet all the time.  It friggin sucks!

I love ya'll tons and I can't wait to hear from ya.  (He must not be getting our letters because we've written 2 - 3 times a week!!!)
Love, Lance

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Milkshakes, Shooting and Celebrating!

Hey Mom,

Things here are still going great! Red Phase is officially over!!  We were rewarded with a milkshake, which is super awesome since it's the first real sugar we've been able to have since we got here.  The only problem is that since we aren't used to having milk cause all we drink is water and Gatorade mix, we all ended up with super bad gas. Other than the gas, the milkshake was amazing.

So far White Phase is a little different - we have a little more control over ourselves but it also means a lot less tolerance for when we mess up.  It was great to talk to you.  You have no idea just how good it felt to hear your voice and to be able to talk.

Shooting is great!  Who knew I was a decent shot?  We get to start qualifications at the end of the week and then I don't have to wear that stupid helmet everywhere I go.  Ha Ha  I'm just excited about all sort of little things lately!  But I guess that's what happens when you don't have much control over what you do or eat or when you can sleep.  I never thought I'd be so excited to sleep in till 6!  Ha Ha!

How are things back home?  Really good I hope.  What do ya'll have planned for the 4th?  We're gonna go to the Infantry Museum.  It's supposed to be really cool.  I hope that the Drill Sergeants have some stories to share about deployments and stuff like that.  I can't believe BCT is almost half over Wednesday!  Time just flew by.  From talking to the guys at church, Blue Phase is the most fun because we'll be shooting moving targets and doing lots of cool tactical stuff, AND GRENADE THROWING!!!  Ha Ha  Can you tell I'm excited?!  Honestly, I just wanna blow something up!  I'd say I might buy a gun to have at home to go to the shooting range.  I'm sure that one scared you and your first thought was "don't spend all your money" and "you don't need one".  Ha Ha

So new information...BREAKING NEWS...This just in...another phone call on the 4th!!!  White Phase is freaking awesome!  So I get to call again after we finish up at the Infantry Museum, and this Saturday we get to have a huge celebration on the main post.  We are all way stoked about the next few weeks!

Church was good today.  One of the speakers was a kid I went to Viewmont (High school) with and I worked with him at Lowe's too!  So it was cool to see someone I know 2000 miles away from home.  I guess that's just the coolest thing about the Church; there's always some way to feel at home so far away.  I just got Nicki's letter so I'll try to write her as soon as I've got some more time.  What else is going on back home?  How are the boys?  Nicki?  Dennis?  Everybody?!  I miss ya'll a bunch.  I'll write ya'll again as soon as I can.

Love you, Lance

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fastest 5 Minutes Ever!

Remember when our son wrote that he could call sometime this weekend?  Well, I'm pretty sure I have a new ulcer just from all the anxiety of waiting and wondering!!! I made sure I stayed home ALL day on Friday.  We were going a little stir crazy on Saturday and it was so hot and yucky that everyone decided they wanted to go to a movie  (Brave...way cute...and highly recommended!).  No big deal, right?  Cell phones work in movie theaters, right?  WRONG!!!  As soon as we get into the theater I take my phone out to set it to vibrate so on the off chance that he called during the movie I could run out the door without interrupting the other patrons too much.  I was really pretty much at peace with the thought that morning that he may or may not call and I really would be fine either way.  That is until I saw all those big red bars on my phone with the words NO SERVICE printed under them.  Then I went into mild panic.   Are you kidding me?  Don't they know that babysitters can have emergencies, accidents happen, and SOLDIERS IN TRAINING ARE CALLING THEIR MOMS??? I don't think I've ever prayed so hard in my life!!  I prayed for two things....#1 I asked Heavenly Father to PLEASE randomly make this phone ring IF he called, and #2 IF he did get to call then please PLEASE don't let him call until AFTER the movie.  (And did I tell you it was such a darling movie??)  So the movie ends, we walk out of the theater to the car, turn the corner and........THE PHONE RINGS!!!  I look down and it's a 706 area code (Georgia)!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!!  We couldn't have been out of the theater for more than 3 or 4 minutes.  Once again, never underestimate the power of prayer...no matter how miniscule you think it might be!

