It has been twenty years since our youngest son enlisted in the Navy. Mike felt an urgent calling to serve his country right after 9/11/2001, as did many Americans. Just like most parents, we felt the usual fear of our son being placed in harm’s way, but we also felt very proud of him.

So, off he went to boot camp. Next he attended aviation electronics school followed by SERE training in Maine (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). Then he became an aviation electronics specialist on the E6-B Mercury that flies for the Navy. After many years of doing that job, he decided to go back to school and became a flight engineer on the same aircraft. Through the years he worked hard, advanced through the various ranks, received numerous accommodations, and finally became Chief Petty Officer. Before we knew it, twenty years had flown by, and, at the ripe old age of 39, Mike decided to retire.

The Navy set his retirement ceremony for Friday, December 3rd. This worked out really good for us because we were planning to be at their house for Thanksgiving. We just extended our stay for another week so we could attend. My sister, Lisa, and her husband, Rob, brought my 91+ year old dad from St. Louis to Oklahoma City to attend the ceremony.

The Navy’s retirement ceremony is quite impressive. The retiree is in charge of and makes all the decisions regarding the ceremony. Mike chose and arranged for everything: who would be part of honor guards and presentation of flags, the main speaker, who would sing the national anthem, who gave the opening and closing prayers, and who would speak or read the traditional “Old Glory” and “The Watch.”

Here are some of my pictures from the ceremony along with a few captions.

All ready to go.
The shadow box and solid oak chest for all of Mike’s Navy uniforms and memorabilia.
This was our retirement gift to Mike. A friend of his made it, and I must say the craftsmanship is impeccable.
Mike leads the “Arrival of the Official Party.”
Parade the Colors.
Our oldest son, Jeff, sang the National Anthem and did a wonderful job.
Guest speaker and mentor to Mike, Edward J. Primeau, USN (Retired).
Presentation of Awards by CAPT Jessup.
Passing the Flag Ceremony was completed while “Old Glory” was read. It was a quite moving ceremony.
As the flag approached the end of the line, Mike joined the line.
Finally the flag is passed to Mike, and he …..
….. walks over …..
….. and presents it to his mom – ME! Talk about an emotional moment for me. I felt so honored and proud. Then I thought about those moms and wives who have received a flag folded like this under more sorrowful conditions. However, I was filled with love and respect for this son who served his country so honorably.
Mike’s wife and children also received special recognition and awards for their sacrifice and service in supporting Mike’s career.
Mike gave a WONDERFUL retirement speech. It had the appropriate amount of sentiment, humor, memories, and encouraging advice for those younger Naval personnel in attendance.
Mike prepares to be “relieved of the watch.”
This friend of Mike’s did an EXCELLENT job reciting “The Watch.”
Being relieved of the watch.
First, Mike exits through the honor guard.
Mike returns to escort his family through the honor guard.
All the family in attendance: (L to R) Jack, Betty (me), Jeff, Kylee, Mike, Jennifer, Jackson, my 91 year old dad (Gary), and my sister and her husband (Lisa and Rob, who brought my dad down from St. Louis).
Just foolin’ around after the ceremony …..
….. trying to look tough. Maybe these are a couple of future Navy officers.

What an incredible ceremony! If you ever get a chance to attend a Navy (or any military) retirement ceremony, I would suggest you go. You won’t regret it.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”



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