Friday, June 18, 2010

A Military Family No Longer...

Last week, my honey retired from the United States Navy after 21 years of faithful service. He did 16 years of sea duty, 11 of them overseas, that included countless ship deployments, 2 tours to Iraq, and tons of little trips to places that I don't even know about. I can't imagine that there are too many places that he hasn't been to. He has most definitely been gone more than he's been home.

It was a tough decision for him, it's all he's known since he enlisted at 17. He debated and prayed about the pros and cons for over a year but finally he came to his decision.

In his words, "After making two deployments to Iraq, missing the birth of Kayleigh, and hearing my Mackenzie crying on the phone begging me not to reenlist again, I knew that my time was up."

Kayleigh talking to daddy for the first time

Mackenzie begging daddy not to go back on the day he left for his second Iraq tour

I imagine that you can only endure so many scenes like those above before you have to say enough, even for job security.
So on Friday, June 11th. Kevin said good bye to his military life. It was bitter-sweet. Here's some of the highlights.

Arrival of the official party

The CO, command masterchief and my honey. Notice the lack of ribbons on his uniform. He said that since everyone else would be wearing all of theirs, he was going to do the opposite. That is so Kevin. (In case you were wondering where Kayleigh gets her spunk from. LOL)

A toast with CMC after the CMC's speech. Yep, the man brought Bud Lite to the ceremony and they drank it. LOL

Awards from the CO

Receiving his shadow box from the Chief's mess

Next came the flag ceremony. That was AWESOME. If you haven't seen one you should. It is a very moving and humbling experience. Wow!

Now's where it got really good. He took that flag, walked to his mother and said...

"I've always wanted you to have one of these but only if it came from me."
Can you say hysterical sobbing? Oh yeah! His mom and step-dad totally lost it. (Okay we all did but they were the best.)

Of course Kevin had to give his speech after that. Time to compose yourself

Here's Kevin requesting permission to go "ashore" for the very last time

Look how happy Mackenzie is.
Here's a couple of shots of my adorable girls.

The best for last...I met my new BFF at the reception afterwards.

How many people can say that Rudy from Survivor came to their retirement party? I'm pretty sure it's because he was so excited to meet his new BFF, me, and not coincidence because the reception was being held at the chief's club. =o)
So basically our last two weeks of wrap-ups and tot school were a unit on civics and family. Next week we home to finish regular school and continue on with tot fun.


KGB That's Me said...

Okay, you made me get all teary-eyed! Gee, thanks. :) Congrats on your new family status. I'm sure it's a relief not to worry about that line-of-duty stuff. I can only imagine how MacKenzie must have worried. Sad kids = sad me! I love how relieved she looks there at the end. Way cool! Give her a hug from me.

AFwife99 said...

Congratulations to your Hubby on a career well done! What a great celebration, reflecting honor and pride and commitment.

Bev said...

Just want to say "THANK YOU!" for your husband's service for our country!

ChristinaB said...

Congratulations to all of you!!! Thank you to your hubby for his honorable service and to you and your kids for yours!

joelle said...

Congratulations to all of you for a life of sacrifice. You gave me tears to my eyes as I read your post. I hope you all get to enjoy each other more.

Samvach said...

Congratulations to your husband on a life of service, sacrifice, and bravery for our country. God's blessings to you as you embark on this new chapter of your life together.


Jennifer said...

great pictures! Congratulations on his retirement! I bet you're all looking forward to the next chapter in life.

Jolene (South Africa) said...

Congratulations to your hubby his retirement!

I went into the "ugly cry" when I read what he said to his mother. What a blessing that he is home safe and sound for good.

K-tribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K-tribe said...

Oops! I had some spelling errors! :)
I will try again!
Ok I want to say so many things! BUT most of ALL
Tell your daughter THANK YOU!! I hope they know how much it means to all of us even if people don't get it!
Your husband has put his life on the line and we are so very thankful for that!
I am sure it will be an adjustment, but well worth it!


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