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Days Of Old

Posted on 06 Jun 2021 @ 10:19am by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryce Grey

Episode: S1E1: Back to Basic
Location: Grey Homestead (Portsmouth), Grey Family Farm (Kodiak Island)
Timeline: 3rd May 2021

Shouts of “UNCLE BRYCE! UNCLE BRYCE!” Could be heard across the front porch of the McMullen Homestead as two young boys of around six years of age ran up the driveway, tackling Bryce into a hug as he let out a laugh.

“Hello Thaddeus, and hello Victor.” Bryce states smiling at his two nephews.

“Hello Uncle Bryce!,” happily gibbered Victor. “Where is Aunt Charlotte?”

“She’s inside. Why don’t you go and say high?” Asked Bryce.

“Okay Uncle! Thaddeus, last one to get to Aunt Charlotte is a loser!” Showed Victor as he ran towards the house, Thaddeus following behind.

As Bryce watched the two smiling, he heard the thick voice of his brother Charlie behind him. He’d been taking the boys down to Charleston to visit their (Divorced) mother, and had stopped by to see Bryce.

“You know, you could always drive up to Boston?”

Bryce gave a fake huff. “Boston? Why’d I visit that crapheap?”

Charlie grinned. “Looked at this city? Not much better.”

Bryce rolled his eyes. “We have tons of places to visit and things to see!”

“Like?” Asked Charlie, as he started to walk up to the house.

“Like.....my work! Or Bethesda!” Stated Bryce, trying to thing of reasons Portsmouth was better then Boston, as he followed his brother to the house.

“Your work? Less of a attraction, more of a zoo I’d say.”

*A few hours later*

“He tried to spray you with a skunk?” Asked Bryce incredulously, as Charlie talked about his Bounty Hunting exploits.

“Yep. Locked himself in the room and throw it at us. My partner got it all over him.” Said Charlie

“Well, sounds like you’ve got some interesting work. I drive up to Cape May soon, since me and my new team mates are taking over CGIS duties till they can get replacements.”

As Bryce said this, Thaddeus perked up.

“Uncle Bryce, why did you join the Coast Guard?”

Bryce smiled. “Well you see Thaddeus, it was more then 30 years ago..”

*More then 30 Years ago at the Grey Family Farm near the outskirts of Kodiak, Kodiak Island*

A black backpack rested on the floor leaning against the wall closest to the main door as a young Bryce sat on a black leather couch. His father: a large bulky man sat in the nearby chair silently, while his mother, sister and multiple brothers stood silent nearby. There were a few others in the room too, his friends from school who all had permission to miss a period to say goodbye to their friend who signed up for the military without a word to anyone until the night before he had to leave for New Jersey, to get to TRACEN Cape May for Basic Training. The backpack was only filled with things he might want, though he was sure he might not get the time with where he was going. The boy was 18 years old, and while a normal kid at this age should be starting University, he was not. He was leaving and he didn't know for how long; He guessed until they said he could go home, but honestly he didn't care so much if he did or didn't. He wasn't doing it for them. Suddenly there was the loud sound outside of a bus coming up the road. Then it stopped and was put in park with a hiss. Bryce stood up without a word to anyone in the room and grabbed his backpack, slinging it over his right shoulder and waiting for the inevitable sound to ring through the quiet house.

Knock. Knock Knock.

The boy opened the door and saw a man standing in Coast Guard uniform with the insignia of a MST1 before him with a clipboard. "Bryce Grey?” the male asked.

"Right here Petty Officer." Bryce replied calmly in a respectful tone.

"Joshua Dawson. " He offered his hand to Bryce now, "I'm from the recruitment office. You're on my pick up list for transport to Kodiak Airport for the flight to Cape May for Basic. Correct?" PO Dawson stated firmly.

"That's correct, Petty Officer" Bryce nodded once.

"Well you're my last pick up so grab your bag and let's move!" PO Dawson stated, stepping aside to let Bryce exit the house. Finally the large male stood.

"This is ridiculous! He's meant to join the navy, like our family always has! He can't just drop out and leave on his own!" Bryce’s father argued quickly, following Bryce out.

"I assure you, Mr. Grey, he can. As long as he's 18 then he can drop out and join the Coast Guard. He doesn't need parental approval. Now I apologize if this upsets you but it is your son's choice to join," PO Dawson remarked calmly.

"I refuse to let him go! He’s just a child, you're not proving anything by trying to be a tough-ass and joining the Coast Guard, Bryce! You'll never survive Basic. Now just come back and we can forget this whole thing..." His father tried harshly but when Bryce looked back at him he saw worry and fear resting in his father's eyes. As he was about to respond, PO Dawson put his hand on Bryce’s shoulder and offered a smile.

