I didn't want to bring back the old thread I had been updating because it was about my being new to the Navy. That's not the case any more (I also don't like resurrecting old threads). I have training experience, pier-side experience, and a deployment from which I learned much about myself, life, happiness, tolerance, and respect.
I may have mentioned this in the other thread: I'm assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76 in Coronado, CA, just outside of San Diego. I love San Diego and Coronado! Great places. I wish I could spend more time there, but alas, we must go underway again for a month when I return, and then retire to Bremerton, Wash. for a drydock period next year. I'll miss San Diego, but I'm looking forward to the new place!
I'm currently on post-deployment leave back home in Ohio. It doesn't feel like home any more. I've been to so many places around the country that I now feel perfectly comfortable living anywhere. Five year ago this would not have been true. I broke out of my safe zone and I'm better for it.
Our deployment timeline (I have forgotten most of the dates):
Underway on Feb. 2 Underway for the next 76 days! Humanitarian relief for Japan tsunami recovery/radiological assistance mid-March through late April First port: Sasebo, Japan Second port: Phuket, Thailand Third Port: Bahrain Underway for 78 days supporting soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, then more "maritime security operations" elsewhere in the area. I'm still not if that is classified or not. I know what we were doing, but it was kept extrememly secret. July 30: Re-enlistment for six years from that date, with an enourmous bonus. Fourth Port: Hong Kong Fifth Port: Guam Sixth and Final Port: Pearl Harbor Tiger Cruise from Pearl to Home Port Moored in port North Island Naval Air Station (NASNI) September 9.
I can provide more details if you want to hear them.
You learn a lot about yourself in these situations. You are cramped into a berthing with 150+ other guys with very little personal space. There are few secrets. Deep friendships are created, others lost, and old ones maintained and appreciated newly.
Our jobs in Reactor Department are very stressful. On such long days on long underways, all you look forward to is getting back to your rack to sleep or sit next to your best guy friend to watch a movie or play a video game while trying not to think about how life outside is passing by while yours remains on hold. It can get depressing, but It can much worse.
I had never seen two straight grown men cuddle until then (I've never seen gay men cuddle either...I think). And it didn't seem unusual. Most guys don't though, but the love is still the same. The alternative is to get on each other's nerves and make the time unbearable.
DADT was repealed while we were away, and nothing changed for us. We already knew who was gay. Many were open. It was probably the least consequential thing that happened as far as policy. The government lockdown was far worse. We almost didn't get paid! But I don't want to talk about that. Politics are boring now. It never changes. There are far more interesting things to talk about.
The little things really do make me happy. Chatting with a friend in a passageway for a few minutes before moving on to your next task, sharing (bad) meals while teasing each other in good nature, borrowing movies, borrowing books, working out together, and ribbing around on watch are all the small things that keep us from going nuts.
A sense of perspective helps too. What we do is some of the least dangerous work in the military. Every time I felt down because I wasn't doing my job the best I could, or I felt really stressed due to the work load, I just thought about the soldiers and Marines we were supporting, or the people in Japan who were hurt or killed. We're safe. They aren't.
I think the most important thing I learned is that I can handle almost anything. We are always stronger than we think.
I promised Ponies. I saw an older thread but I didn't want to resurrect it. So, yeah, I got completely into MLP FiM while we were out. I'm a grown man in the Navy! And yet I still have "daaaaaaawwwwww" reactions to this stuff. I have my own explanation for the Broney phenomenon (I think I can happily call myself one), but I know why I like the show. It's the most positive, creative, and adorable show I have seen in years. Seeing this kind of thing can really help get your mind off the drudgery of your job, especially when you can't leave it.
The secret thing about guys and why the show is popular among 20-somethings is that we really love adorable, cute things, but modern Guy Culture just doesn't allow us to show it. I doubt this show would have made it far, but throw in gorgeous animation, great characters, good stories, and we're in!
I want to say that my life feels fulfilled, but thats not true. Don't we all experience emptiness at some point, and find ways to fill it? Instead I'll say I am the most content and happy I have ever been. I have good friends thanks to the Navy, and opportunities once I am out. I could have made it had I not joined the Navy, but I think I am far more enriched now.
Posts: 684 | Registered: Jun 2002
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