I have briefly hinted in a few of my posts that I am a military wife.
A submariner’s wife to be exact.
My husband and I have endured three deployments together. What few people fail to realize is that unless a fast attack submarine is broken or due for repairs, they are constantly in and out. Even without a deployment looming fast attack submarines average 200+ days out to sea.
This amounts to a constant whirlwind effect of underways. Home for a few weeks, out for a few weeks. Home for a few days out for a week. It’s a never ending schedule clashing headache.
And you can’t just have a schedule and stick to it. Never! There are delays, last minute schedule conflicts, and things breaking. I have this inability to write his schedule on the calender in pencil. If you look at my summer calender it’s got a lot of scratches and very angrily scrawled revisions.
It’s undoubtedly frustrating for everyone involved.
A cardinal rule being a military wife, is that if you’re given a schedule.. you have very limited freedom in sharing that schedule with the world. You don’t call up all your friends. You don’t message the dates in emails/private chats. You can’t be waiting in line in Starbucks gabbing to your friend about how hubby is leaving Friday while sporting a USS <insert sub name here> t-shirt.
This is to keep our sailors safe. We don’t want another USS COLE incident.
If the schedule is divulged.. usually it gets changed.. Oh that nice port call in France that 10 wives purchased non refundable tickets to during deployment so they could visit with their husband… Yeah that got cancelled and they end up porting somewhere else since one of those wives posted countdown days on facebook until they see their husband. (this is an example, it did not actually happen)
I think my husband’s captain has beaten OPSEC as much as a dead horse by now. Every time we see him in the support group he informs us all of what is acceptable, and what isn’t.. and yet still people are so quick to divulge information.
This previous deployment was our first with facebook being a relevant source of information sharing. If the schedule changed, I learned it via facebook well before I got a phone call. Seriously, how did these women even find out so soon to whine about it on facebook?? I’m a bit bitter about that. I had to wait hours to get the details on their “vague” status posts.
At our last meeting the Captain had a very “I told you so!” spiel regarding facebook and OPSEC. I can’t remember if he said it was our sub per se, but he used locations and times where the schedule did change for our boat as examples.. NCIS using nothing but general searches at first, was able to figure out the crew roster of a submarine. Then used that roster to track the family members. They were able to map out the entire schedule of the submarine including scheduling changes..
You have to figure.. It can’t be that hard to hack into such a huge social media outlet.
My husband and I are very lock and key type people. Other than myself, no one needs to know the schedule. I tell family and friends to always expect him not to be here, and be pleasantly surprised if he is. I understand that frustrates people, but I could care less. I’m not going to the be the wife that has to live with the fact that terrorists could have gotten my husband’s schedule from me.
And really what’s the point in sharing a schedule that seems to have a 75% chance of changing anyway???
There are a few people in my husband’s family that just.. don’t get it. I try to be patient. I really do. I don’t see why we all can’t just live by my above line of don’t expect him to be anywhere. Would you prefer to plan for him to be at everything and get upset when he’s not?
My husband’s birth mother is wanting to come up and visit. There was no “Hey all, I would love to come visit. Would it be ok if I stay with you all?”
It was more like “I am coming up for my son’s birthday. Since I’m on oxygen I need your address so I can have it shipped there before I arrive.”
Actually it happened more like this:
My husband’s birth mother’s birthday (wow tongue twister?) was last week. My husband failed to call her on her birthday. He did remember the next day. <~ That really sums up their relationship.
He came to visit me at work. Where all I got was “I called my real mom today” before the topic was brought to other things. Then he gets a phone call from his birth mom. I could hear every single thing she said.. which mirrors the needing the address portion.
Inwardly I’m freaking out. She wants to what now?! I asked him when he was going to tell me. He said he had started to… haha yeah ok..
Then the next thing I said was.. “For your birthday.. huh.. Are you even going to be here for your birthday?”
Very good question.. is he going to be here? I’d say 99% chance that no he will not.. so I let that sink in… waiting for it click .. the schedule had changed but to what no one even knows..
So he called her back immediately before she ordered her oxygen. He was farther away from my desk this time but I could get the gist. No, he didn’t know when we would be home an extended chunk of time this summer. No, he can’t tell when he’d be out to sea or for how long. Looks of help to me, since it’s usually me that handles these discussions with his family.
Later on I get numerous phone calls from his dad’s girlfriend. Apparently his birth mother had called her upset because my husband had made it very clear that he didn’t want to see her this summer. Even though I remember my husband telling her that the fall was a better time period. I informed her that since I had been there to witness the phone call that is not how it went at all…In fact there is a 5 day window that I gave the girlfriend to give the mom that she can visit. I’m pretty confident that this free block of time will not change. I could have given her a longer window period but I actually have plans too and I’m not about to cancel them last minute. Selfish? Maybe
The birth mother is lucky she didn’t come to me.. Because I don’t apologize for the life we lead or the restrictions it puts on me to divulge information. My husband has just come off a 4 year shore leave. There were FOUR YEARS where the sub life wouldn’t have effected her coming to visit. And not up until this very week did she ever show interest in coming to visit.
I’m mildly frustrated that 12 years into his naval career we’re still having to explain OPSEC to family..