It was good to hear his voice, even though he had a really bad cold (he tried to tell me it was nothing, but I've learned from other's moms since talking to him that a few of the boys have pneumonia!  UGH!) and hardly HAD a voice and he sounded a little reluctant to talk.  He said he was good, reassured us once again that he absolutely loved it and was excited to be there, and that he was happy to be done with Red Phase.  He said White Phase will consist mostly of shooting on the range and he's excited at the thought of being able to have Gatorade on the range.  He said he didn't really have a "best friend", but that the whole platoon is really good friends as a whole.  And he's excited for us to come out to graduation.  His only request was for sun screen that is sweat proof.  Poor kid!  He said to tell everyone hello and that he loves and misses everyone.  He did say letters are MUCH appreciated!!!  Then he said his five minutes were up..I yelled "love you Bud" and I went to say something else and he said, "Mom, it's the Army and 5 min is 5 min.  Love you, miss you, bye."  The fastest 5 minutes of my life!!!!  

Love you so much Bud!!  And since I didn't have a chance to say it on the phone.....
Be Safe - Be good - Be strong!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Package Delivered! Thanks and Roger That!

Hey Mom,
I just go the package!  Thanks a million and like 5, because you just saved my face from 2nd degree murder by dull razors - ha ha!  That, and since I have to open my packages in front of everyone, they all have a joke about how my packages are filled with underwear.  You're awesome and I love the packages  :)  You should try to send some of the pictures that are getting posted on Facebook because we all wanna see what they look like since we can't access them.  They sound really cool and I bet it was awesome to see the things I described in my letters.  We start shooting our rifles tomorrow, and our company was specially selected to be visited by a Major General, so that's a really cool honor.  We're all stoked about it!  What's this about Hunter and the Marines?!  Come on Bud!  You gotta go ARMY if you're gonna join the military!

Hey, just a quick jump back to my last thought, but did I tell you about how our company isn't regular BCT?  We're an experiment in trying to see of other MOS's can train like infantry does.  So our whole unit is infantry - like our Drill Sergeants, Officers, and what not.  So it's cool because we're doing a lot of things that don't normally get done in regular BCT.

Lately it seems almost everyone has has been asking me about my religion.  It's been so cool to answer all the different questions that everyone has.  Somebody even asked to borrow my Book of Mormon.  Warren, he's an awesome dude from Memphis.  He's a Buddhist but he's curious about some things.  So he asked if he could borrow my book.  Speaking of which, could you possibly send me some really good church talks.  "Come What May and Love It" by Elder Wirthlin, and possibly a few others?  I wish you could send a whole Ensign but magazines are contraband.  So you can still just print off some of those talk for me.  That would be awesome!

That's really cool that you've made friends with Tepper's mom !  :)  He's an awesome dude - one of my favorites in the platoon.  He was our "casualty" during the First Aid Training so we had to carry him all over that hill! But it was still a blast - and we never even dropped him!!  I joked that for the rest of his career he doesn't ever get to be a casualty again because he was heavy enough the first time.  He laughed and joked back with me sayin he hoped he never will be!

Things here are a blast!  I can totally see why people in the Army say that this is one of the best times - well, let me take that back.  They say that about AIT, but most of the guys here are going to Ft. Sam with me.

Nicki, thanks for the sports update.  It was awesome!  I really needed that and I really hope the Thunder win the finals!  Heck, they should win just because I can't watch any of it!  I love you guys a ton!  Thanks for the letters.  Mail is one of the best things in my day.  I love hearing from you guys! :)

We've been shooting everyday this week so far.  It's been a lot of fun - well - at least when we're shooting.  When we aren't shooting it really sucks because we just PRACTICE shooting for the next 8 hours - laying in the sun watching Drill Sergeants drink Gatorade.  Speaking of Drill Sergeants, we got our new Senior Drill Sergeant back, Drill Sergeant Love.  So far he seems like a really fair guy.  He expects a lot out of us though.  So it might take us a little bit to get used to having to be at best all the time.  But I'm pretty sure we'll be all the better for it.

