Friday, January 3, 2014

Corporal Austin Eubanks, USMC

Today was Austin’s last day of active duty in the Marines.  When he leaves the Indian Head, MD post on Saturday, it’ll be for the last time.

Parris Island or bust!
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four years since he left for Parris Island, SC, for basic training.  (He’s getting out a few weeks before the fourth anniversary due to unused leave.)  He had been talking about going into the Marines for a few years, but something always seemed to get in the way.  He had had a rough few years in high school and for a year or so afterward, but he finally got his act together and fulfilled all the necessary requirements to get in.

Even then he had a ship-out date postponed because of a blizzard.  So when if finally happened, it was hard to believe.  When he got on the bus and pulled out, Pam and his girlfriend at the time, Ariella, were in tears, but I was excited for him.  I couldn’t believe that it was finally happening.

The next three months were filled with prayers, excitement, and anxiety.  Each day that passed without a call telling us he was coming home meant that he was making it.  No news was good news.  We had a schedule that roughly told us what he was doing each day, but it was mostly “radio silence.” 

There was a certain point about 2/3 of the way in when we knew that he was going to make it.  Even with The Crucible (a 54-hour test of endurance, a physically and emotionally challenging event in which, under conditions of sleep and food deprivation, recruits must work as a team to overcome various obstacles) facing him at the end, we knew he was toughing it out.  When the time came for the Crucible to be over, we knew he had done it.  He was no longer a recruit—he was a Marine.

Teary mother and sister reunion
The couple of days we were in Parris Island for his May graduation were among the best days of our lives.  When we saw him for the first time since February, it was as if we were seeing him for the first time.  You could tell he was our son, yet he was different.  All of us, Angela included, were very proud of him and very excited for him.
Still are. 

I didn't say he was fully matured.
These four years have matured him and given him a focus.  He and Angela are good friends—is there anything that can make parents any happier?—and we all enjoy hanging out with each other.

And so Austin steps into the next phase of his life.  In a few weeks he will be a full-time student at Frederick Community College, living in Frederick with Rich Cook.  He’s in a great relationship with a sweet girl, Allie Stone, who grew up across the street.

It’s been a great ride, and things look promising.  We are told that there is no such thing as a former Marine.  You are a Marine for life.Way to go, Son.  We are very proud of you.


  1. I just read your blog for have a great family --we are happy for you and Pam....I had heard bits and pieces of those four years, but so nice to read it from a Daddy's view. Blessings on you all from Phyllis and Gene
    Blessings to all. Gene and Phyllis

    1. Thanks Gene and Phyllis. We appreciate your prayerful support these last few years.