"On the bus, son. I'll take care of this," PO Dawson said, Bryce nodded as he tossed his bag underneath one of the open hatches where other bags were and then he stepped on the bus, taking a seat on the left side and near a window to see his mother crying her eyes out on the front yard, trying to get to him but his friends Isaac, Jordi, and Raphael were holding her back while his sister tried to calm her down. "I assure you that if the recruitment office didn't think he could do it, they wouldn't have let him sign up. He wasn't asked to join, he asked if he could. He passed his physicals to sign up with flying colors. Now I'm not sure the reason why you don't support him but we do. Your son is doing a good thing: don't scold him for wanting a better, safer future for himself and for all. You should be proud of him for making such a decision. You have delayed this departure long enough, Mr. Grey. Good day to you."

With that said, PO Dawson returned to the bus and got on as the doors shut tightly and it began to start up. Bryce looked back at all of them one last time before they were out of sight and heading down the road. Bryce could have sworn he heard his father and mother yell out for him and he only closed his eyes to remember when this started, just a week ago.

*Flashback to a couple days prior to his leaving*

{Bryce’s POV}

Since the time I was little, well...littler at least...I wanted to do something great with my life. I wanted to be remembered for things I've done, wanted to make my parents proud...but of course, life doesn't always play out the way you want it to. My name is Bryce Telcontar Grey, the supposed middle name comes from the fact when I was a baby my parents loved Lord of the Rings. So yeah, there's some information for ya on my name. But back to the story of why life doesn't play out the way you want sometimes, mine went so far off my original plans. Dad he annoying: he was always pushing me to go and become a naval officer, become senior like him. I didn't want that: I was way too sarcastic to be an officer. I had been thinking police for a while, I really wanted to help people. My plans changed when I finally had enough of my father's controlling my life and whatever I did never being enough to make him happy. I'm Eighteen, I got straight A's and was basically a model student but because of my figure, being a skinnier guy, I got teased and bullied a lot. I put up with it, I had friends and my siblings too.

It had been a long day at school. Hard classes, stupid bullies, and I honestly didn't want to go home right away and have to deal with being my father's disappointment who he doesn't ever have time for. It was currently October, the beginning of it actually. After school, I told Charlie, one of my brothers, I'd meet him at home around four in the afternoon and if Dad asked, to tell him I was at a job interview or something. I knew he’d cover for me, since like me he didn’t want to do dads vision, nor did my sister. My other brother Eli though, he just had to be dads mirror image though, and was just like dad. I walked the streets of Kodiak, one of the larger islands in the Alaska region. Besides our island there was also the Aleutians, and a few smaller ones elsewhere.

Walking on the sidewalk with my hands stuffed in my pockets, I sighed heavily. I heard voices, something sounding like a father and son. Curiosity won as I looked to see a young man, maybe about my age standing with his Dad as they just emerged from a building. The father was smiling ear to ear with his hands on his son's shoulders. "I'm so proud of you for doing this son." I felt a twinge of pain in my chest-my father was never proud of me.

"Thanks, Dad. I know it's the right thing to do," the son replied, smiling as well. The two continued to talk as they walked away and I stepped towards the place they'd come out of. Looking up at the sign I read; Coast Guard Recruitment. That kid had joined the Coast Guard and his father was proud of him for it. I glanced at the window, looking at all the fliers and what now: ones with promotional messages about joining, doing your country proud, doing the right thing, being all you can be. It made me wonder what I had to do to get my Dad to be proud of me. Of course I knew: become a naval officer, but I didn't want that. I could do so much more with my life than just kill people. I froze for a moment looking at another paper on the window: Want to help people, stand up for what's right, defend those you love? Join the Coast Guard today and be a part of something great as you become all you can be and make your nation proud! Maybe I could still defend people, just not the way my Dad wanted me to.

"Hello there, lad. Couldn't help but see ya from my desk in there and saw you staring. Military life interest you?" a voice asked. I looked to see a man with a shaved head wearing a Coast Guard uniform nearby.

"Well I'd always wanted to be a policeman, help people, defend the public," I replied to him.

"Ah, well the military is just like that. Only bigger and defending a lot more than Alaska. That sound like something you could see yourself doing?" the male asked me curiously. I looked at the paper again. It kind'a did sound like what I wanted...only Coast Guard was on a level of defending much bigger than I'd anticipated for my life.

"I guess I could, falls in the same category," I shrugged.

"How old are ya son?"

"18, about to turn 19 in five months," I replied to him.

"Why don't you step inside with me and we can talk more?" the man offered, so I nodded. After all, what harm would it do to research it more? I stepped in with him, sat before his desk and we just started talking about everything. I told him about my life, well, just parts of it including my dad being military too. He told me some of the things I could do in the Coast Guard, and the more we talked the more I was interested. Forty-five minutes into talking, he told me that I could join now and head for Basic Training in a week. He handed me a sign up sheet, basic information to fill out like name, age, hair and eye color, weight and height, allergies, meds, and more. He told me to let him know but I ended up just saying that I had made my choice and filled it out then and there. "You're doing the right thing son," he reassured me.

