On March 28, 1998, BugsMurphy (Sandy) invited 12 Moms to a Navy Moms Chat Room. We had all, up to this point, been posting on the AOL Navy Boards. We were all moms of sailors looking for others in the same boat. Thus began Navy Moms On Line.
Prior to her email, some contact had been made with the National Adjutant Navy Mothers Clubs of America in St. Louis, MO inquiring about their group. They were not technologically up to being an online organization, so we did not get further involved with them.
The rest of the story is pretty simple. We established a basic webpage on AOL and put it on search engines and the AOL Navy boards. Moms found us and we grew and grew until we became the support group that we are today.
Through the years the Secretary of the Navy has sent congratulations to us at each of our reunions. These official letters and citations were read to those in attendance and were shared for all to see. The Clinton White House also sent us a letter wishing us well.
We have received emails from all over the world expressing best wishes and praise for Navy Moms On Line. The response from military men and women in all branches of the service has been awesome. But most important are the thanks we receive from our own sailors for Navy Moms On Line.
In March 1999, a group of NMOL members went to Las Vegas. My hubby thought I was nuts to go out there not knowing a soul. He said “they could be mass murderers for all you know.” Online friendships were questionable at best.
I arrived at 11:30 p.m. Vegas time (2:30 a.m. my body time) and Bugs and Lana picked me up at the airport. Lana was from Las Vegas and made all the plans and preparations for our visit. I was so excited, nervous and thrilled. The three of us became fast friends instantly. The next day Barb2Navy and her sailor daughter, SonNNavy and her sister, Adn2tny (and her entire family), Mamahoal and another Cindy (forgot her screen name) all arrived. Shortly after more moms arrived. We did the typical tourist things around Vegas. We all became so close and had such fun. We laughed our way through Vegas and can tell you stories of how Navy Moms On Line did Vegas. On Sunday morning we were honored to have Mamhoal's sailor Justin join us for breakfast. He was such a peach and gave each Mom a huge hug as we entered the restaurant. Justin was such a riot and since he was hugging us he continued to hug others in line behind us--what a laugh for all!! Smiles were all around. NMOL members were the hit at each meal because we had such fun and drew all the other diners into our merriment!! On Sunday there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as we said goodbye to our new and wonderful friends.
The first reunion was a big hit and we looked forward to our second reunion.
- Synd95 -
In April 2000, NMOL members went to Norfolk, VA for our second reunion. Nvymomx2 made all the plans and arrangements for this reunion. She lived in Norfolk and was very active with the Navy in the Norfolk area. We arrived on Thursday and made phone calls to Nvymomx2 letting her know we were in town. We all checked into the Navy Lodge. The next day more Moms converged on the Lodge and we left a poster at the front desk letting any NMOL members know what rooms we were in and how to contact us. Moms called when they checked in. Repeatedly we gathered in the lobby as new Moms arrived to welcome them and to meet each other.
We did a lot of "hanging out" in the Navy Lodge lobby meeting new Moms and getting to know each other. Saturday morning we took off for a wonderful lunch with the Captain of the George Washington and his wife. Nvymomx2 did a marvelous job of arranging the lunch and speakers. It was lovely. Gifts and certificates were presented to the founder of NMOL BugsMurphy and to our reunion coordinator Nvymomx2 as well as to the Captain of the GW and his wife. We were also proud to have some Navy dads join us for this reunion.
After lunch we went back to the Lodge to change. From there we left for a tour of the USS GW. The Captain told us at lunch we were his guests and we could see whatever we wanted to see. It was a cold rainy and windy day in Norfolk. Our moms wanted to see the flight deck (we almost got blown off and for sure got soaked.) We were able to see so many different areas of the ship and all the sailors smiled at this group of moms. Our chant to the sailors was “call home..your mom wants to hear from you!!” It was pretty exciting and we took some great pictures. On our way through the mess deck, we asked to see the Chief's mess and were graciously shown their dining area (normally off limits to our guides).
