This weekend, I had the honor of flying to Norfolk, VA with my in-laws, Al & Jacky Stearns. The purpose of the visit was to witness the promotion of of Benjamin Tupaj from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant.
Rondi and I were well aware of how much time and effort Ben has put into studying, working and training over the past number of years. Heck, he had to spend most of his summer in Oklahoma and California, away from his family and without any visits. But it wasn’t until Monday morning at the ceremony when the proclamation was being read by Sergeant Major Warren and the extensive remarks by Colonel Frey that we realized just how much he had accomplished.
When Ben was notified of his promotion, he requested that his grandfather, Albert, participate in the pinning ceremony. Albert was a Corporal in the Marine Corps and served from January 1954 to January 1956. Gunnery Sergeant Jarolskawki also participated in the pinning of his new rank. The ceremony was held at the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic on the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia.
Over the weekend, we met a number of Marines and their families. It is clear that the spouses and Moms at home are as strong as their husbands and provide a valuable, but often overlooked, service to the soldiers. And no greater example of that is with our daughter-in-law, Cassandra, who with our two young grandchildren somehow manages to keep the house in order and always with a smile!
Ben has been transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Rondi has stayed behind for a few extra days to assist with the move south.
Much is written about our country’s younger generation and the lack of discipline and respect for authority. I must say, the men and women that I met this week reinforces my belief that this country has a solid foundation going forward.