I just got your letter from the 15th.  Glad to know that you're gonna make it.  I don't know Landers or the other guy because most of the platoons don't like us, but that's just because we've got the best Drill Sergeants - and they know it.  haha  They really treat us with a lot of respect while still teaching us and enforcing discipline.  With White Phase coming up, it sounds like there will be more freedoms and we get to have Gatorades at the firing range!!!

Anyways, I love getting your letters!  It's great to get them - definitely makes my day some days.  I'm missing ya'll and can't wait to see you come graduation!

Love,  Lance

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Am a Soliders Mother

I Am a Soldiers Mother
By Cynthia Strong

I am a soldier’s mother; I sometimes march alone
And yet I stand with many, trying to be strong.
You may not recognize me as you pass me on the street;
I may look like any other that you by chance might meet.
Like any mother, in a lot of ways I still remain,
But watching my son become a soldier brought a forever change.
For deep down inside where you cannot see
My own battle rages that’s as real as it can be.
It starts with feeling pride in all he has become,
But often worry creeps in before the day is done.
Then there is his absence that never will seem right -
The days without a word that causes many sleepless nights.
And at the sight of another soldier, my heart skips a beat,
For it reminds me of my own, and that face I’d love to see.
And I have a deeper sense of the sacrifices our heroes make;
I can see the hardships on the families – the loneliness, the heartache.
But in spite of all that’s raging, this mother’s love holds strong
As I’m wrapped in God’s peace and comfort and given strength to go on.

Thinking of you today Bud! And thinking....I never really thought I'd be a military mom, but how proud I am to be one.  I never thought I'd loan you to Uncle Sam, but how honored I was to let you go.  These summer holidays hold a new meaning for me.  I thought I was patriotic before, but now there's a higher sense of gratitude and of love...it's nearly overwhelming.   When you told us of your big plans, dreams and desires I was excited that you knew exactly what you wanted to do!  I'd prayed for you to receive guidance and direction in your life.  Now comes the exercise of my faith and courage, and probably yours as well.  I am proud to be an Army Mom.  I'm learning what Army Strong really means. And I'm so thankful to be part of this new Army Family that we've already come to know and love.  Thank you for this opportunity to be part of this adventure in your life Bud.  And thank you so much for being part of mine!!!
Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong
(I love you more than a million ANYTHINGS)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NBC Chamber & Family Prayer

NBC Chamber - Note:  These are NOT photos from his actual Unit
Hey Everybody!!!  

Well today was the NBC Chamber (gas).  Yeah, it totally sucked!  I didn't puke though!  They had us eat breakfast 10 minutes before we had to go in.  But...back to the Chamber...Those masks work pretty well.  The part that sucks is when you have to take them off and say your name, rank and social...that is if you can get that far.  One guy from our platoon freaked out and attacked one of the Drill Sergeants to try to get out, so as punishment we had to do it a second time.  And that really sucked!!!  I hated doing that even more than having to eat carrots!  Ha Ha!  I had so much mucus pouring outta my face, and I still don'g have a voice now.  No worries though cause it's over now, but once I get to my unit after AIT I'll have to do it once a year!  I'm already coughing just thinking about it!

We get to do Land Navigation tomorrow, so we'll see just how lost I'll end up in the woods out here.  They are beautiful though.  Tons of pine trees, but they are totally different than the kind in Spokane.  These are way tall and skinny except at the top they look like a normal pine tree.  
More MRE's for lunch today.  It seems like I've gotten the same one the last four times (Spicy Penne Pasta).  I always keep hoping I'll get the Buffalo Chicken again.  I'm excited for Land Navigation (haha I'm trying to go back to my original thought).  They're gonna give us coordinates, a compass, and a map and we have to find 3 different points out in the woods.  Kinda like the Army version of The Amazing Race.  It should be really fun!

Time here is flying, how is home?  That's awesome about Nicki and her new job at Boondock's!  And Hunter and football?!  That's awesome!  Can't wait to hear about that one!  I just got more of your letters!  Thanks for the pictures!  They're great!  haha  Frosted Flakes!!!  That one was for Nicki!  The letter from Elder Oaks was really cool.  It's been great to get all of your letters so far.  By the way...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DENNIS!!!  Thanks for all the years of advice and support!  Honestly, most of the lessons you've taught me have had application to something that I've done here.  You're the best father anyone could ever ask for!

