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My son deployed to the middle east... ** Update - We have boots in the house! **


top dog

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Thank you and I thank your son for his service.  From the bottom of my heart, I never take for granted our brave men and women serving at home and abroad in addition to our first responders.  I put them all in the same category, which is people I admire and hold a great deal of respect for. 

Godspeed and fwiw, I appreciate the post if only because it puts things in perspective and puts all those brave souls in the front of my heart and mind where they belong.

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Thank you for sharing and thank your son for his service.  It's great that his wife and kids have you close by for support.  I know first hand how difficult it is for a young wife with kids to cope when their dad isn't in the house for an extended time.  We always lived several states away when I deployed and my kids were young.  My wife served in her own way every bit as much as I did in my service career.  

Wish you guys all the best. 

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The hardest part of this has been the "goodbye tour".  We've known since about February.  Had a send off for him in June because he was going to be in officer training for a month, specialized training for another 2 months... He has been home a handful of days since then.  We've been to family day at the local base... the official Call to Duty ceremony with the governor and various congress people speaking.  Each time it has been this emotional thing where everyone basically says good bye, then he comes home again.  Complete roller coaster.  He will be heading off to another base for 60 days before he heads over.  Oh, and of course there is a 3 day pass window where you could go there and see him and say goodbye again.  I'm sure mom will want to do that.  

My daughter-in-law is a fantastic mom and one of the strongest young women I have ever seen but every time he comes home it makes her excited, but of course just puts her and the kids life in turmoil each time.  I need him to just go so he can get back.  

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14 minutes ago, top dog said:

The hardest part of this has been the "goodbye tour".  We've known since about February.  Had a send off for him in June because he was going to be in officer training for a month, specialized training for another 2 months... He has been home a handful of days since then.  We've been to family day at the local base... the official Call to Duty ceremony with the governor and various congress people speaking.  Each time it has been this emotional thing where everyone basically says good bye, then he comes home again.  Complete roller coaster.  He will be heading off to another base for 60 days before he heads over.  Oh, and of course there is a 3 day pass window where you could go there and see him and say goodbye again.  I'm sure mom will want to do that.  

My daughter-in-law is a fantastic mom and one of the strongest young women I have ever seen but every time he comes home it makes her excited, but of course just puts her and the kids life in turmoil each time.  I need him to just go so he can get back.  

Let's keep this pattern going!

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1 hour ago, Megatron said:

Good luck to your son and to your family. Clearly, you did something right. Please thank him for his service.

I have to give my wife more of the credit here.  She is one of the strongest people I've ever met as well.  Where I am analytical in life and more of a politician when it comes to relationships she is built on self-pride, fire and loyalty.  We make a pretty good combined couple I guess.  He got a lot of her traits. He's always been one to strive for something.  Wrestled his whole life through high school and a little in college.  Came to me one day and said, "I don't think I want to wrestle anymore."  I told him it was up to him and at this point what did he have to prove?  He was never a stud when he was young.  Never made it to state, but managed to land on a division I college team none the less.  After wrestling he decided he wanted to do some MMA.  Ok... Mom was not happy about the idea, but I told her why not?  He wasn't ever going to take it to a level of a career and  it gave him something to do after wrestling.  Did that for a minute.... Then said to me "I want to join the National Guard."  He wanted to join the marines at some point around graduation, but he was in a long term relationship with who would be his wife down the road.  The guard gave him the military he wanted and the ability to go to school and be with her.  Next thing he decided was "I want to work in the family construction business".  They money is very good there and I knew once he did that he wasn't going to finish college.  I think the only reason he went at all was because that was "what he was supposed to do."  Next thing I know he's getting married, buying the house next door when our elderly neighbor passed away..  then a grandson... Then a granddaughter on the way...  Through all the different dreams he chased the only things that stayed constant were his love for his wife and the military.  He re-enlisted once he found out he was being deployed.  So obviously that wasn't a deterrent.

