Fort Jackson & Anna

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The morning dawned bright and beautiful. JT arrived just before 7:00 AM and we loaded up and headed to the airport. Our flight was scheduled for 11:06 and left right on time. On the way from Minneapolis to Chicago we took a very comfortable “A320” Air Bus. It was the first flight for JT and the first in years for both Perry and I. Once we got to Chicago and ran to the other end of the world (or so it seemed) to catch our connection we had to chuckle at what was before us. Perry referred to it as the “puddle jumper.” About half the size of the first plane. JT and I both were a tad bit nervous about this prospect.

In the end all was just fine and in fact we landed about 10 minutes early in Columbia, South Carolina! Our arrival was about 4:10 PM (Eastern time). The next stop was to get the rental car…and as it turns out we were “upgraded” from the economy model (and, frankly, I hate to image how small the economy model would have been after seeing the “upgrade”) to a 2010 Kia Soul:

Once we got to the hotel (thanks to JT’s iPhone navigation) we had just enough time to get freshened up and head to the Golden Corral restaurant for a get together of other 1-34th family members! It was a great time and Perry and JT were able to eat their fill at the all-you-can-eat restaurant!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 – Family Day

At 10:00 AM we headed to Fort Jackson and Hilton Field for Family Day. Vendors line the area where you can purchase t-shirts, jewelry, videos, pictures, hats…anything you can think of to remember the occasion. They also had some of the vehicles used (Hummers, tanks, etc) on display. At 12:00 we sat in the grandstand waiting to see our Soldier. It was an awesome sight to see as they ran out of the woods, through colored smoke, and into formation.

After a brief introduction and a few rules for the day we were able to go onto the field and meet up with Anna. What a sight she was! It was so good to see her. Once we got to the car JT surprised her with a promise ring!

We then spent the rest of the day on Post. The main PX was jammed packed with Soldiers waiting in line for hours to get food from Burger King or Taco Bell for the first time in 10 weeks. The line at the cell phone stores was just as long. All the Soldiers had money to spend and the first thing they wanted were new cell phones! The rest of the day was spent touring the Post with Anna acting as our tour guide. Checked out the Museum and played some pool at Ivy Lanes. At 9:00 PM Anna had to be back and we headed back to the hotel.

Thursday, October 14, 2010 – Graduation

Another beautiful day in South Carolina! At 9:00 AM the Soldiers marched in and the ceremony began. Lots of introductions and presentations of awards. After the ceremonies the troops marched passed for their introductions. In the following photo Anna is in the 4th row (from front) – on the far outside (being squad leader).

Once graduation was done Anna was bussed back to the barracks where we met and whisked her off post. The day was spent shopping (of course), sight seeing the area and a well deserved nap at the hotel. We finished off the evening by taking her to Chipotle for dinner and then back to the post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

For me this was a very hard day to face. We were leaving that late afternoon and not sure if we would be able to see Anna one more time. As luck would have it – I was able to sign Anna out at 3:50 PM….we flew down the freeway and literally dumped her and JT off on the side of the road and made it to the airport by the skin of our teeth for the 4:53PM flight to Chicago. I admit I cried for a good part of that leg of our trip. I didn’t want to leave Anna that way. But I knew she was with JT so that made it a bit easier…but only a bit. We finally arrived in Minneapolis at 8:00PM – 30 minutes early! The glass of Chardonnay Perry got me was well worth the $6! By 10:00PM we were home and cuddling Cailin and smooching on the hounds.

Here is the Picasa Web Album from our visit. Click on the photo to see the rest of the images!

Family Day & Graduation – Fort Jackson