So, back to what all I've been up to lately.  The overnighter was cool but super exhausting because we spent the whole first day rolling around in the dirt and the woods learning how to bound and cover.  That was a lot of fun.  And then we had to sleep on an ant hill.  It was pretty funny to have all the guys freak out about a bunch of ants.  Ha Ha!  Then we woke up and did it all over again all day long!  But overall time seems to be flying!  It almost feels like I never have enough time in a day.  I miss you guys, a lot! Especially at church today...They had a cool idea to have you all to have family prayer at the same time I pray so it's like we're all praying together.  I usually pray at 2130, which is 9:30 here.  So it'd be like 6:30 there  (He's wrong...it's 7:30 Utah time) and I know that's right around dinner time and all ya'll are probably super busy, but it seemed like a really cool idea.  Schwarz came to church with me again.  He's a really good guy, but he's struggling a little (he explains a little).  I'm really trying hard to help him stay positive and to try to tough it out.  I really hope he stays.  Sundays here are nice because we have church and most of the day is personal time.  So I use most of it to write letters and to do laundry.  Speaking of letters, Tanner, I got your letter buddy.  I loved the pictures - especially the Drill Sergeant.  You pretty much nailed that one...ha ha.  I have it hanging in my locker with all my family photos too!  

Red Phase isn't over as soon as I thought it was gonna be.  It won't end until somewhere close to the 22nd, so it's gonna be a little longer on that phone call.  But don't worry we haven't totally screwed up to lost that one yet!  I really hope you guys are doing good.  I love hearing from ya'll.  Tell all the aunts, uncles, cousins and Gramma and Grandpa I say hi and I'm doing good here.  Let Gramma know I got her letter.  I friggin love you guys!  I miss ya'll tons, and I can't wait to see ya'll at graduation!

Love, Lance
P.S.  The dog tag is for Tanner since he wrote me first!  (He sent a dog tag with a picture of the Salt Lake City LDS Temple on it.  It's just like the one he wears to identify his religion and whom to contact in case of emergency....except this one is plastic.  And by the way...  Mom wrote to him first  ;)

1/2 Boy - 1/2 Man

Thanks to Gayle Barth for sending this to us  <3

1/2 Boy - 1/2 Man

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment either. 

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.  He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer. 
He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.  He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.  He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other.  He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. 
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.  He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.  He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. 

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. 

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to' square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking.  In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.  Beardless or not, he is not a boy.  He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years. 
He has asked nothing in return, except 
Our friendship and understanding.
 Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. 
As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot. . ... A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.
Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one. 
Pray for our soldiers!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First Aid Training Day & Eagle Tower