Through all the turmoil that this year has been some of the best moments I could witness have happened before my eyes.  Him and his brother I spoke about in the original post, and many awesome conversations. My future son in law (daughter's fiance) served a tour in Afghanistan.  On the night of the send off the future son in law was also in his feelings reliving some of what he went through.  It was not easy for him either as he was in the front lines.  He told my son it killed him not to be able to go with him and not to be by his side.  That he would be there for him when he gets back and they could get right together.  My son and I had a conversation that night outside by the fire.  After a few drinks... He made a joke about his sister being the favorite, she was blood after all.  He is actually my step son, but I've raised him since he was 1.  I immediately stopped and said to him, "Whoa.  That's not funny.  You know I love the hell out of you and I've always considered you mine."  He told me he knew that and appreciated it more than I could know.  That his dad walked out on him twice in his life but I was always there.  Always the one taking him to the middle of nowhere for a wrestling match.  He reminded me how we would always get lost because I didn't have a GPS then.  He told me that even though his biological dad was a "piece of ####" he thanked me for being there. ALWAYS... even though I didn't have to be.  I don't know if a lot of these conversations happen if not faced with the uncertainty of the next year, but while a lot of tears have flowed most things that SHOULD have been said that sometimes don't find a way to GET said, have been said.  

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3 hours ago, top dog said:

I have to give my wife more of the credit here.  She is one of the strongest people I've ever met as well.  Where I am analytical in life and more of a politician when it comes to relationships she is built on self-pride, fire and loyalty.  We make a pretty good combined couple I guess.  He got a lot of her traits. He's always been one to strive for something.  Wrestled his whole life through high school and a little in college.  Came to me one day and said, "I don't think I want to wrestle anymore."  I told him it was up to him and at this point what did he have to prove?  He was never a stud when he was young.  Never made it to state, but managed to land on a division I college team none the less.  After wrestling he decided he wanted to do some MMA.  Ok... Mom was not happy about the idea, but I told her why not?  He wasn't ever going to take it to a level of a career and  it gave him something to do after wrestling.  Did that for a minute.... Then said to me "I want to join the National Guard."  He wanted to join the marines at some point around graduation, but he was in a long term relationship with who would be his wife down the road.  The guard gave him the military he wanted and the ability to go to school and be with her.  Next thing he decided was "I want to work in the family construction business".  They money is very good there and I knew once he did that he wasn't going to finish college.  I think the only reason he went at all was because that was "what he was supposed to do."  Next thing I know he's getting married, buying the house next door when our elderly neighbor passed away..  then a grandson... Then a granddaughter on the way...  Through all the different dreams he chased the only things that stayed constant were his love for his wife and the military.  He re-enlisted once he found out he was being deployed.  So obviously that wasn't a deterrent.

Through all the turmoil that this year has been some of the best moments I could witness have happened before my eyes.  Him and his brother I spoke about in the original post, and many awesome conversations. My future son in law (daughter's fiance) served a tour in Afghanistan.  On the night of the send off the future son in law was also in his feelings reliving some of what he went through.  It was not easy for him either as he was in the front lines.  He told my son it killed him not to be able to go with him and not to be by his side.  That he would be there for him when he gets back and they could get right together.  My son and I had a conversation that night outside by the fire.  After a few drinks... He made a joke about his sister being the favorite, she was blood after all.  He is actually my step son, but I've raised him since he was 1.  I immediately stopped and said to him, "Whoa.  That's not funny.  You know I love the hell out of you and I've always considered you mine."  He told me he knew that and appreciated it more than I could know.  That his dad walked out on him twice in his life but I was always there.  Always the one taking him to the middle of nowhere for a wrestling match.  He reminded me how we would always get lost because I didn't have a GPS then.  He told me that even though his biological dad was a "piece of ####" he thanked me for being there. ALWAYS... even though I didn't have to be.  I don't know if a lot of these conversations happen if not faced with the uncertainty of the next year, but while a lot of tears have flowed most things that SHOULD have been said that sometimes don't find a way to GET said, have been said.  

You are a good man with a good family. Nice to see the love in this post.

Thanks man, to you, your wife, and to him. 

