Skip to comments.Mother commissions son from across the globe
Posted on 06/17/2010 2:25:01 PM PDT by SandRat
6/17/2010 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Perhaps the biggest challenge of any deployment is the separation from family and friends and missing those momentous occasions in life such as a son's first word, a daughter's high school graduation, a 20-year wedding anniversary or a family reunion.
While a military member's time downrange can't be cut short so they can attend these milestone events, these special moments can at least be seen and heard from afar, thanks to modern-day conveniences such as wireless Internet and Web cameras.
This was the case for one lieutenant colonel deployed here and her 22-year old son whom she swore into the Air Force June 13 during his Air Force ROTC graduation from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash.
Lt. Col. Maureen Carroll, the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron commander told her eldest son, Alek Krallman, to raise his right hand and repeat after her the commissioning oath of office.
"It was pretty great how it all came together," Colonel Carroll said. "I wish I could have been there in person, but this was the next best thing. He has worked really hard to achieve his goals and I am very proud of him."
With Colonel Carroll deployed, her son said he knew it wasn't going to be easy coordinating his mother swearing him in from across the globe, but he couldn't think of anyone he'd rather have administer the oath.
"I wanted my mom to commission me because she's a great example of an excellent leader," said 2nd Lt. Alek Krallman. "Everyone I talk to who works with or knows her says great things. She also encouraged me the most to become an officer and I knew it would honor her as well, because I wouldn't have gone to college if it wasn't for her."
Before it was time for the lieutenant to take the stage, both mother and son had their laptops connected to one another using a software application that allows users to video conference via the Internet. Colonel Carroll used the base's free wireless Internet service while at the base chapel to watch her son's ceremony, from taking the oath of office to seeing him present parent pins to his father and stepfather.
"I'll present you with yours next time I see you mom," he said into the Web camera at the ceremony.
The colonel said she is very thankful for the modern-day conveniences many deployers now have.
"It definitely helps," she said. "It's nice to be able to see your family and know that you don't have to miss out on such special moments as this."
Colonel Carroll's son, who will attend pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, in September, said he knew the Air Force was the right choice for him from an early age.
"I've wanted to fly for as long as I can remember, and I knew the Air Force would give me a good chance at doing that," the lieutenant said. "I decided to do ROTC because I wanted to go to Central Washington University, and they had a good ROTC program here."
Colonel Carroll said that while she is excited that her son chose to follow in her footsteps and join the military, she still worries about her son.
"Well, I know my Air Force won't be his Air Force," she said. "It has changed so much since I've been in and I'm sure it will continue to change. My biggest concern is the pace of operations. I see our young folks working so hard to maintain that pace; it throws the rest of life out of balance sometimes. My hope is that he can maintain the balance and be successful. It's a rewarding life in many ways to serve our nation, with opportunities that never cease."
With his Air Force career ahead of him, and a mother who already has 30 years of service, the lieutenant said he cherishes any words of wisdom she provides.
"My mom has told me lots of things, the main pieces of advice being to always do my best and work hard; listen to my NCOs, as they have more experience and know what needs to be done; and to learn from others," he said.
Lieutenant Krallman said he remains optimistic as he looks to the future and the journey he is about to embark on in the Air Force.
"I'm looking forward most to flying, protecting my family and friends, and being with my friends who are also serving," he said. "I have friends who enlisted right out of high school in every branch. They protected me while I was going to school and now it is my turn to allow them the opportunities they have given me."
Colonel Carroll has about a month left in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility before redeploying to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. She said she hopes to reunite with her son sometime in the future, before he heads off to pilot training.
Until then, instant messaging, phone calls and video conferencing with her son and the rest of her family will get her through her remaining time in the AOR.
Good advice from mom.
Better than a Chief pulling him aside in a hangar and 'splaining it.
Got some o’ that blurry pride in my eyes just now - passing the torch does that...
I don't think I've ever seen her brother so proud -- and I know her Mom and ex-USAF dad have never been prouder!
My dad administered my reserve commissioning oath, my regular AF commissioning oath, and pinned on one of my eagles when I surpassed him in rank (he retired as an O-5). Great and significant memories.