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How to Cope With Your Son's Leaving for Marine Corps Bootcamp

Tips from a mom whose son has chosen to be a recruit in USMC Boot Camp to become a United States Marine

One Baby Who Became a United States Marine


When Your Child Tells You He has Decided to Join the Military

The first thing that happens when your child tells you they have decided to serve the country is that your heart falls deep into the pit of your stomach, and you begin to think you are losing your hearing. This is probably a different kind of “feelings cocktail” than you have ever experienced before. This group of feelings is a mixture of fear, faith, pride, and shock.

You will ask many questions of your child and of the recruiter. You are not going to want to hear some of the answers that will be given to you. Chances are your child has already done plenty of research on the subject. Be sure to have a serious, open, and honest conversation with your child comparing all of their options.

Faith is going to be your most important means of survival. You will need faith in God, faith in the military, and faith in your child. It is impossible to be fully prepared for the life-changing event, and it is recommended that you get through it in sections of time. Don’t worry about anything beyond the three months of boot camp. Focus on the day-to-day goals, and be strong for your child.

What to Expect When They Leave With a Recruiter to Serve the Country

When the dreaded day comes, and the recruiter leaves with your child, once again, your heart falls into the pit of your stomach. At this point either fear sets in, or numbness. There may be some crying; well, there probably will be some crying. The mixture of feelings, if you are not numb, is tough to control. Fear, faith, and pride remain, and now add respect for your soon to be mature young man or woman for making a responsible decision. It’s always encouraged to feel, but use it to your advantage. Focus on the faith, pride, and respect. After all, there were many before your soon-to-be-adult and there will be many after.

After about two weeks you will find yourself looking for the mail carrier on a daily basis. The letters will eventually come, but it always feels like months in between. As Recruits, your family member will have almost no time to write letters, but they all make a huge effort to get some out. What’s really important is that you send letters. The Recruiter will have an address for you in a day or two if not before the day they depart. It can be hard to write a letter, and many people don’t know what to say. Letter writing seems to be a lost art these days. If you have difficulty, just talk to your family member as you did when they are home. Tell them about your day, ask them questions, any news regarding the family or pets, and always encourage them to be strong, pray, have faith, and know they are loved and supported from afar.

The most difficult part is not knowing the whole story. Calendars with a daily schedule are provided, and that is very helpful. Calendars are also available online. It is highly recommended that you reach out for support from friends, family, church, and support websites online.

The Run on Family Day


Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifices

Boot Camp Graduation, is it Cause for Celebration or Fear?

Seeing your son as a man for the first time is quite overwhelming! The day you have waited for is finally here. Once again, you cannot possibly be prepared for what he or she has become. The facial expressions and body language will be different than any you’ve seen before. The words they use, manners, and disposition will all be very new to you.

It is quite a thrill to see your former child as part of a team of brave patriots. One surprise you may get is that he or she will no longer have the same degree of communication with you. They have their own lives with their own experiences, some of which you cannot possibly begin to understand. You are now a smaller part of his or her life. Truthfully, whether you want to accept it or not, this is a normal process in life. This way is just a condensed version of the transition.

After Graduation and a 10 day leave, you will say goodbye again, and a new feeling of fear will emerge. Some questions you ask yourself and others will be similar to, “Where is he or she going? How much danger will they be in?“ Once again, you will learn how to deal with the unknown using all of your support resources.

Continuing Through the Tours of Duty

Dealing with the emotional roller coaster, will be exhausting to all of you. It is difficult as well as rewarding. Keep your faith strong and depend on your support system.

Not being able to communicate as often as you would like is a struggle, but thinking about being grateful for the ability to communicate as compared to wars of the past may be a more positive way to deal with that.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan


United States Marine Corps History

According to the United States Marine Corps (USMC), History Division, “On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that 'two Battalions of Marines be raised' for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps".

USMC has played a major role in every war America was involved in. In World War I, the 4th Marine Brigade earned the name “Devil Dogs” in 1918 because of their bravery on the battle fields of France.

“Semper Fidelis” is a Latin phrase adopted as the USMC motto. It means “Always Faithful”, and is often shortened to, “Semper Fi”.

“Chesty” is the name of the USMC Mascot, an English Bull Dog. Please see the link below for more information about “Chesty”, USMC history, and great photos.

Iwo Jima Memorial


Mom's Prayer for her Son

I Give To You, My Son-

I held him as an infant; I hugged him as a boy
and through the years he has become my greatest pride and joy.

I love him more than I can say, his life more precious than my own,
but gone are the whims and notions of the little boy that I had known.

For the years have passed so quickly since the time it all began
and now he stands before me with the conviction of a man.

He wants to serve his country, he states aloud with pride
as I try to sort out the emotions that I'm feeling deep inside.

A union of the uncertain fear, which I cannot control
and the allegiance which lies deep within my patriotic soul.

I trust that my years of guidance will serve as a strong foundation
as he performs the duties requested from his beloved nation.

God please guide him as he travels to the places our soldiers have bled
and walk with him through pathways where those heroes' feet have tread.