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Tomorrow he officially ships off.  Tonight We had a nice family dinner with the extended family.  When we got home, I got to say my good byes.  I took over what was left of my 12 year Whistle Pig rye.  He always would threaten to drink it mixed in coke, but tonight I made him drink it like a man.  We sat on his back porch and talked about what is ahead of him and what he is leaving behind.  He shared that he is going somewhere more dangerous than the "official" story of where they are being deployed.  He is obviously worried and is sad about what he is going to miss with the kids.  He knows we will do a great job of lifting his family up, but still sad about the events he will miss over the next year.  I asked him if he was so worried about that, why did he re-enlist?  He told me that he had no choice.  He has "family" that is going there and if he wasn't there to have their backs, well... he couldn't live with himself.  I told him I could respect that.  I told him I loved him and thanked him for doing what the rest of us can't, or aren't willing to do. 

The next year is going to be tough.  My wife and I are going to have to put our lives on hold a little so we can make sure that his family is taken care of.  We plan to take both kids at least once a month so mom can have some time away from them.  We will push her to hang out with the other wives from the unit she has made friends with.  Sure, his safety is a concern for everyone, but life goes on here and it is our job to make sure that we do what we can to keep things as "normal" as possible for them.  

I told my wife that after today, no more tears.  It is our job to be a pillar of strength for the family that is left behind. To try and keep them happy and safe for the next year.  My wife made a "flat daddy" which is a large photo of my son in his uniform that is on a cutout that his son can drag around with him in place of daddy.  It's obviously not the same, but the grandson thinks it is pretty cool.

Thanks for the showing of support in this thread.  It means a lot.  I've been hanging out here since I was my sons age.  We may argue about ritz crackers and diets,  but this place has been a pretty cool place to share things over the years. :thumbup:

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Is this his first time deploying or first time going to the ME? I've spent several years out in that area, so I can relate to the struggle.  It puts an entire family though a lot and in some ways his trip might be the easiest on everyone involved.  Just trust that he will be surrounded by good people and will come back home a more well-rounded individual.  In my case, I had a much better appreciation for the things I had previously taken for granted.  

I'm headed that way myself in Nov. 

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6 hours ago, Max Power said:

Is this his first time deploying or first time going to the ME? I've spent several years out in that area, so I can relate to the struggle.  It puts an entire family though a lot and in some ways his trip might be the easiest on everyone involved.  Just trust that he will be surrounded by good people and will come back home a more well-rounded individual.  In my case, I had a much better appreciation for the things I had previously taken for granted.  

I'm headed that way myself in Nov. 

It is his first deployment. I do trust that he will be fine. Like i said, I'm an analyst so I'm a numbers guy. The odds are very good that he will be fine. The hardest part of the next year will not be worrying about him but making sure that his wife stays sane with a 2 year old and a newborn.  In many ways her tasks in front of her for the next year are much harder. 

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Question for the car guys on this board... my son has a F250 diesel truck. I figured I would take it to work once a month or so while he is gone to make sure the battery doesn't die and it runs once in a while. Is that enough or should I do that every 2 weeks or something? I know it cant sit until he gets back and I don't know much about diesels...

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I'm not a big car/truck guy, but I would take it every couple of weeks.  I don't think it's good for a vehicle to sit for a month.  Depends on your climate I guess.

My Jeep sits in the garage most of the time, but I still take it out every-so-often even if it's just to get the fluids flowing and keep the battery in shape.  

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27 minutes ago, WDIK2 said:

I'm not a big car/truck guy, but I would take it every couple of weeks.  I don't think it's good for a vehicle to sit for a month.  Depends on your climate I guess.

My Jeep sits in the garage most of the time, but I still take it out every-so-often even if it's just to get the fluids flowing and keep the battery in shape.  

I think once a month is fine, especially if you'll drive it.  I have a 1979 International Scout that sits in my garage all winter in the Northeast.  I start it maybe once a month (not drive it, just start and run it for a few).  It's fine come spring. 

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  • 1 month later...

This past week was tough.  My wife and I had the grandkids for 6 days.  Holy crap did that remind me how old I'm getting.  Navigating a 2 month old and a 2 year old is draining.  Especially when the 2 month old doesn't sleep through the night  yet.  Plus my wife came down with something half way through the week.  It did provide some awesome moments though.  One of the nights as I was sitting up at 3 am feeding my granddaughter I had a flashback in my mind to a similar moment with my daughter 26 years ago.  Life comes at you fast and sometimes you don't get many opportunities to slow down and enjoy the moment.  At that moment it was just me and these little blue eyes staring at me and her little hands holding onto my fingers.  I never wanted it to end.

