When it comes to the other communities and how their deployments are, I really have no idea. Today, I thought I’d do a little Q & A type of post about what our normal is in the submarine community. For my non-military affiliated readers, A is in the US Navy and works on a submarine. Yep, it’s insane and I still have no idea how they manage it. To me, they’re all crazy, but someone has to do it!
We’ve been on Oahu for a little over 3 years and A is currently doing his 2nd deployment on a submarine. I get a lot of questions about him when he’s away and that’s where we are today.
How do you guys communicate?
This is actually one of our main struggles. Our main source of communication, unless they’re in port, is email. With my experience so far, emails have served us well. During our college days of long distance and time differences, emails served as our main source communication. I like to say there’s always some sort of art to emailing and we have it down on lock. Our emails tend to be a few paragraphs and informative. With some of my fellow sub wives friends, they’re lucky to even get a few sentences.
Email can be pretty darn sketchy. For example, they might not even receive your email at all and vice versa. And I feel like that has been more true this deployment based off of his replies, definitely some missing holes in the timeline. But that’s just how it is.
I don’t email everyday because most of the time I can’t conjure so many words to pass as a solid email. It would definitely be rambling about nothing at all. But we have a system, where we date every single email. Makes it easier for me to ask him if he received certain emails. And I never expect a ton of emails because of how busy they are.
Are your emails screened?
Yes they are, so we’re constantly being warned about what we choose to share with our sailor. If they see something and decide to edit it out, an automatic editing notification will be sent to you. To me, that has always been a sign that my email was received. Whoever this guy is, I can only imagine the stuff he reads!
Letters and Care Packages?
You are able to send mail to anyone on a submarine, but you’ll have to consider the amount of time it may take for them to receive it. I’ve never done it before and don’t think I will. However, we do have random mail drops sprinkled throughout deployment and that’s usually when someone is meeting up with the boat. That lucky soul gets the task of carrying letters from all of us to everyone on the submarine.
As for packages, if you decide to mail them one, most of the time they won’t receive it until the end of deployment. So yet again, in my opinion, not always the best idea.
Before A left, the ladies of the wardroom each adopted a single sailor guy and made them a halfway box. I made one for A too, so in sense that was my version of a care package for him. We can’t exactly send them more than one care package during deployment because the lack of storage space on a submarine. Someone is usually storing stuff we send with them in their sleeping space.
I don’t always participate in mail drops, but when I do, I have cards ready on hand to be written on.
Hurdles and Silence
With any deployment, there’s plenty of hurdles that you’ll have to get over. Our first deployment was a major learning experience, so I was already prepared to what to expect this time around. And I lowered any expectations that I may have had, so that has worked out pretty well for me.
Early on in the deployment, they had a port call, so I took advantage of that to talk to him as much as possible. With the major time difference, I didn’t care to lose sleep over waiting to hear from him after his work day. We have a pending PCS move not too long after he returns, so there was still some things we needed to figure out. We won’t find out where we’ll be going until next month.
Port calls are a great time for skyping or even phone calls. A is very anti-smartphones, so we don’t do phone calls at all. And that’s a normal thing for us as well, we just don’t talk on the phone that often unless it’s on a need basis. This last port call, he did call because we needed to revise our wishlist for our next home when we PCS. Let me tell you that I cried like a baby after we hung up, we’ll just add that to another reason why we don’t need to phone each other haha.
Silence. We’ll go quite a few weeks of complete silence. That can definitely be the hardest time for anyone; the world of the unknown. During that time, I tend to stack my days with something to do and surround myself around people. Those are the times you never want to be idle with your thoughts, it can make it miserable.
Where is he?
This is probably the #1 question I get all the time from people. And I always answer with I don’t know. As A’s wife, I’ll never know where he’s at, it’s completely confidential. And I LOVE not knowing, it definitely helps me sleep at night. Weird, but true.
With any military spouse, we all have our tough days, but we keep on trucking through because the end is always rewarding.
What are deployments like for you, feel free to share below? And if you have any questions for me and the submarine community, don’t hesitate to ask!