Eglin Air Force Base: Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School
Ok, onto the good stuff: The photos! Graduation day was a hot one, but luckily the ceremony was at 8.a.m. I loved that: Beat the heat, and then we were out early enough to have the rest of the day with our graduate.
Brian's father, an EOD tech that works for Homeland Security, had the honor of pinning him. EOD can only be badged by another EOD, and Jeff qualified. It made the day a bit more poignant.
Jeff shortly before the ceremony, practicing not getting teary.
It began with the leaders of each branch of the military arriving:
And the playing of the National Anthem.
Brian was second in line to graduate.
Jeff accepted the badge that he'd pin on Brian.
The next photo tears me up a bit. I watched through the lens as Jeff whispered, and Brian took a breath and closed his eyes. I learned later that the words exchanged at that moment were "Let me see if I can do this without crying."
And then Colonel that tried Brian, realized what he was worth and reinstated him back into the school. He took his time to have a few word with each of the graduates. To Brian, he said "You proved us all wrong," and told him to take care of his guys.
And they made time for all of the Mamas to get all of the photos we wanted, before calling the next name.
18 men and 1 woman, representing each branch of the military graduated that morning. It took about 90 minutes, and then we all broke for hugs.
And then, of course, off to the beach!