With a slew of setbacks, I had to change my final project idea, and ventured in the direction of a young man leaving his wife and 10 month old son for the NAVY. Having almost joined this past June, I want to continue follow this story when he leaves for boot camp and comes home on leave----
Leaving Life for the Navy”
“You can’t really be patriotic until you’ve done something for your country,” Carl Copenhaver, 23 of Ludington says, about why he has decided to join the military even with the current war. Copenhaver says that plenty of people say that they support the U.S a hundred percent, but he feels that actions speak louder than words. Married just last year to his soul mate, Jackie, with whom he has a ten-month-old son, Copenhaver decided to sign a six-year contract with the NAVY and will leave for boot camp this October.
Fueled by the drive to be patriotic and gain a new experience in life, Copenhaver acknowledges that financial security for his family is also a deciding factor with the way the economy and job marketing have been. He takes comfort in the fact that the U.S government isn’t just going to lay off their personnel after they sign a contract with them. Having worked an assortment of various jobs, and having been laid-off since winter, Copenhaver is looking for something he can rely on, and to have a job that he can have fun at and enjoy doing.
Support of his decision to join was slow to come from some, but for the most part, Copenhaver’s family and friends are behind him every step. Two of his best friends are currently in the Marines, his father and mother were both in the NAVY, and his stepfather was in the Army. Jackie, realizing that joining was something that her husband was serious about and wanted to do, has put her effort and love into being there for him and helping him prepare. “Everybody was just kind of like, whatever you need, just let us know,” Copenhaver says.
Having scored unusually high, with a 95, on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), Copenhaver has a good chance of getting into the program for which he signed up for. Without any studying, or preparation, he scored a 92 on the pre-ASVAB given to him by his recruiter, and is now focusing on the physical requirements to enable him to successfully make it through boot camp, and pass the PST (physical strength test) for NAVY diver. “It’s a lot of them breaking you down. That’s all boot camp is. When they say jump, you say how high. Any hesitation can cost people’s lives.”
Every day Copenhaver works out at the gym in his apartment complex, or outdoors. To pass the PST for diver he must be able to swim 500 yards non-stop, do 50 sit-ups, 42 pushups, 6 pull-ups, and then run 1.5 miles, all within a timed period. To make it more fun and spend as much time with friends before he leaves, he just tries to play basketball, go disc golfing, and rollerblade whenever he can.
“The hardest part for me is going to be him not being able to see Brendan grow up everyday. Everyday he does a new noise, or moves more, just advancing everyday,” Jackie says. “I am nervous. Part of me just selfishly doesn’t want him to get into the dive program just so he’ll get home sooner.” For Jackie, as well as her husband, it is a mix of emotions. She is proud and supportive of him, but knows its going to hard to watch him go and to worry about the possibility of him going overseas with the war going on. To not be totally alone and to save money to use to enjoy little things together before he leaves, Copenhaver, Jackie, and their son have decided to move in with Jackie’s parents.
“Whenever I’m away…it’s going to be nothing. I’m going to have nothing. All the comforts I’m use to and have, I won’t,” Copenhaver says. He feels the burden and worry of going away for so long, and knows he will miss his wife, son, and friends, but he feels the NAVY will be a good change and will benefit his life and his family’s.