At the end of the tour we went back to the hotel wet and tired but with great memories of a wonderful day. We dried off and met in one of the Mom's rooms. This gave us a chance to sit around and chat. One of our sailors and his wife (ProudNavyWife) were there along with a few other sailor sons. It was great. We ordered pizza and had all sorts of food that our moms had brought along.
On Sunday the sun finally came out but our moms had to leave for home. A few of us toured the base and met more wonderful sailors.
And so was the end of Reunion 2000.
- Synd95 -
In April 2001, NMOL converged on San Diego, CA for our third reunion. Sharon40, Bugs and Synd95 were the first to arrive and met up with Themoviemc who is from San Diego and arranged the reunion. What an incredible job she did.
On Friday, Themoviemc had arranged a movie studio tour for us (since she works at a movie studio.) We were able to watch the filming of "The Chronicles" which airs on the Sci-Fi Channel. We met Captain Sulo (Star Trek) and he chatted with us and we had our pictures taken with him and other cast members. Very Cool!!
We also managed to go to the San Diego Zoo, Sea Port Village, and for a boat ride around the San Diego Bay. The Navy Seals were practicing so, of course, we watched them closely. Themoviemc arranged dinner for us in the GasLight District Friday night, what fun we had there. More moms arrived over the course of the next day. We even had two navy dads with us on this trip.
On Saturday, we all met up with our reunion coordinator who had arranged a tour of the USS John Stennis. From there we went to the NEX for shopping and lunch. There we were greeted by a big "Welcome Navy Moms On Line" sign!! Talk about feeling special...we were on Cloud 9. That night we had dinner in San Diego in Old Town at an authentic Mexican restaurant. A Navy Officer who is a nurse was our special guest. Her husband joined us and then after dinner she spoke about her career and answered our questions.
On Sunday, we met for breakfast and then went for a tour of a submarine (again very cool). Bugs chickened out and stayed on the dock and took pictures of all of us. We got to see where our sailors sleep on a sub (don’t ask), their mess deck and working areas!!!! We really were amazed how close the quarters are on a submarine. We also developed a deep respect for our sailors serving on subs.
Once again it was time to say goodbye. Again there wasn’t a dry eye in the place as we bid goodbye to our fellow Navy Moms. It was a memorable reunion.
- Synd95 -
The 2002 NMOL Reunion was held at Great Lakes. Our 4th reunion was beautifully arranged by VicBic and Angelkml.
It officially began on Thursday, June 27, The day was spent greeting new arrivals, shopping at the NEX and talking, talking, talking... On Thursday evening we had our "official" dinner. Scott, Micherry's sailor son, was with us for dinner and what a thrill it was to have one of our sons there. Our special guest was RTC's Command Master Chief Bernard "Bernie" Quibilan who spoke to us after dinner. He was very impressed at how well our "Adopt A Sailor" Program had gone. (Thanks, Debbie) After he spoke the letter from the Secretary of the Navy was read, leaving not a dry eye in the house. Before we left we tortured the poor CMC by asking him to pose for picture after picture. He could not have been more gracious about it! And there are a lot of sailors out there who've received a picture of him with their Mom (and probably wonder what Mom has done now!).
Friday morning arrived bright and early (earlier for some-Tammy-than for others). We had to be at RTC by 7:00 for the Pass In Review (PIR). We arrived and were met at the drill hall by the CMC who showed us where we were sitting-right in front of "our" division. PIR was every bit as awe-inspiring as we all remembered. All those sailors singing "Anchors Aweigh"...
When it was over we gave "our" sailors a chance to greet their families before we descended upon them. We hugged as many as we could! Deciding we were very close to the parking lot, we didn't take the bus back... Well, we were wrong and walked forever until we got back to our cars and headed to the pizza party where we hosted several sailors and family members. After pizza we went back to RTC to hit the NEX again. We left a few items there, but not many! Then dinner and another gab session until the wee hours.