My daughter in law has been pretty stressed recently as can be imagined.  With the emotional roller coaster of having a newborn, chasing a 2 year old around and trying to run a household by herself we noticed she was become more short with her patience with the boy.  He is a handful and as every other 2 year old, tries to find ways to kill himself pretty much every moment you take your eyes off him.  My wife had a talk with the daughter in law and reminded her that we are here for her and to please, please don't hesitate to ask for help.  She is a proud woman and doesn't want to take advantage of us.  We have to remind her from time to time that she is not in this alone.

My sons orders have changed a few times since he arrived on a base in the US before he shipped off.  Drove my wife crazy as the rules and time frames for sending packages kept changing.  At one point they said that it would take 2 months for anything to make it to him from US.  Now I think it is down to a month.  She wants to make sure that he gets packages intended for Christmas you know, before Christmas.  My wife is amazing through all this.  She really is.  She breaks down to me every now and then, but otherwise she shows an iron wall of strength for the daughter in law. She made a "deployment" wall downstairs in the family room.  It has a couple clocks on the wall one with "our time" and one with "His time".  Pictures of him and his unit.  A map with pins on it showing where we are, where he is.. She put together a couple large glass containers there.  One is full of army guys.  The other was empty.  Our grandson goes down there every day to "move a daddy".  When the one is empty, he has come home.

I take care of his dogs... the lawn... his truck... Pretty much everything he can't.  It takes a couple hours each week to mow our yard and our yard.  I guess it's good exercise.  The kids are over every day for dinner.  Momma and them come over after work and stay until it is time for the little one's bed time.  It's draining.  And we are just getting started.  I was at the store with my grandson buying some things for "daddy".  When we were walking out to the car together he looked at me and said "Paw-paw?  When dadda coming home?" It was hard to hold back the tears for the little guy.   Hopefully he will be home in time for Thanksgiving next year.  

When I walked through his house today to let his dogs out I paused at the big wall decal they have on the wall.  It reads:

IN THIS HOUSE WE DO DOG TAGS

WE DO REAL

WE DO LAST MINUTE

WE DO DEPLOYMENTS

WE DO CARE PACKAGES

WE DO MISSED OCCASIONS

WE DO PATRIOTIC

WE DO HARD TIMES

WE DO SLEEPING BY THE PHONE

WE DO HURRY UP & WAIT

WE DO LOVE

WE DO ARMY STRONG

As I read through the this a tear rolled down my cheek and I was glad that I was alone.  

Thanks for letting me share here.  I've never been good at sharing my feelings and emotions in real life.. 

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7 minutes ago, top dog said:

This past week was tough.  My wife and I had the grandkids for 6 days.  Holy crap did that remind me how old I'm getting.  Navigating a 2 month old and a 2 year old is draining.  Especially when the 2 month old doesn't sleep through the night  yet.  Plus my wife came down with something half way through the week.  It did provide some awesome moments though.  One of the nights as I was sitting up at 3 am feeding my granddaughter I had a flashback in my mind to a similar moment with my daughter 26 years ago.  Life comes at you fast and sometimes you don't get many opportunities to slow down and enjoy the moment.  At that moment it was just me and these little blue eyes staring at me and her little hands holding onto my fingers.  I never wanted it to end.

My daughter in law has been pretty stressed recently as can be imagined.  With the emotional roller coaster of having a newborn, chasing a 2 year old around and trying to run a household by herself we noticed she was become more short with her patience with the boy.  He is a handful and as every other 2 year old, tries to find ways to kill himself pretty much every moment you take your eyes off him.  My wife had a talk with the daughter in law and reminded her that we are here for her and to please, please don't hesitate to ask for help.  She is a proud woman and doesn't want to take advantage of us.  We have to remind her from time to time that she is not in this alone.

