An unexpected surprise

I went to the mail box this past Saturday and was surprised to find a large envelope sent from the Afghanistan. Inside the envelope was this 3-69 AR BN Certificate of Appreciation from the battalion commander and the command sergeant major.

Certificate of Appreciation

A huge thank you goes out to the scores of friends who helped with the fundraising drive a few months ago, and the people who are contributing to the current effort. As you can see from the certificate linked above, your contributions are greatly appreciated.

If you haven’t given to the 3-69 AR BN and would like to, here is how. . .

send a check made out to:

Friends of Speed and Power

3-69 AR BN

Attn: LT Yamin

515 Warrior Road, Bldg 648

Fort Stewart, GA  31314

The funds raised will help defray the costs for the welcome home baskets for single soldiers and go toward the other welcome home events.

Thank you for supporting our troops!

The color guard moves forward during the Casing of the Colors for the 3-69 AR at Fort Stewart, October 2012.
The color guard moves forward during the Casing of the Colors for the 3-69 AR at Fort Stewart, October 2012.

Reflecting on the Long Gray Line

 

The Long Gray Line, 2011 photo by Stanley Leary

Time flies by. Two years ago I was gearing up for graduation weekend at The Citadel. My graduate is now a first lieutenant in the US Army and on his first deployment.

Two years ago I had no idea I would still be in regular contact with parents of current cadets. Once I posted the information for Citadel Parents to this blog I thought that would be it. Parents could find the information and I would move on to other activities. I was wrong.

What I didn’t expect were the emails and phone calls from Citadel parents. By the spring of 2012 I found it was easier to answer the questions of new parents by posting a Facebook group for parents of the class of 2016. A few friends who are now parents of graduates joined the page too. The group grew. It now boosts over 300 members. A group for the class of 2017 parents is now up and running.

Once your cadet gets through the first year at The Citadel you can volunteer with the Citadel Family Association. It is a great way to help other new families learn the ins and outs of having a cadet at The Military College of South Carolina. It is also a terrific way to make friends. This blog is just one way to learn about The Citadel experience. Any number of parents of current cadets can help answer questions as well. The Citadel Family Association is a great place to find supportive parents.

Next week I will travel to Charleston to be with a few of my Citadel Ya Ya sisters, and visit with a number of families with graduating cadets. In a way I feel like a distant aunt to some of these cadets. Little did I know in 2007 when my son matriculated I would become good friends with the parents of his fellow cadets. And I never would have guessed that I would reunite with an old high school friend from New Jersey.

One day four years ago I received an email asking if I was the same Dorie Griggs who went to Sparta High school. The note was from Gwen, a friend with whom I spent many a weekend with in high school. Who would have guessed that thirty years after leaving high school in New Jersey we would be reunited in South Carolina at The Citadel. Her oldest son is now a graduating senior and will begin his training in the US Army and Gwen will be a Blue Star mother.

Next week I will enjoy being a spectator at the annual rite of passage from cadet to graduate during the Long Gray Line parade. I’ll spend time catching up with good friends and meeting some of the parents I only know through Facebook.

The cycle begins again in June as the Atlanta Citadel Club hosts the annual cadet send off dinner for the incoming Class of 2017.

Citadel Information Tips from "Dorie-pedia"

Padgett-Thomas Barracks at The Citadel photo by Stanley Leary
Padgett-Thomas Barracks at The Citadel
photo by Stanley Leary

Recently on one of the Citadel parent Facebook groups I was referred to as Dorie-pedia because I help Citadel parents find information. I have never really had a nickname. (at least none that people called me to my face!) My given name is usually a nickname.

It really is a compliment that parents think I can help provide answers, but the truth is, I just know my way around search windows. Some of the parent questions I can answer from first hand experience, but a lot of my answers come directly from The Citadel website.

I learned early on that at this military school most policies are documented and easily found on the web site. All the training modules are posted on the Office of the Commandants page if you really want to get an understanding of what is taught at this Leadership school.

Now that I have my own blog I can see the various search terms used to find the blog. I know the future cadets and their parents are using Google quite a bit and ending up on this site.

A few tips for learning information about the school:

Use the search window on the main site. Enter basic terms. For instance, if you wonder what a cadet corporal does, enter “duties of a corporal”, or “roles and responsibilities of a corporal.”

Use a few different terms until you find the answer to your question.

Call the appropriate office on campus and ask the staff there if you have a question about a term you’ve heard or if it is a general policy question. They will point you to the right place to get the answers. It is always best to get information directly from a primary source. An assistant commandant told me they prefer to answer the scheduling and policy type questions directly to avoid rumors.

Become familiar with the information on the Office of the Commandant page. Most of your questions will be answered on a link here.

Bookmark the link to the Guidon online. It is a great resource.

Use the volunteers of the Citadel Family Association. Their contact information for the company and battalion reps as well as various area reps can be found on the CFA web site. Parents who volunteer have already been through a year or two and volunteer to help the new parents.

