For those of you close to me in my life, you know that a few weeks ago we were lucky enough to watch my brother graduate from boot camp in South Carolina!  

This experience was a very emotional experience for everyone, and I am so happy I got to witness it for myself.

I tried my best to document the week so those who could not attend can get a glimpse at what it was like. This blog post will consist mostly of pictures, but if you have any questions about the experience just comment below and I will be happy to answer them! 

Below you can find Tommy leading the pack during the morning run! He is the third from the left and I was pretty excited when he looked right at me and found his photographer sister lol. 

Once they finished their run, they had to go back to their barracks and get ready for family day!

A couple of hours later, the families gathered in this building with anticipation and the energy could be felt throughout the entire building. Three months going without their sons, brothers, nephews, and friends. Everyone in the room could not wait to hug their new Marines, our family included. These new marines would be dismissed and the chaos of trying to find the marine who belonged to you was about to begin.

We were able to hug our Marines and love them as much as possible while inside this building, but as soon as we left this building we were not allowed to show any displays of affection.  

 

 

Three months of almost zero communication, you could literally FEEL the anticipation in the room. These Marines missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years with their families to follow their dreams and serve their country. 

 

The pride of a father

We FINALLY found him! 

 

Tommy was exhausted, but I don't think any of us had ever been prouder and happy to see him as we were in that moment. 

Once outside the building, we could no longer attack him with hugs. We did however, spend as much time with him as we could and fight over him for the remainder of Family Day.

We had him for about five hours, and I don't think I have ever seen him eat so much food... lol He took us all around the base and showed us where he slept, what he went through, and told us all about his time there on Parris Island. 

He had to go back in the afternoon for his graduation practice, taking place the next day. We didn't want to give him up again, but we knew after his ceremony we would get to bring him home! So that made it a little easier to let him go.

Graduation 

 

Yes, I know they all look the same... You can see Tommy right there in the third row closest to crowd! 

Final march before being released as U.S. Marines 

Congratulations to all these wonderful men for completing boot camp and becoming United States Marines! 

After three months, Thomas William McLaughlin is now one of the few and the proud. Let the journey begin.

Tommy on our way home to Tampa, Fl. 

Thank you for stopping by the blog, I hope you enjoyed these photos from Parris Island, and have been able to see what the experience was like! Tommy is now in North Carolina at Infantry school, learning how to be the best soldier he can be. 

Once his schooling is over, he will be stationed on a Marine base. We do not know where at this time, but we will let everyone know on Facebook when that time comes. We still miss him every day, but we are so incredibly proud of him and that makes missing him just a bit easier.

We love you so much Peanut!!! 

- Sam 

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