My sons orders have changed a few times since he arrived on a base in the US before he shipped off.  Drove my wife crazy as the rules and time frames for sending packages kept changing.  At one point they said that it would take 2 months for anything to make it to him from US.  Now I think it is down to a month.  She wants to make sure that he gets packages intended for Christmas you know, before Christmas.  My wife is amazing through all this.  She really is.  She breaks down to me every now and then, but otherwise she shows an iron wall of strength for the daughter in law. She made a "deployment" wall downstairs in the family room.  It has a couple clocks on the wall one with "our time" and one with "His time".  Pictures of him and his unit.  A map with pins on it showing where we are, where he is.. She put together a couple large glass containers there.  One is full of army guys.  The other was empty.  Our grandson goes down there every day to "move a daddy".  When the one is empty, he has come home.

I take care of his dogs... the lawn... his truck... Pretty much everything he can't.  It takes a couple hours each week to mow our yard and our yard.  I guess it's good exercise.  The kids are over every day for dinner.  Momma and them come over after work and stay until it is time for the little one's bed time.  It's draining.  And we are just getting started.  I was at the store with my grandson buying some things for "daddy".  When we were walking out to the car together he looked at me and said "Paw-paw?  When dadda coming home?" It was hard to hold back the tears for the little guy.   Hopefully he will be home in time for Thanksgiving next year.  

When I walked through his house today to let his dogs out I paused at the big wall decal they have on the wall.  It reads:

IN THIS HOUSE WE DO DOG TAGS

WE DO REAL

WE DO LAST MINUTE

WE DO DEPLOYMENTS

WE DO CARE PACKAGES

WE DO MISSED OCCASIONS

WE DO PATRIOTIC

WE DO HARD TIMES

WE DO SLEEPING BY THE PHONE

WE DO HURRY UP & WAIT

WE DO LOVE

WE DO ARMY STRONG

As I read through the this a tear rolled down my cheek and I was glad that I was alone.  

Thanks for letting me share here.  I've never been good at sharing my feelings and emotions in real life.. 

Your wife sounds awesome, what a creative way to help the grandkids understand what's going on.  Kudos to your entire family for coming together and helping each other out.  Loved reading the wall decal, I teared up a bit myself thinking of my younger step-brother who is currently deployed.  Well wishes and prayers to your son and your family from mine, hang in there! 

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I nor anyone in my immediate family have ever been involved in this type of situation and I almost damn near shed a tear thinking about how grateful we should be for people like your son and his family who have to sacrifice so much due to the responsibility that he has taken on. Thanks for sharing.

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22 minutes ago, wlwiles said:

Your wife sounds awesome, what a creative way to help the grandkids understand what's going on.  Kudos to your entire family for coming together and helping each other out.  Loved reading the wall decal, I teared up a bit myself thinking of my younger step-brother who is currently deployed.  Well wishes and prayers to your son and your family from mine, hang in there! 

She is amazing. Fierce, committed and loyal to death. Would have made a great soldier actually.. I can't even begin to count the number of times throughout the years she has been the rock that held everyone together through rough times. I don't know what she ever saw in me, but I'm glad we found each other.

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26 minutes ago, wlwiles said:

Your wife sounds awesome, what a creative way to help the grandkids understand what's going on.  Kudos to your entire family for coming together and helping each other out.  Loved reading the wall decal, I teared up a bit myself thinking of my younger step-brother who is currently deployed.  Well wishes and prayers to your son and your family from mine, hang in there! 

Thanks for your brother's service. And yours for that matter. The families end up serving in their own way as well. :hifive:

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2 hours ago, top dog said:

This past week was tough.  My wife and I had the grandkids for 6 days.  Holy crap did that remind me how old I'm getting.  Navigating a 2 month old and a 2 year old is draining.  Especially when the 2 month old doesn't sleep through the night  yet.  Plus my wife came down with something half way through the week.  It did provide some awesome moments though.  One of the nights as I was sitting up at 3 am feeding my granddaughter I had a flashback in my mind to a similar moment with my daughter 26 years ago.  Life comes at you fast and sometimes you don't get many opportunities to slow down and enjoy the moment.  At that moment it was just me and these little blue eyes staring at me and her little hands holding onto my fingers.  I never wanted it to end.