Facebook groups for parents can be helpful. As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Citadel: Social Media and the Rumor Mill, use the groups as a resource for information and avoid posting anything about your cadet specifically.

Many alumni cannot understand why parents know so much about the 4th Class system now. Parents and students today have far more information available to them today thanks to the internet.  Alumni will tell you when they attended their parents would drop them off on Matriculation Day and maybe get one five-minute phone call from their cadet once a week or so. That call was made from a pay phone.

Times have changed. To stay relevant and competitive in the higher education marketplace some policies at The Citadel had to change. Allowing cell phones for knobs is a change that, in part, came about for campus safety after the shootings at Virginia Tech. The use of computers is a necessity for anyone in the job marketplace. With the increased use of computers comes the increase n communication capabilities such as email and Skype. Future employers will expect graduates to know how to use computers and other technology. Parents need to know how to use technology for their own work and duties as a parent.

The Citadel has held the #1 ranking for public colleges in the South. A testament to how well the school has managed to maintain the rigors of the 4th Class System while staying relevant in the current higher education marketplace.

Helpful links to navigate the web site:

A-Z Sie map

People Search

 

 

Support for the 3-69 AR BN

The color guard moves forward during the Casing of the Colors for the 3-69 AR at Fort Stewart, October 2012.
The color guard moves forward during the Casing of the Colors for the 3-69 AR at Fort Stewart, October 2012.

The Family Readiness Group for my son’s battalion sent me a note recently outlining their needs for both the families of the deployed soldiers and for the soldiers over seas. Early this year, with the help of many friends and family members, I was able to gather and send items. The battalion needs our help again.

I hope the readers of this post will help me get the word out once again. If you live near me in Roswell, GA and can drop off your donation great send me an email to let me know you’ll be donating! If you would like to send a financial donation, please email me at: dorie@dorielgriggs.com

They requested the following items:

Underwear (solid color boxer briefs in medium, large, and XL)

Good, sturdy boot length socks

T-shirts

Foot powder, soap, baby wipes, shaving cream (in tubes not aerosol)

Sunscreen (cream, no aerosol cans)

They have also established an account for the battalion. Money donated to the fund will be used to give injured battalion members gift baskets, provide welcome home baskets for single soldiers, and also to help with their welcome home activities. To donate to the battalion send your donation to: Friends of Speed and Power

mail to:

3-69 AR BN, Attn: LT Yamin, 515 Warrior Road, Bldg 648, Fort Stewart, GA  31314

Please share this post with anyone you believe will help.

Thank you!!

Recognition Day for the Class of 2016

Bravo Company and 1st Battalion in Marion Square Recognition Day, 2008
Bravo Company and 1st Battalion in Marion Square Recognition Day, 2008

Recognition Day for The Citadel Class of 2016 is this Saturday, April 13. The year has flown by for me, but I know it hasn’t for the knobs and their parents. Looking back on my own son’s knob year I remember how long it seemed. The following three years past by like it was just one.

There is one aspect of the day I need to emphasize. Recognition Day is for the 4th Class cadets.

I was very surprised that my son came out of the barracks after they were recognized. In the past few years more and more newly recognized cadets come out of the barracks for a hug.
I was very surprised that my son came out of the barracks after they were recognized. In the past few years more and more newly recognized cadets come out of the barracks for a hug.

Each year since 2008 when I first watched the 4th Class cadets march into Marion Square more and more families travel to Charleston to watch the activities Saturday morning. It is important for everyone who does decide to attend to remember that this is their cadets big day, even though you too feel like you have survived knob year. It is a 24 hour period filled with challenges both physical and mental for the knobs.

While you can now observe the gauntlet, a series of activities performed on the parade field or the WLI field, you should not cheer or get in the way of the activities. Bring a chair, watch from a distance, take photos from a distance, visit with other parents, but do not interact with the cadets.

In 2008 we arrived in Charleston before noon to watch the march into Marion Square. I was surprised to see some people gathered around the sallyport gates watching what was happening inside. We got out of the car just in time to hear the announcement, “The fourth class system in no longer in effect!”

Many alumni do not understand why parents now come to campus for Recognition Day. The tradition has changed from their time as cadets. The significance of the day for the 4th Class cadets has not changed. Don’t be surprised if a friend who is also a graduate of the school doesn’t understand why you are going to the campus.

For parents who cannot be on campus for the activities, the phone call you will get from your cadet will be one of the best calls you have ever received. The school will post photos and the Facebook groups for parents will be filled with photos and videos.

I look forward to seeing the photos and videos myself. I am hoping the members of the Facebook group, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2016, will gather at some point for a group photo.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

See the following links for previous posts about Recognition Day.

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Recognition Day the Best Day of the Year for Knobs

The members of Bravo Company, '11, march into Marion Square led by their company commander.
The members of Bravo Company, ’11, march into Marion Square led by their company commander.