Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Anchors aweigh, my boys!

Sometime while we were dating in the summer of 2012, before he started law school, Blake and I were walking around the National Harbor and heard a military band playing in a gazebo near the water. I couldn't tell you which group it was specifically, I think Marines, but it was lovely. While we stopped and listened, Blake told me he was thinking of becoming a JAG, or member of the Judge Advocate General Corps. In other words, a military lawyer.

Immediately, this sounded like an interesting idea to me. I didn't know much about what it would entail, but I liked the idea of potentially moving all over the world. It wouldn't be the crazy, competitive hours of Big Law or working for table scraps as an ambulance chaser, or some other less appealing (to us) lawyer path. I encouraged him to continue thinking about it and pursue it if that's what he wanted. I was at a career crossroads anyway (*cough* unemployed *cough*), so why not?

A year later, with two semesters of law school and a summer internship on Capitol Hill under his belt, Blake started an internship with Coast Guard JAG headquarters. They liked him so much that he stayed on for a second semester (in a slightly different office down the hall) and ended up working there his entire second year of law school. And he loved it.

By this time, some JAG programs will accept student applications from lawyers in their second year of school, so thus began the official application process. He started a different internship with the TSA, so we also considered a variety of federal lawyer jobs during this time.

Seven applications to four branches of the military (everyone except Marines) and almost another year later, we got word that Navy wanted Blake, but he'd have to be on wait list. We found out just before he graduated, so it was nice to have something to tell our parents while they were visiting. We knew it almost definitely meant he would get off the wait list and get an official commission, we just didn't know when. We were willing to go with whichever branch of service picked us up first, because they all had pros and cons, but as a granddaughter of a Navy fighter pilot, I was always rooting a little harder for Navy.

So Blake took the summer to study for the Bar exam and then continued work on his Masters degree. He was in a joint Juris Doctorate/Masters of Public Policy program and while many classes during law school had counted for both, he still had two semesters left. So, while I kept working, he went back to school, applied to various jobs as interesting ones popped up, and we waited for the wait list.

In November 2015, we finally got the call! Once again, we didn't know exactly when it would happen, but the Navy officially wanted him. And soon.

During our whirlwind Baltimore>NYC>Richmond week in December, the call we got about Virginia Beach the next Monday was an invitation to officially receive his commission into the Navy and swear in as an Ensign.

And then we waited some more. Blake finished his last semester of his MPP a few weeks early (thanks American University for working with him!) and reported to Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island for five weeks for Officer Development School. It's kind of basic training light, but still a challenging and interesting month. I held down the fort in DC, and we missed each other a lot, but we talked as often as we could (usually at least a text a day, call every few days, and Skype once a week) and the time went by quickly.
They had flood training, because if the ship is going down, even the lawyers (and other officers) should be able to do more than push paperwork.

They stood in line a lot.

Like really a lot

The first weekend in May, my parents and his dad (sadly, his mom had to work), met me in Boston, and we all got to go to his graduation. I'm not complaining about the first time seeing my husband in uniform in person was in his dress whites.

Blake come home with me, I wrapped up my job (more on that later this month), and we enjoyed seven weeks off together - visiting family, working on our DC bucket list, and just relaxing. It was amazing.

Then at the beginning of August, Blake reported back to NAVSTA Newport for ten weeks of Naval Justice School, or military law school, and promote to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Once again, I stayed in DC, but this time he lived in a hotel instead of barracks and we got to video chat at least once a day. We also visited each other once each.

He graduated on October 14 in Rhode Island, flew back to DC that night, and we left for Japan on October 15.

Ultimately, it's been a combination of lots of waiting plus sudden bouts of craziness and do this now!, but it's worked out so far! I'm so proud of Blake and his hard work in making this dream come true! 


Myrna said...

Loving your posts this November!

Giggles said...


From what my Air Force JAG friends tell me, you should be glad Army didn't pick you.

Flood training does not sound like fun to me. I'm not someone who willingly puts my face under the water often.

Heidi said...

Neat! I second Lisa--flood training sounds terrible. I do not like deep water or tight spaces.

AmandaStretch said...

Blake loved it, but we still hope he never has to do it for real.