First Aid Casualty Course

Hey Mom,
Eagle Tower
This week has been good, although some Drill Sergeants are bullies.  One woke us up every hour on the hour to smoke us.  I guess it was because 4th platoon messed up on their night watch.  And then yesterday I had a Drill pour his Powerade in my helmet for no reason. That was really annoying, but other than those two times the Drills have been pretty fair.  Thanks for sending the extra garments.  It gave me more of a chance to share about the Gospel.  Most guys here haven't either met or talked to a "Mormon", so I've had six or seven really good conversations about it.  We did the Eagle Confidence Tower (repelling).  It was AWESOME!  Today was the First Aid Casualty Course and my 9 man squad had the best time on the course of out of the whole company!  21 minutes!  We had to find our casualty in the woods and provide Care Under Fire, which is basically provide a tourniquet and drag him to cover so that we can provide further care.  Just my luck, our casualty was the biggest guy from 1st platoon, 245 lbs!  So we dragged him to a nearby building, provided splints and bandages then had to carry him on a stretcher through the building over an 8 foot wall and then through a river...all the while providing "covering fire" to safely navigate through the rest of the course.  I think the hardest part was either lifting Tepper over the wall or trying to diagnose the tension to the pneumothorax (air in the chest cavity, crushing the lungs).  Normally you have to insert an NPA in the nose.  It's basically a tube that goes from your nose to your throat, and then use a 14 gauge needle and insert it between the second and third rib.  Luckily we only had to do that part on a dummy and not on Tepper  ;)
So it was a really cool course anyways.  And then for lunch.... more MRE'S.  I still think the Buffalo Chicken is my favorite one out of all of them.  Ok...so I wasn't really able to finish that last thought because it was lights out.
We just got finished doing the Confidence and Hardcore Obstacle Course.  It was awesome!  It starts with some hurdles, then a rope climb, and monkey bars, and then crawling over a few walls and under some barbed wire.  Our platoon tied for 1st as a whole on the course.  The Confidence Course was cool too, but a lot harder to explain.  But it was a lot of really tough obstacles.  One of our guys, Warren, fell off to top of the rope.  He's gotta be one of the hardest, toughest guys I've ever met.  He still kept doing the obstacles as best he could without his left shoulder.  Definitely a really inspiring dude.  I carried his assault pack for the Ruck march back to the barracks. 
So I found we get to do the NBC chamber (gas chamber) tomorrow.  Looking forward to that one - haha!  I gotta say though BCT (basic) has been nothing like I expected.  Well, either that or I just got really lucky .  Drill Sergeants Camp and Weiss are great.  They focus more on teaching us how to be better people and better soldiers.  We really hardly ever get smoked.  I got your letter and the pictures.  Thanks!  I was really happy to get those.  Ya'll should send some more cause it'd be great just to see something that isn't camouflaged or dirt.  haha
I was able to go to church again today.  The gas chamber got moved to Tuesday.  Church was good.  Schwarz, a guy about 3 bunks down from me, was curious about church and he's been asking me questions all week.  He came with me today.  He thought it was alright.  He didn't say what exactly he didn't like about it, but I'm pretty sure it's about having a living prophet today.  He's the kind of guy who doesn't think anything was necessary after Christ's resurrection, but he's still a great guy though.  So I thought of some things you could send me....toothpaste, bodywash (soap), spare razors for the gillette fusion razor, some sticks of deodorant....we only get to the PX like every 3 weeks and i'm kinda running low on those supplies.  But..hey....good news!!  Red Phase is almost over!!!  Which means.....PHONE CALL!!!!  It'll only be like 5 minutes though.  Maybe longer.  It kinda depends on the Drill Sergeants.  It'll be from a pay phone.  I don't know if you got that information about graduation yet, but my company has a Facebook site that you can look up and see some pictures of the things that I'm doing.  E 119th or something like that.  I'm sure you'll find it.  Ya'll got some time.  haha
So we're on tornado watch till 2030 tonight.  It's been super crazy rain storms all day today.  It's been really cool to guess the difference between artillery and thunder.  Speaking of thunder, what is going on in sports? I've been totally cut off form sports while I'm here. All I know is that Boston and Miami went to game 7, but I don't know who won!  Who's in the finals?  What all is going on with football news?  O.T.A.'s?  Heck, I'd even kill for baseball or golf news right now!  haha!!!  Just sports withdrawls.  I just found out how to take apart my M4 rifle.  It's pretty cool, and it's neat to take it apart and see how it works and then put it back together.  Anyways, I guess I'll finish this letter now since I've been writing it off and on for about a week now.  haha  I love you guys and miss ya tons!

Love, Lance

(You can see pictures of Lance and his platoon on the his company's facebook page.  Join the group E 1/19 Cycle 30 May-02 Aug 12    There are some really cool pictures of things he described in this letter....and if you look close you can spot him!  It's like finding Waldo!!!!)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mom's Letter

Hey Mom,
I had a few minutes so I thought I'd let you know how I'm doing.  They just gave us all of our ballistic stuff - magazines, helmets, and bullet proof vest.  So now nobody should be able to shoot me.  Ha Ha
But things are good.  The Drill Sgts are strict but fair.  We have a good platoon so we aren't getting smoked too much.  My new assigned battle buddies are Rodriguez and Reed.  Rodriguez is a cool guy from L.A. and Reed is from Philly.  Reed is a 68W like me and we get along really well.  Rodriguez is a 25Q communications specialist.  I hope you guys are doing good.  I miss everybody a lot.  It was gret to talk to you on the phone.  I wish it could've been longer.  I can't wait to hear from you guys, but please don't send any empty letters (Hunter!).  MRE's aren't half bad.  I had pulled chicken w/buffalo sauce.  Really tasty but kinda spicy too.  We should be getting our weapons tomorrow, but I don't think we start shooting for a while - like maybe 3 weeks.  It's crazy to think it's only 60 days to graduation.  They say that this one is one of the best that the Army has to offer, so if you guys want - but I don't know how you want to do it - I'd rather have ya'll at this one than at Ft. Sam.  But that's just me - it's all up to you guys.  Either way.  I love ya'll and I'm missing you tons.  Attached I have the way to send me mail.

