I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I was recently contacted by a college student doing a research topic. She was gathering some field research on military families when she stumbled across this blog. Her research mostly focused on the children, but she decided that she would like a parent’s point of view as well. She asked me 5 questions, and while I answered each of them in an e-mail back to her, I thought that I would post the answers here as well.
1. What is your definition of family?
2. How many times have you been deployed and/or stationed away from your family?
I have deployed 3 times. The first one was the shortest at only 4 months, and CinC HOUSE was pregnant with our daughter at the time. The second was 6 months, and our daughter was about 6 months old when I left. The third was also 6 months, and our daughter was about 14 months old when I left.
One of the misconceptions about military service is that if you’re not deployed that you’re home. This isn’t usually the case. In the Navy, ships always have to get underway for anything from training to maintenance to fleet week visits. These can range anywhere from 2 days to a couple months (my longest non-deployment underway was 30 days). It would be impossible to remember how many times I’ve gotten underway for a few days. If I were to estimate, I would put it somewhere between 20 and 50.
I’ve been very fortunate to be on shore duty for the past 3 years. I’ve been home for my son’s entire life and I’ve gotten to reconnect with the rest of my family.
3. How does it make you feel to leave your family behind while you serve our country?
Painful. I would love to say that I feel noble for sacrificing for the greater good, but the honest answer is that it’s just painful. It’s impossible to describe how much it hurts to wave goodbye to your wife and kids, knowing that you won’t see them for 6 months. You know that you’re going to miss so much. There are ways that I justify it and then cope with it, but I’ll save that for a future post.
4. Was your father/mother in the military?
My dad was in the Navy for 3 years back in the 70s. He was a Signalman on the USS King. He got out long before I was born, but his tattoos still tell the story. As an added bonus, my younger brother is also in the Navy. He is a 2nd Class Quartermaster (coincidentally, this is the job that Signalman turned into).
5. What made you want to join the military?
I’m not 100% sure. I remember wanting to be in the Navy since I was pretty young. I actually enlisted in between my junior and senior year. I didn’t even bother applying to any colleges, and I left for boot camp about a month after I graduated.
If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of money for college. I would also guess that I felt like joining the Navy was a really quick way out of North Dakota. I honestly don’t remember all the reasoning behind it. I don’t even know if there was reasoning.
Thus ends the question and answer period. As always, the above words represent my opinion only. If you have anything you’d like to ask, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. You can reach me at militarydadblog(at)yahoo(dot)com.