After that and for the next week, I had to go back to do dental, medical, and physical check-outs; They had to make sure I was fit for service life in general and Basic Training in particular and it turned out I was. My health was in top condition: physical, mental, emotional. I passed all my tests and then I was told that Basic started in two days at Cape May, where I'd be for 8 weeks before being able to go to Boatswain Mate A-School, which looked the most interesting, and then being assigned to a station or ship. I was told a bus would be coming to my house to pick me up by eleven in the morning on Monday. I grabbed the paper he gave me to attach to my bag of things I'd be taking and I left. This was it, no turning back. I went home to pack what I wanted to take; The recruiter said just things I wouldn't want to go without for a while. When I got home, my family were waiting for me for dinner since it was almost 5:30pm.

"Bryce, there you are!" my father, Jonathan Haddock, boomed.

"Sorry, got held up doing something..." I mumbled to him.

"Well sit down and eat. I got big news to tell you!" Dad said proudly. Oh great, I had got news too, Dad. I joined the Coast Guard and will be leaving on Monday for 8 weeks in basic training. I sat down and began to eat in silence. How did I tell them I was leaving? Dad would flip and mom was sure to freak out in a fit of tears. But I wasn't backing out: I had to do this. This was for me, no one else. After dinner ended, we cleaned up and were all sitting around the dining room table. "Bryce, you'll be pleased to know that I got you a job today!"

"What?..." I asked.

"Yep, working on my ship with me, as a deckhand, until you can get your papers for the navy! Helping fish, running errands, giving a hand with engineering. Ya start on Monday, coming right to the docks after school," Dad stated smiling. I hadn't wanted to tell them yet, I honestly just wanted to leave them with a note and take off. Obviously that wasn't going to happen. I took a deep breath and faced him.

"I already have a job..." I informed him flatly and both of them looked at me now.

"What...do you mean, son?" Dad asked.

"Just today...I got...hired and...I start Monday." I replied cautiously.

"Well that's...great, Bryce! I knew you'd find something, what will your job be? Is it close?" Mum asked gently. I took a deep breath: here goes nothing...

"I won't be close and...I...also won't be coming home for...8 weeks," I admitted now. Instantly, it was silent.

"Hold on just a lord strikin' minute! What job could you possibly have gotten that involves you being away from home for ten..." Dad paused now as his eyes widened and he went almost as white as a ghost when he realized it. "You didn't...tell me you didn't do what I hope to God you didn't!"

"I did." I answered firmly.

"I don't...understand...what's going on, Dad?" Eli asked, confused. I turned my head to him slowly, before sighing.

"I joined the Coast Guard," I told him. He looked shocked, expecting me to join the Navy.

"Bryce Grey, I swear to God you better be joking, and if ya are...I'm not amused!" Dad stood now.

"I'm not joking, Dad. I did exactly what you're hoping I didn't and there is no going back. I have joined the United States Coast Guard and I leave for Basic on Monday. Get over it, this was my choice and there isn't anything you can do about it. I am not going to live the rest of my life being a fisherman alongside you! So Semper Paratus that you your ass!” fired back before leaving the table to go to my room. Honestly, right now I couldn't wait for Monday to come. But there was still Saturday and Sunday to survive at home with my family. Great.

As I expected the entire weekend was hell. My siblings went and told all our friends what I'd done, and when I was leaving. They somehow managed to all get the period on Monday off to say goodbye to me, wish me well and to see me soon. And today was Monday, they were all there sitting around the room. My father and I had argued all weekend but I still didn't change my mind and just this morning he actually begged me not to do it. But I wasn't stopping: I had made this choice, this commitment...and I was seeing it through.

{End Bryce’s POV}

*End Flashback*

Bryce woke up to someone shaking him, and he groggily opened his eyes to see a young man about his age sitting beside him with a smile. "Hey, we're about to arrive at the camp. Thought I'd wake you." the man offered.

"Thanks..." Bryce replied sitting up and cracking his neck then rubbing his eyes, once opened he saw a hand out to him.

"Hamish Tingey. Ham for short," he introduced himself. Bryce shook his hand.

"Bryce Telcontar Grey, and for the love of God don't ask about the middle name..." Bryce smiled back at him. The bus jolted to a halt and the engine turned off then everyone on the bus got up and prepared to get off...but a man in uniform got on first.

"Alright, you maggots! You are to file off this bus, grab your bag and report to the main building directly ahead of you. There is to be no talking! Now move out! Hustle, Hustle, Hustle!" the man ordered as he stepped back and sure enough they all filed off, grabbed their bags and hustled as fast as they could to the main building. Hayden took notice of the sign on above the door; Training Centre Cape May: Through these doors pass prospects for America's finest seafaring service. United States Coast Guardsmen

'And so it begins...' Bryce thought, stepping inside the building and standing with the other men he'd be with for the next 8 weeks of basic training.

*Back to the Present*

“So that is the short version of why and how I joined the Coast Guard.” Stated Bryce proudly.

“So Grandad is a jerk?” Asked Thaddeus?

Bryce could Charlie giving him annoyed eyes.

“Uh, let’s just wait till you meet him shall we..”

 

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