Wrestling with a deployment

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Wrestling is an ancient, universal sport. It was one of the original sports of the ancient Olympic Games and various styles can be found across the globe. Staff Sgt. Raymond Drummer II, and his son Josiah Drummer, share a passion for the sport of wrestling.

This passion serves as a link between father and son while Raymond Drummer II, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuels systems craftsman, is deployed to Southwest Asia with the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Raymond, who wrestled in high school and on the Aviano Air Base wrestling team, introduced his son to wrestling at the age of five.

“My son showed a natural talent for the sport of wrestling at a very young age,” he said. “Since he had so much energy I figured I might as well put it to good use.”

Josiah began wrestling 3 years ago. At first he wrestled for a local team before eventually transitioning to an elite environment.

“I started off wrestling for a club in Wheatland, California,” he said. “When I got better we moved to an elite club in Loomis, California.”

Wrestling serves as a way for Raymond to connect with his son. In addition to Josiah’s normal practices, Raymond has coached him at home and cornered him in his matches.

“Coaching my son in wrestling is the greatest feeling in the world,” said Raymond. “I get to teach him how to wrestle and bond with him at the same time. Wrestling brings us and our whole family closer. The best part is seeing him apply what I taught him in our garage at an actual tournament and use it to win matches.”

With all of that support, Josiah has already experienced extensive success in his wrestling career, which many never will. He has won various prestigious tournaments.

“I like to win,” said Josiah. “I have won Rumble Arena, Reno Worlds, and local, state and national tournaments.”

Most recently, Josiah qualified to represent the National United Wrestling Association for Youth (NUWAY) team known as Cali Gold. He competed in the eight and under division of the NUWAY National Youth Duals in Ft. Wayne, Indiana Jan. 7-8. During the competition, Josiah wrestled competition from all across the nation and ended with a record of 4-2.

In the lead up to the NUWAY Duals, Raymond deployed in November for his eighth time.

His latest deployment has been an adjustment for the Drummer family. Raymond’s wife and Josiah’s mother Jessica Drummer, has seen her relationship with the sport evolve.

“My role has changed a lot. Normally I’m in charge of making sure Josiah eats right,” said Jessica. “Now I also remind Josiah to work out, do drills at home and take him to practice.”

Josiah admits wrestling is different without his dad being here to coach, corner and encourage him.

“My dad motivates me and wrestling feels a little harder because he isn’t in my corner,” said Josiah.

Raymond acknowledges the difficulties which come with being deployed during wrestling season as well.

“Josiah looks to me for guidance,” said Raymond. “When I am not there to calm his nerves or motivate him, I know it is just that more difficult for him.”

The deployment hasn’t stopped Raymond from keeping up with how his son’s wrestling season is going.

“My wife has done a great job of keeping me informed about his wrestling,” he said. “I also email the other coaches for updates, but my favorite way to keep up is getting on Skype with my son and having him tell me how things are going.”

Wrestling has remained a constant in the life of the Drummer family and the challenges they overcome during wrestling season are a statement to the resiliency they possess.

“My family is strong,” said Raymond. “They honor me by taking care of business at home while I do my part in defense of our great nation.”