HOW TO BE MARRIED TO A MARINE FIGHTER PILOT--A Marine Corps pilot's wife: F-4s, F/A-18s and aviators from my perspective.

Friday, August 12, 2011

TADs and Deployments #3


Never liked them.

When I was first married, even a night away from my guy brought lonely to live at my house until he returned. Later, before kids, I learned to tolerate it--appreciating the time to get projects done: a special Christmas present, putting mirror and redwood panels in our bath (It was 1976!), or just to have a day or two to read a book or visit friends without needing to cook dinner or hurry home. After kids, having him gone at all meant no relief at the end of the long day, no adult ear to listen to my joys and woes and ain’t-our-kid-cute? stories.

But all those short cross-countries had a different quality than the TADs. Most of those lasted two or three weeks somewhere else: Tyndall AFB, or Nellis AFB, or Fallon NAS. When my husband left on a TAD, something always happened to remind me why he was indispensible around the house. TAD might as well stand for Things Always Deteriorated.

One time my guy was TAD to Fallon. First, the car quit working. Of course. Then I opened the door to the tow-truck operator and my dog leaped in the air with shark eyes to bite him. I put my hand out to stop her and she bit me. The red feather pulsing out of my arm told me the bite had punctured an artery.

Thank goodness for my civilian neighbors who drove me to the hospital, cleaned up the blood and watched my three young girls. We no longer see each other across the street, but I remember and am grateful. Pennies for Heaven.

Later, when I shared my tale of woe with Andy, he felt bad but he couldn’t do anything about it. I remember he was angry and worried and helpless all at the same time. He flew fast jets, practiced Air Combat Maneuvers--ACMs; control and situational analysis were his mantras. When Things Always Deteriorated when he wasn't around us, he had no control and he couldn't watch out for the bogeys. He’d rather be with us at night then go back to a BOQ room. I’d rather have had him with me at night, too.

But he did love the flying.

So many of our military today are serving back-to-back-to-back deployments, mostly in a war zone. This blog post is for those who stay at home, who take care of the kids and the house and the car and their hearts so there is something to come home to. Make friends with your neighbors--even if they don’t understand what your spouse does. Who knows, your car might break down.

And to the neighbors of our military families--reach out.

Thinking of all of you today.