Oh Sweet Land of Liberty, humbly I give to you, my son, praying you'll return him safely home when his work for you is done.

---Author unknown--- *Source:

Basic Training Marine Corps Recruiting Depots

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Amanda on June 27, 2019:

Thank you for all the information you've shared. My son turns 18 on July 1 and is leaving for Parris Island on July 22. All of the sudden the realities and all of these emotions are going crazy in me while still trying to make the most of the time with him until then. The Mom's Prayer for Her Son has touched my soul and I will be carrying a copy of it around with me. As I do my research on support, I'm starting to believe that Marine parents are as much an elite and strong group as the Marines we have raised. Semper Fi and God Bless and Protect all of our babies serving this great country.

Lanae on June 17, 2019:

My son leaves for Marine Boot Camp today in San Diego. I go to his swearing in shortly. My tears are flowing. Please pray for him and all the others today. They must be so scared of the unknown. Please pray for me too. I need to focus on faith and not fear.

Lizzy on March 31, 2019:

My daughter just left to the Marine Boot Camp this morning and I'm an emotional wreck. I support her 110% but it's just so hard.

Steve on November 17, 2018:

What kind of damage will this do mentally

Mmargie1966 (author) from Gainesville, GA on May 08, 2018:

Everything you feel is normal. Its overwhelming to have so many contradictory feelings. I know you are proud, and happy he will receive training and experiences that will help him grow as a person. I know you are feeling freightened and helpless relinquishing all control and influence, knowing he will be in danger, at some point. If you are a person of faith, it helps tremendously. Either way, it will get better. It takes a while to sort through your conflicted feelings.

Thanks to you and your son for your sacrifices. Our nation needs and appreciates him.

Danny on April 27, 2018:

My son left last week for Marine boot camp and I haven't stopped crying for 7 days. When will this misery ease, I'm a 56 year old dad and my son is 24? He has talked about the Marines since high school and I'm 110% behind his decision. I'm so happy for his acceptance to the Corp, but so sad at the same time. Why?

Deb on January 29, 2018:

My son is leaving for boot camp in April USMC. I am worried about what his MOS will be. Very concerned about his safety.

Thank you! on January 26, 2018:

Thank you so much for this post. This helped me tremendously. My son will be enlisting fairly soon and I am experiencing a range of emotions and non-stop crying like never before. This helped. Thank you! I trust you and your son are doing well. - Joan

Beatrice on October 27, 2017:

My Daughter living I cannot believe what I'm going through right now I will miss my baby she just turned 18

Jeffr888 on July 01, 2017:

My son leaves July 17th. I am and have always been supportive of his dreams of becoming a Marine. He has warned this for many years. But now that he is about to leave I feel so lost, so devistated... He just turned 18 and I want my little boy that depended on me and mom back! I'm trying to be strong so his focus is what's in front of him but I find myself crying and feeling like my hunting buddy and the one that always comes to me for advice is going away and it just hurts and I feel so empty and know I can't protect him from anything. My wife is my rock and the Lord is my Rock in spite of me. My son has never seen me cry and he is no softy.. but how do you let go?????? It's only boot camp right???

tm9496 on February 10, 2014:

My son leaves in two weeks. My father was in the Army and so was my sons fathers dad. I know when he leaves I am going to cry a lot. So many emotions right now. I am proud of him and happy he is doing something he has wanted to do for so long now. In the same breath It hurts to know he is leaving.

Mmargie1966 (author) from Gainesville, GA on May 31, 2012:

Why, thanks again, teaches. I'm happy to hear that you will share this with your friend. I hope it eases her anxiety. It is, by far, the most difficult thing I've been through because of the totally helpless feeling you experience. Our natural instincts are to protect our young...even when they grow up.

As always, I appreciate your comment!

Dianna Mendez on May 31, 2012:

This is such a great hub topic and well covered. My dear friend has a son who is entering this July and I am going to share this with her. Thanks for posting. Blessings.

The Frog Prince from Arlington, TX on May 30, 2012:

Margie - In a word Margie? Nice! Very nicely done.

The Frog

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on May 29, 2012:

It must be a very complicated mix of emotions - both pride at what they are doing and terror because of what might happen to them.

Mmargie1966 (author) from Gainesville, GA on May 29, 2012:

Wow! The wound is extremely fresh, ananceleste. It does get better with time. Mine just got out. I probably wouldn't be comfortable writing this hub if he was still in.

God Bless your brother and other family members! Semper Fi

Anan Celeste from California on May 29, 2012:

Beautiful,my baby brother left yesterday. I have had my stomach in knots for a year because of this. We come from a long line of service.There isn't one branch of our family tree that hasn't serve in the military,five generations and counting.

I should be proud, I just saw his picture yesterday in facebook in full military regalia, and cried. Letting go is nerve wrecking. Maybe I am just scared. Loved your article. Voted up. Thank you. I am sharing this with my family, my mom is still an emotional wreck. We all know what is like to have a loved one involved in conflict,my 15 year old son can't wait to join his uncle.