It’s one thing to wish the deployment would never come. It is quite another to have that wish come true. When the carrier Harry S. Truman cancelled deployment within days of departure due to budget concerns, it left a lot of families not knowing quite what to do next. How do you plan for the unplannable?
Daniela’s husband was scheduled to do his first deployment on the TRUMAN. When they found out about the cancellation they were in shock. Daniela wrote, “We looked at each other and simultaneously said, ‘What do we do now?’
Daniela is in school at her local community college in TX. She lives with her parents. She wrote Military.com's Ms. Vicki asking, “We’re newlyweds, and I'm not sure what I should do! I could move to be with him in Norfolk or I can stay here. We have no idea when he leaves, if he leaves. Thankfully all our stuff is packed in my apartment. We didn't sell cars or furniture.”
Daniela is looking for some tips or advice. I have a few things in mind to get her started, but I would love to know what you would do with a cancelled deployment. What would you tell Daniela and all the other family members attached to the USS TRUMAN? I’d start with:
This is a weird time. Cancellations of deployments don’t happen very often, so it is hard to predict what will happen next. Since 2010, our country has maintained a two carrier presence in the Persian Gulf. That has now changed. What will happen next? No one really knows for sure. Not even the Secretary of Defense.
Military life is lived in spurts, not stretches. It would be great if the military would give you a blow-by-blow plan of exactly what will happen next. That ain't gonna happen. Decide to do the best you can with what you know now and deal with tomorrow when it comes.
Expect your sailor to be bummed. Our servicemembers miss us as much as we miss them--so there is a part of them that is glad not to deploy. But the deployment is a time of training for them. Deployment is a time sailors are using the skills they have learned. Taking the ship out on deployment is the point of being in the Navy. So expect a little professional disappointment—and don’t take it personally.
Be here now. If I were Daniela, I would come to Norfolk now. Texas is too far away to geobach. So I would jump right in and get an apartment and be with my beloved while we could. I would contact Tidewater Community College (I love those people) and get them to help me transfer my credits. I would not wait until I was promised a long time to be together before I moved. I would take the cancellation as an opportunity to start our married life together. Right now.
But that's just me. What kind of tips or advice would you offer Daniela? Should she stay in Texas with her parents until the situation sorts itself out? Or should the couple assume they are staying in Norfolk ashore for the foreseeable future?