Does He Stay Or Does He Go?

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. 
~Author Unknown

Note: This post was written CENSORED TIME ago (yeah, I try to be funny, but in reality, it’s an OPSEC thing so I can’t tell ya nuttin’!). 

Last night, my husband came home and told me that in 20 minutes, he’d know if he was leaving for his patrol (deployment) the next day or possibly the day after. Cue my panic attack. He wasn’t supposed to go for another week. I know things change, but I like to have a bit of notice. Even a day or two would be good.

So I ran around trying to get his halfway box put together (which I planned to do this weekend since I actually had some days off). I hadn’t purchased everything I wanted for it, but I had enough stuff to fill it. Twenty minutes came and then an hour. Huzzy called the boat and they hadn’t heard word yet. So we went to bed.

At 0400, we got up because even if Huzzy didn’t have to leave for his multi-month patrol, he had duty and therefore had to be at work at the buttcrack of dawn. Actually, before dawn.

I drove him to the base and stopped at the bus station (since only submariners are allowed to go to lower base) and kissed him and watched him board the bus. I don’t know when I’ll see him. It could technically be tonight, if they are indeed leaving tomorrow or the next day. That is, if the other crew does “last night duty” for them. Basically, that’s where the other crew fills in duty so the guys going on deployment can spend the last night before leaving home. However, if it is, indeed, tomorrow and the other crew can’t or doesn’t want to come in to relieve the guys, I’ll see him when he gets done with his patrol. If it’s the day after, I’ll see him for a few hours (hopefully) after he gets done with duty and before he has to leave to go to the boat for the patrol.

Of course, it may still end up happening when it was originally scheduled, or anytime between now and then. Or after then. Who knows.  He told me he’d call me and give me a sign (because he can’t say anything about boat schedule) if he was leaving. I haven’t heard from him. But that doesn’t mean something isn’t still happening.

I hate not knowing when I’m going to see him again. But I’m looking at Facebook and several of the wives are talking about making dinner and hoping their husbands come home in time. So I’m assuming it’s not today/tonight.

That’s one thing I dislike about submarines. The guys come and go and there’s no fanfare. No “welcome home” that most other commands and other service branches have. It’s silent. No one knows our sadness of our guys going away because we can’t tell them. And we can’t tell them until well after they are gone.

And we can’t even begin to show excitement about them returning because that would signal they WERE returning. And for a submarine, that is deadly.  We silently gather on the pier and wait for them to come back. There’s no excited tweets or Facebook posts saying we are SO FREAKIN’ excited to head off to base to get our guys. Just the internal excitement. Sometimes it’s like a great secret that only you know and no one else does. But it’s a secret you just want to SHARE.

Of course, I just got the call as I was finishing this up and I know he’ll be coming home tomorrow. At least I’ll have that. He’ll tell me when he gets home what the plan is. Ya know, until it changes again! It’s always something! Such is the life of a sub wife.

*After-the-fact note: my husband ended up leaving AFTER his original scheduled date. However, between the time this was written and the time he left, the schedule changed or was threatened to change many times!

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6 thoughts on “Does He Stay Or Does He Go?

  1. Or, if you live there, you don’t even get to go to the pier for homecomings except for very rare, controlled occasions… Definitely takes some of the shine off of it! I always feel a little sad when people are sharing around their great homecoming photos because I don’t have any. Well, okay, I do have one, rather fuzzy one of my husband and I carrying his stuff to the car after he saw his kid for the first time. He didn’t even hold him until we got home, but at least I took a picture of that! I am glad I could drop him off at the pier when we lived there, though – I have many a fond /sad memory of hanging out at pre-dawn, kissing in the car while we watch his crewmembers go through the last security check before walking out the the submarine, waiting silently for them. He’d wait as long as he could, then I’d have to drive back alone. Sigh.

    That said, the actual departures were a lot less stressful than all that “threatened to leave, then not” stuff. That always drove me crazy! Here’s hoping you can pass this deployment faster than you think!

  2. My father in law was a submariner. This post helped so many things click. I’m in Aviation, so there’s always those things that are lost in translation. Thank you for making me understand my new family more.

  3. It always makes me sad that when my husband leaves, he and his crew go in civvies and nobody here really knows anything, for the same reason. They come home the same way–this was the first time he walked the pier, watching everyone else get welcomed home and they still had to get on a plane and fly halfway across the country. Unless you know what submariner smells like, he’d just

  4. (sorry, my phone posted this early by accident) be some guy sitting next to you on the plane. It is a tough job, and a crazy one, and I also envy those families that get the big homecoming with fanfare and everything.

  5. i thank you for this post so much. 1. for keeping others aware of opsec and being an example of how to maintain those guidelines(i’m an ombudsman–ha!) and 2. for sharing the reality of his job & giving me some perspective. my husband is a reservist now, but when he was active duty, he was able to experience the homecomings. his deployment departure as a reservist, however, was leaving via our hometown by plane in civilian clothes, to go to another state for a little more training before again flying overseas. while i don’t get to experience the sailors coming in at the pier and all, i will get to get on a plane, fly to the state he’ll be flying back to, hold up a sign at the airport and happily welcome him back to the states. i can be happy about that!

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