So we got our weapons today.  I have an M4 Carbine Rifle.  It's pretty cool, but we don't get to shoot it for a few more weeks.  So we had to start wearing our helmets today.  They weigh about 8 lbs and we have to wear it from breakfast to dinner.  So from about 7 am to 6 pm.  Wake up is usually at 0430 if our platoon doesn't screw up and have to get up earlier.  But luckily we haven't had that yet.  While waiting for dinner today Drill Sergeant asked if anyone knew the National Anthem and I was the only one that raised their hand.  So I ended up having to sing a solo for the entire company (about 200 soldiers).  Amazingly enough it wasn't that bad and I think I lucked out and got some extra help from the Holy Ghost in being able to remember it all.  Speaking of church, the company lost Sunday privileges this week so no church this Sunday.  I'm really bummed out about that one.  But we get to go next week for sure.  It's been amazing how much of my mission experience has been able to help me out here.  Everything from how to pack a crap ton of stuff into a ruck sack to helping other guys deal with disappointment and homesickness.  So far I'm having a really good time here.  Yeah, getting smoked every once in a while sucks, but for the most part the platoon does really good so it doesn't happen too often.  I friggin (must be a Georgian word!) love you guys and miss you tons!
Love, Lance

We've Got Mail!!!!

Two letters arrived on the same day!!!  HOOAH!!!

Hey Mom, (and the rest of the family)
Well I'm alive.  Sorry it's taken so long to write.  Things in reception have been good.  A lot of sitting though.  They won't let us do any push-ups or anything like that until we finish processing.  And I don't get a return address until then either.  So that kinda sucks cause I miss you guys.  The days are long but that's mostly because it's a lot of hurry up and wait.  The day start at 0400.  We stand in formation and then march to chow.  The food is good.  Then we sit in a room and do paper work or get shots or uniforms.  There really isn't anything specific that we do besides standing or waiting in line.  We get personal time for an hour at 2000 and then its lights out at 2100.  I can't wait to start Basic and get out of reception.  The Drill Sergeant here isn't too bad so far, but we'll be assigned a new one once basic starts.  I hope you guys are doing great.  I was planning on writing individual letters, but it's starting.....

Ok it's been 3 days since I've had a chance to be able to write, so I don't really know where I left off.  I went to church today.  It was great!  I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit so strong.  It was really cool.  I think America the Beautiful is probably my new favorite hymn. Things have been pretty good, just lots of memorizing things like the Army Song, Soldier's Creed, and My General Orders.  We will most likely actually start the real basic training on Friday and then I'll be able to call with all my information like my address and stuff.  I hope you guys are doing good at home.  I miss all of you and I'm praying for you.  I'll send another letter as soon as I have time.  Oh yeah, before I forget, I got to teach some guys about the church.  It's been really cool to be able to share the gospel with them.  There's definitely been some great questions that I've been able to answer.  There were even a couple that came to church because of friends that had told them about it.  And if you don't go to church you have to clean, so people are all sorts of willing to at least give it a shot.

Love ya'll,

First Phone Call

After waiting for over a week and carrying my cell phone with me every second, we finally got our phone call!  Get this, I was drying my hair...had the cell phone right on the counter the entire time.  It doesn't ring...just gives me this little beep that I have a voicemail.  I look down at the phone and see Lance's picture pop up.  I missed the call!!!  Are you kidding me??!!!  Hurried and dialed him right back and it went straight to voice mail.  No, no no!!!  The house phone rings and it's him!!  YES!!  He was calling from his cell, it was VERY windy, he sounded nervous and winded like they'd been marching up hill or something, and there was more than one Drill Sergeant YELLING his guts up right into the phone - I swear!  Note to Sergeants....when you're letting these boys call their mamas for the first time  KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!  It did not help calm Mama's nerves!!!  LOL  Apron strings...I know!  :s   We only had 65 seconds.  That's what I said....65 seconds to talk.  And he kept cutting out the entire time.  He was just calling to say he made it out of reception to the first official day of Basic and that he was alive and well.  He said he had written and to wait for the letter to come with his contact info.  That was it.  Love you mom...and a quick bye.  Now to wait for that letter!!!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong


