I was talking to a girlfriend of mine recently and she mentioned that she found out her husband would be deploying on his first combat tour (in 2004) through the grapevine. Apparently, her husband was TDY when the rotation schedule was announced. He was not happy that she heard about it from someone other than him. The conversation made me laugh in that slightly twisted way that military spouses sometimes do. The way that says, "Yep, I hear ya sista."
Every family is different and each service member has their preference for how they wish to deliver the news. My husband's hand was forced.
We were getting ready for a formal and my husband asked me to sit down. That's when I knew something was up. He said that I may hear some talk that night about a deployment and that yes, he would be deploying soon. It's not that a deployment at some point was unexpected, but you know how it is when you hear those words for the first time.
Had it not been for the formal, I think my husband would have waited a couple of days to tell me. We had previously been separated for a year by a tour in the Middle East and he knows I tend to slip into that memory-creating mode when he's going to be leaving.
The funny part of the story, and something I didn't know until much later, was that during dinner, one of our table mates kept talking about the dangerous aspects of Afghanistan. I knew that part, obviously. But my husband kept kicking him under the table as if to say, "You idiot." Heh.....
Many of you, given the constant deployment cycle, are used to this by now, but I'd be interested to know how you heard about your spouse's first wartime deployment. And what was your initial reaction?