Saturday saw some of the Moms and Dads leave and the rest of us split up to do various activities. The Moms who were still there ended up at Medieval Times on Saturday night for a wonderful dinner and show. We became "ladies" that night and at one point all the newly created knights and ladies were announced. When it was our turn, we were announced as the Navy Moms whose sons and daughters are serving all over the world. The applause and cheers were music to our moms' ears. We were easily identifiable since we were all wearing Navy Moms shirts, and many people came to us afterwards and thanked us for our children.
Sunday saw the rest of us packing up and leaving, but not before Vicki sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" to us-another tearful moment. Most of us were in our cars when Debbie ran into a sailor who was one of "our" division. We popped out of our cars to introduce ourselves and get one last sailor hug before we left. He told us that, just as we shared our letters with each other, so did they. They would pass them around and he said that our encouragement was greatly appreciated by all of them.
All in all it was a wonderful time and all of us fortunate enough to attend are ready for the next one!!!
- Kathyk26 -
Reunion 2003 - Washington D.C. July 30 and the weather was HOT HOT HOT in Virginia and Washington. Joannie, Fwifenavymom, so generously arranged for our annual reunion. Joannie and her Marine, Ted, offered their home as the gathering place and weekend getaway for our reunion!! Who would have thought that all those women could arrive at someone's house and actually find a corner of their own for an entire long weekend!!
On Wednesday and Thursday we started invading and getting to really know each other. Early arrivals were DebH, KathyK, Bugs, Joann and Cyndi who arrived on Wednesday night. We were the only ones who actually saw Joannie's kitchen counters! After that they started filling with all the goodies that everyone brought. Her laundry room looked like the paper goods aisle at the store because of all the toilet paper that she had purchased and moms had brought - LOL. Everyone figured that with all those women, we'd need it and we were all right!!
Thursday brought Dr. Lindo Loo, Catherine, Julie, Carolyn, Terry, Joyce, Cheryl, Karen, Donna, Juli, Sherry and Fred. Debbie (Angelkml) was the last to arrive - around 3:30 AM! She'd worked Wednesday night and Thursday Morning and then had car trouble before she even got out of Michigan. But she is one determined lady, so she made it!
On Friday we were up, organized and out the door by 7:30 AM to begin our day - no mean feat for a bunch who talked until 1 AM! Not to mention the fact that 15 of us stayed at the house and shared 2-1/2 bathrooms! And NEVER ran out of hot water!!
We boarded our "bus" with our sweet driver who we called Ted (never really knew his real name) and were off to D.C. Our lunches were packed, drinks cooling and conversation flowing!! As we approached the Pentagon, the enormity of the building along with the memories of 9-11 caused a poignant silence to overtake the bus. A few prayers were winging their way to Heaven as we met our guide. We were directed to security and all processed through without a hitch (now for Navy Moms that's saying a lot). Our tour guides for the morning were to be an adorable Navy Sailor and an Air Force guy bringing up our rear. Our tour took us to the main hall for each branch of the service. We greeted every sailor we saw with applause, hugs and choruses of "Call Your Mom!" Our tour guides were wonderful, although they must have wondered what they had gotten themselves into!
Of course, as we entered the Navy corridor we were urged to give a big "Ooh Rah" which brought cheers from the offices and clapping from most who wandered out to see what all the noise was about. In passing the Secretary of the Navy's office our two founders made a quick "exit left" to say hello! That for sure scared the wits out of our guides, but as soon as they saw the hugs being exchanged in the office they knew that we knew some of the people at the Secretary of the Navy's office.
Upon leaving, we met a large contingent of Navy sailors. As we proceeded through the group giving "mom hugs" there was nary a dry eye in either group. We were so proud of those sailors and they were so glad to get a "mom hug." We boarded our bus and then went on to the Navy Memorial. We saw a movie, "At Sea," and passed Kleenex up and down the aisles. We went out to the Memorial itself, which is beautiful and participated in the wreath-laying ceremony. Bugs and Cyndi represented us and gave the invocation and an explanation of NMOL and what we do. They placed the wreath in front of the "Lone Sailor" statue and "Taps" was played. More Kleenex was passed. It was so very moving. Once we collected ourselves, it was time for some quick shopping in the Ship's Store. Then back on the bus and lunch on the go. Sherry and Fred brought hoagies from Philly that were the "real deal" and delicious.
