Right after Graduation from Marine Corp Boot Camp, Parris Island, SC - Sept 2003. Our new Marine with me on his left side along with Granny (my mom!) and his dad on his right side, his step-dad and step-grandparents and Grandpa (my dad!) behind him!
Surrounded by his siblings and cousins! Sister Jessica hanging onto his left side with Josh next to her, Amber and cousins, Rachel, Colby and Jonathan on his right!
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I think of it so often . . . . . especially today as we honor our Veterans . . . . . the many months Jaime served our country as he was deployed to Iraq for 2 tours, in Fallujah (2004-2005) and then Ramadi (2006).
James Kristopher Walker graduated High School in May 2003 at 17 years old and, having never been away from us for anything more than church camp one week one summer, he left for Marine Corp Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina in June. That was ONE of the toughest days that were to come over the following four years.
Jaime spent his 18th birthday sitting quietly cross-legged on the cement and watched some fireworks at Parris Island. You see, his birthday is the 4th of July! No birthday cake or presents or hugs & kisses from us that love him so much. It was not much of a celebration at home either since we missed him terribly. BUT at the same time we were so very proud of him!
Jaime signed up in the Delayed Entry Program during his Senior Year in High School. As his mom, I was filled with two HUGE emotions – first, tremendous pride that my son was choosing to join the Marines, especially with the knowledge that he would most likely receive orders to deploy to Iraq soon after being stationed. Secondly, I felt an over-whelming sadness that my precious first born child would be gone for a long time, too long, and would be in definite harm’s way.
Jaime excelled in all that Boot Camp/Basic Warrior Training threw at him. Though he had entered a completely different world and endured more than a lot of us ever go through, Jaime truly became a man, a strong man of integrity, honor, virtue and faith. He was an awesome young man when he left home for boot camp, but had a whole new sense of who he truly was and all he could be.
I cherish every single letter Jaime wrote home to me, while in Basic Training as well as the few I was blessed to receive while he was in Iraq. I would pour over them for hours and cried many, many tears. His words were so precious to me and I watched him mature and his faith in God grow through each page of his letters. I so loved reading the words that expressed to me how much he prayed and how he knew that God was watching over him and taking care of him and his platoon. I hold those letters very dear to my heart.
It was in between tours to Iraq, while stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC, that Jaime met and married his Marine best buddy’s wife’s best friend, Alison!! Allie is from Tennessee and was there visiting. They met and married 3 weeks later!! I know, I know, I about had a heart attack too!! But they are still married today, and have a precious son, my grandson, Kameron, who will be 3 yrs old in December this year!
Jaime and Allie decided to come home after his 4 years in the Marine Corp, though it was a tough decision. They had made a comfortable home in NC and had many friends, so many of them with whom they share tight bonds that will never be broken. So they came back to Clarke County, Mississippi, bought a house and started their family. I’m so proud of them.
And I’m so very proud of and thankful for Jaime’s service to our country. Though there were many horrific things he endured and saw during the War and many challenges he faced while in Basic Training, Jaime is so proud to have become a United States Marine and will never forget his time in service.
Thank you God for bringing our son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and friend home safely.
Thank you Jaime for the courage, bravery and the strength you possess and for all that you mean to me and your whole family and circle of friends! We love you dearly!!
Just a few minutes after he stepped off the bus that brought them to their last stop on their return from his first tour in Iraq. He was an awesome sight to see!
On his return home from his second tour, Jaime had a wife waiting to welcome him!! Plus the rest of us were excited to be there to welcome him home and spend a few days with him at their home in NC.
Can you tell I'm a proud and thankful Marine mom!