My daughter in law has been pretty stressed recently as can be imagined.  With the emotional roller coaster of having a newborn, chasing a 2 year old around and trying to run a household by herself we noticed she was become more short with her patience with the boy.  He is a handful and as every other 2 year old, tries to find ways to kill himself pretty much every moment you take your eyes off him.  My wife had a talk with the daughter in law and reminded her that we are here for her and to please, please don't hesitate to ask for help.  She is a proud woman and doesn't want to take advantage of us.  We have to remind her from time to time that she is not in this alone.

My sons orders have changed a few times since he arrived on a base in the US before he shipped off.  Drove my wife crazy as the rules and time frames for sending packages kept changing.  At one point they said that it would take 2 months for anything to make it to him from US.  Now I think it is down to a month.  She wants to make sure that he gets packages intended for Christmas you know, before Christmas.  My wife is amazing through all this.  She really is.  She breaks down to me every now and then, but otherwise she shows an iron wall of strength for the daughter in law. She made a "deployment" wall downstairs in the family room.  It has a couple clocks on the wall one with "our time" and one with "His time".  Pictures of him and his unit.  A map with pins on it showing where we are, where he is.. She put together a couple large glass containers there.  One is full of army guys.  The other was empty.  Our grandson goes down there every day to "move a daddy".  When the one is empty, he has come home.

I take care of his dogs... the lawn... his truck... Pretty much everything he can't.  It takes a couple hours each week to mow our yard and our yard.  I guess it's good exercise.  The kids are over every day for dinner.  Momma and them come over after work and stay until it is time for the little one's bed time.  It's draining.  And we are just getting started.  I was at the store with my grandson buying some things for "daddy".  When we were walking out to the car together he looked at me and said "Paw-paw?  When dadda coming home?" It was hard to hold back the tears for the little guy.   Hopefully he will be home in time for Thanksgiving next year.  

When I walked through his house today to let his dogs out I paused at the big wall decal they have on the wall.  It reads:

IN THIS HOUSE WE DO DOG TAGS

WE DO REAL

WE DO LAST MINUTE

WE DO DEPLOYMENTS

WE DO CARE PACKAGES

WE DO MISSED OCCASIONS

WE DO PATRIOTIC

WE DO HARD TIMES

WE DO SLEEPING BY THE PHONE

WE DO HURRY UP & WAIT

WE DO LOVE

WE DO ARMY STRONG

As I read through the this a tear rolled down my cheek and I was glad that I was alone.  

Thanks for letting me share here.  I've never been good at sharing my feelings and emotions in real life.. 

On top of a heart felt “thank you for your service” to your son, witnessing (reading) of such love is beautiful and wholesome.  Best wishes to you and yours

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For any of you who have gone through this before, what is the best method for communication so it doesn't rape our cellular plan?  Are there apps he can use when he has internet access that are better than others to make calls?  I'm talking to Verizon to see what our options are with them..

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34 minutes ago, top dog said:

For any of you who have gone through this before, what is the best method for communication so it doesn't rape our cellular plan?  Are there apps he can use when he has internet access that are better than others to make calls?  I'm talking to Verizon to see what our options are with them..

It's been a long time but I used skype with my little brother.  I'd imagine any of those web meeting things would work (webex, GoToMeeting, etc...) as long as he has an internet connection.  Also, have him ask around.  I'm sure other guys in the unit are having the same problem.

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36 minutes ago, top dog said:

For any of you who have gone through this before, what is the best method for communication so it doesn't rape our cellular plan?  Are there apps he can use when he has internet access that are better than others to make calls?  I'm talking to Verizon to see what our options are with them..

WhatsApp.

Not trying to be funny.

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Hang in there. I'm not a prayer guy, but my thoughts are with you and your family. It's tough. We are getting ready to say goodbye to our Marine son next week as he ships off to Japan (proabably for the remainder of his time in the Corps). We aren't sure if we are going get a chance to fly over and see him in the next 16 months. We've been lucky that we got to see his boot camp graduation and MCT graduation in San Diego. We also road tripped to NC to visit him each year around Christmas time. He's been back each summer on leave. But, now comes the real test. Major change in time zones. He's not sure if he will be in one place all the time and may go out for 30-45 days at a time. We just plan to take one day at a time. Cherish the texts, emails, and video chat time we do get. 

Thank your son for his service. And thank you as the family of a service member. Everyone makes sacrifices.

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