Mother/Son Soldiers Cross Paths
June 10, 2009
- In her first week of petroleum supply specialist training, Pfc. Felicia Bailey witnessed her son's graduation from same MOS.
FORT LEE, Va. (June 11, 2009) -- Try as she might, Felicia Bailey couldn't hold back the emotion of seeing her son, Pvt. Tremaine Scott, walk across the stage and receive his certificate of completion during an advanced individual training graduation ceremony held May 28 at Fort Lee, Va.
"I'm proud of my son; I'm very proud of my son," she said after the ceremony, her eyes welling with tears.A,A "He did a good thing."
She hopes to follow in his footsteps.A,A
Bailey, the mom, is also a Soldier.A,A The private first class is assigned to Company R, 262nd Quartermaster Battalion, 23rd QM Brigade. She was in the first week of the petroleum supply specialist course and witnessed her son's last moments in the same.A,A The Norfolk natives decided months earlier to join the Army together.
"We came in to serve our country," said the mother of four and one of a wave of parents who have joined their children in service to the nation.A,A "I've always told my children that if you don't want to go college, go see Uncle Sam.A,A I figured if he could do it, I could, too."
The 'I could, too' part of the equation is partly a mother's natural desire to protect her child, admits Bailey.
"I didn't want to send my child in harm's way, knowing that there's a war going on," she said of her oldest child.A,A "I figured I had to join up, too, to make sure that he was alright."
But it was Scott who provided the push his mom needed to make it through basic training.
"He really kept me motivated when I went through basic (training)," she said. "He would talk to me and tell me not to give up, and no matter what, push myself through it."A,A
Bailey's unit gave her special permission to attend the graduation ceremony because her class had training obligations.A,A The 19-year-old Scott said that seeing her in the audience was a special treat all in itself.
"It's crazy; it's a weird feeling knowing that your mom is there and she's just about to start doing the same thing you just did," he said after the ceremony.A,A "I'm very proud of her."
He was proud, but nine weeks of basic training and 11 weeks of schooling had taught him to keep certain emotions under wraps.A,A Dressed in his Class A uniform, he presented the cool, dignified demeanor of a Soldier, enough to produce a dimpled, prideful smile out of his mother, who was dressed in the Army Combat Uniform.
"Look at him," she said.A,A "He looks so handsome.A,A I want to call him by his nickname but he might be a little upset about that."
"Poo," as he is sometimes referred to, wasn't having that today.A,A He had earned the right to be a Soldier and Bailey respected that. She held her military bearing and restrained herself from the urge of giving him a mushy, motherly embrace.A,A
"I'm not going to cry," she said several times.
Scott was to report to Korea for his first duty station and this was the last time Bailey was going to see her son before his departure. A,A After the ceremony, they took a picture together, shoulder-to-shoulder, with a reciprocal, quiet admiration.A,A He said his goodbyes and walked down the hallway toward a waiting bus.
"He's still my baby," said Bailey.