We arrived at the Navy Museum, which is chock full of fascinating artifacts. More shopping, and some discussion on how Deb and Joann would get their sailor statues home. From there we walked across to the USS Barry, a destroyer, and took the self-guided walking tour.
Dinner was at the Old Ebbitt Grill and was wonderful even though our waitress left much to be desired! Then we went to the Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks. Oh my gosh!! More hugs - we were equal opportunity huggers, didn't really matter what branch we saw! - and more choruses of "Call Your Mom!" The parade itself was incredible! It ended in the dark with only the flag and a lone bugler spotlighted while "Taps" was played. More Kleenex was passed! (Why did we all get up around 5:30 to put on make up?? There was no mascara left on anyone by the end of the day!)
Back to the bus and then on to Joannie's house by 11:30 PM where we were greeted by Duckie's Sailor!!!!! More hugs!!!! And more talking - the last of us hit our beds between 3 and 4 AM! LOL - we can sleep when we get home! From rumors, it seems there was a rousing game of "Truth or Dare." As we saw the following night, someone must have been taking notes.
Early Saturday morning Duckie and Cyndi disappeared for a short errand which turned into a LONG errand. No one had any idea where those two had disappeared...but we figured they were up to "no good."
We eventually split into smaller groups and took off for different destinations in D.C. and Virginia. Some stayed at the house to swim and relax, some went into a nearby town and did some shopping and two groups headed back to D.C. for sightseeing. One D.C. group took the Metro into the city and began at Arlington Cemetery. They walked to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guard. It was one of the most solemn and moving experiences ever. Then they walked down to Kennedy's grave. All the way are rows and rows of white headstones in an incredibly beautiful and peaceful setting. At that point the second NMOL group arrived and we split up to go in different directions. One group that was sightseeing took the Metro farther into the city...the wrong way first to the wrong part of D.C.... and then were able to find their way back...was that the orange line or the green line?? They were able to do serious shopping and never lost Fred once. Some then caught a bus to the Vietnam Memorial. There are just no words for it. Then on to Lincoln Memorial (had forgotten that those steps are practically vertical!!) and from there walked to the Washington Monument and over to the White House. Talked to a Secret Service young man and teased him about watching the parking gate!! Not sure he saw our humor. By then it was time to walk to the Metro and head back home. Joann met a gentleman on the Metro who was "a bit alcohol challenged." There was much chuckling over that experience. Finally on the way home in our car we got a "little lost" but it must have been God's plan because we met Ed. He was walking down the street and we stopped to ask for directions. Seems Ed was leaving for "over there" in the morning. With tears in our eyes, we wished him well and told him he was in our prayers.
Meanwhile another group had headed out to do some serious shopping. They returned with all sorts of goodies to show us! The last group just stayed home and relaxed and got things organized for dinner that night. It was a great southern dinner that refueled everyone for the fun and laughter to come for our last night together.
Before dinner we had a bit of a "roast" and presentations of gag gifts. Cyndi and Bugs were presented beautiful memory quilts made by Deb H with the signatures of many of our members. There wasn't a dry eye in the house after that!
It was an absolutely riotous fun "bonding" night. We had the pleasure of having three sailors in attendance and I believe they saw their moms and friends in a totally different light by the end of the evening. Goodie bags and pictures were a priority and hugs upon hugs. Sunday morning we had a wonderful brunch at Quantico arranged by our host "The Marine." Brunch ended and we all said our very tearful goodbyes. How could the weekend be over so quickly!! We made plans for the next reunion and wondered..."how do we top this?" It was an incredible weekend.
- Kathyk26 & Synd95 -
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