The day finally arrived.  After 5 months of our son impatiently waiting to leave to Fort Benning for Basic Training (Yes, there was a WAITING LIST to get into the Army!  Can you believe that one?  A waiting list!!) the day is here.  I don't know if I looked forward to this day more or feared this day more.  As a Mom, of course you think of all the bad and the ugly that could happen.  You think of the good too, just maybe not as much.  I think the worst part is just not knowing what he's doing or where he'll be going after this.  We can both deal with the homesickness.  After serving an LDS mission for 2 years we all kind of got used to that part.  It's the worry that's hard to let go of.  Will he be surrounded by good things and good people?  Will he be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong?  Will he make good friends?  YES, I know he's 23 years old...but you always worry about them having a good friend!  It's not about cutting the apron strings.  I can throw that whole dang apron into the air and let it fly, but that doesn't stop you from being a Mom.  and it definitely doesn't stop you from worrying!

We went to church on this morning and then spent the afternoon together as a family.  He requested Cafe Rio pulled pork for his last homecooked meal for a while.  We had a great day.  Of course they all harassed me for wanting so many pictures!!!  But really family, who knows when you'll all be home again at the same time for 5 minutes!!  We checked him into the Radisson out by the airport at 4:00 and then went out to dinner.  Lance was so antsy the entire time!  He had briefing at 7:00 (I guess I should start using Army time!) but didn't want to be late at all.  I think we had him back by 6:00.  He was nervous...he was excited!  We just gave him hugs in the parking lot.  The kids all had bets on when mom would "lose it".  Geeze...thanks guys!  Just so they know...I kept my sunglasses on for a reason and tried really hard to keep it together.  I did pretty good if I do say so myself.  I didn't even cry until the next morning.  But they don't know that...so shhhhh!

Lance had MEPS on Monday all day.  His flight didn't leave until 8:00 Tuesday morning.  He called from the airport to say goodbye and let me know things were good.  Then he texted when he got to Atlanta and said he would call when they got on the bus for their 2 hour ride to Ft. Benning.  That was the last we heard.  He's in the Army now!  Take care of him Uncle Sam!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong
The Schofield Family

What a group!

I love these kids!

Swearing In

Ever see a Mom sob out loud during intermission at a hockey game? Yes, it was me! I know...I know...the kids already let me know what a dork I was. I just couldn't help it! That was ONE of the glorious and most proud "Mom moments" of 23 years of being a mom. As of that second, I officially became an ARMY MOM. Army "Strong" Mom? Well....that one will come with time ;) but Lance says I'm not doing too bad. Of course he couldn't see me! I do have mixed emotions about all this. But somebody has to do it...right? Somebody's son or daughter has to fight for our freedoms and to preserve our constitution. Somebody's son or daughter has to be that combat medic to help those kids in the field in times of fear and turmoil. Words really can't express how proud I am to watch Lance learn and grow and make this huge life changing decision. I'm <------------------------> this much proud and <-----> this much scared! So many changes, new experiences, and lots to learn. Not just for Lance but for the whole family. There's a quote from the movie "Act of Valor" that says, "You don't expect your family to understand, you just hope they'll accept it." Well Lance, we understand, and we completely accept it. Be safe - Be Good - Be Strong....ARMY strong! We love you!!!!

The actual swearing in.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome To Our Adventure!

Welcome to Son to Soldier. We hope you enjoy following our son as he begins his journey to become a soldier for the U.S. Army. This is an exciting adventure for our entire family and we have lots of new territory to cover that we are very unfamiliar with. We will be posting "Bud's" letters, pictures, and will try to keep you updated. I'm sure we'll also have lots of posts from Mom as this has already been a little emotional learning experience for her as well! (Which, I have to say, so far I LOVE being an ARMY MOM!)