Just received some good words from Eric Eder:
“I graduated and was left unemployed and moved home to Texas after a month of bouncing from couch to couch in Indiana. I took a job as an office “hey-boy” for an oil and natural gas company in Fort Worth. I knew that the Petroleum industry would be neat, but it was not my cup of tea. I turned down a job in Midland and enlisted as a Religious Program Specialist in the United States Navy.
After proposing to my college sweetheart, Rachel Wolff (DePauw Class of ’06), on New Year’s Eve 2008, I left for bootcamp in February 2009.
Military Boot Camp is weird. At times it feels like fraternity pledgeship: yelling, running around, and learning about things completely foreign to you. The difference is that there was nothing to look forward to (not much fun and it got old fast). Thankfully, it didn’t last forever and I was soon on my way to Mississippi for “A” school as an RP.
Now the RP is the rating designator for a Religious Program Specialist. I am the enlisted support for the United States Navy Chaplain Corps, serving the Sailors, Marines, and Coastguardsmen of the Sea Services. Unfortunately, I cannot be an officer in this field as I can’t be a Chaplain! I’m a devout Roman Catholic and a married man; this eliminates me from being a Priest, and thus a Chaplain. It’s humbling being enlisted, but service to God and Country is a pretty cool thing.
So where was I? Yes, “A” school was pretty easy and I enjoyed seeing a couple of Fraternity brothers in the Mississippi area: Jeremy DeFatta ’09 and LeeCoye Parker ’10. And soon enough, training was over, my mother had dropped off my truck, and I was on my way to Camp Lejeune, NC for combat training.
Now this one was tough! We had a lot more freedom than in bootcamp, but this training was to prepare Hospital Corpsmen and RPs to serve alongside Marines! Lots of hikes with 80 pound backpacks, marching, rifle work, and field tactics. It was pretty cool.
After graduation I was ready for my first set of orders and sent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA. This base is about 20 miles south of Washington, DC and famous for being the Crossroads of the Marine Corps. USMC Officer Candidate School is located here as well as the Marine Corps University. On average a Marine will pass through here at least 2 or 3 times during his career. I am the RP for Headquarters and Service Battalion and work with two Chaplains, caring for the spiritual needs for 3000 Marines and Sailors and their families. Needless to say, we keep pretty busy.
So, I had just gotten used to life in the military, when it was time to head back to Indiana and get hitched. Luckily, Rachel was hard at work putting the wedding in order and leaving me with little to plan. We were married on March 13, 2010 at St. Louis de Montfort in Fishers Indiana. Geoff Calvin ’08 served as the best man, along with: Alex Goga ’08, Evan Wagoner ’06, Andrew McGlothlen ’05, Mike Karam ’08 and Erik Whipkey ’09. It was quite the shindig, and freshly blessed Mr. & Mrs. Eder left for Cancun soon after the wedding.
Honeymoons do end unfortunately – although I could see how Jimmy Buffet does it: floating from place to place in the Caribbean, drinking rum, and keeping busy watching the waves.
Well, I made it back to Virginia with my bride and settled into a little apartment just outside the base. We enjoyed our marital bliss throughout the Spring and Summer until eventually getting a house on base. This made the wife much happier as it’s big and in a safe locale. Nothing like having a gated community with guards packing M’16’s! I like it too – it’s 1 mile to the Battalion I am attached to and 1 1/2 miles to the Chapel! Easy commuting!
We’ve also learned that Rachel is expecting! I think it was September when we found out about the pregnancy. She is due on Easter Tuesday (April 26th). We’re very excited and very frightened at the same time. He is a little boy and will be named Leopold “Leo” James Eder (Wabash College class of 2033).
The winter has involved a trip to Texas to pick up baby items and my childhood belongings and a short visit to Indiana with a baby shower and a chance to catch up a with a couple of Wallies. I was also promoted again on December 1st to Second-Class Petty Officer. Pretty good for a guy who has been in the service for less than two years!
Great to hear from you, Eric! Send us some pics of Leo when you get a chance – congrats, “Dad!”