Obviously, being in the military, I can’t speak for anyone else but myself (and my husband!). We are a dual military couple in the Navy. He is a PRP Master-at-Arms and I am an Aviation Technician. We both love being in. But we both also hate it at the same time. It’s a love hate relationship for the easiest most difficult job in the world. My thoughts in coming in were something like, “oh my gosh, my life is going to change, I’m going to travel the world, get away from home, save lives, do something cool, different, I’m going to be so bad ass!” But it’s not really always like that.
+There are long… and I mean loooong stretches of time where you are doing nothing. Literally absolutely nothing. They call it hurry up and wait. (Because that is exactly what you do, they make you hurry up so that you can wait around.)
+You have to arrive 15 minutes before the 15 minute arrival time. So lets say you have to be somewhere at 0630. Okay, so the actual time you have to be there is 0615 but you have to be there 15 minutes before the actual time to be there on time, so the time you need to be there is 0600 and not a minute later!
+When you go to boot camp, or on deployments, or to the boat, prepare yourself because you will see everybody’s booty. I mean all the people you live with during that time frame. You will shower with them, poop in front of them, pee next to them, sleep next to them. EVERYTHING. So when you are actually back home, you tend to be okay with having conversations with your friend or co-worker pooping in the next stall with you. Pump and dump breaks, that’s what those are called. So lets just forget privacy all together.
+Speaking of pee, prepare to pee in a cup and watch people pee in a cup. Urinalysis for drug testing is a virtue. HA.
+Don’t ever fall asleep around your people. Ever. Even if you hide from them, they will find you, and as much as you want to think they never would, they will pull some kind of crazy prank on you. It’s a given. Unavoidable.
+The amount of time you spend doing your actual job is 25%. The other 75% you are TAD (assigned to duty somewhere else) doing someone else’s job, doing duty section work (cleaning the same spot over and over and over…. and over, or standing watch). Or you are cranking (cleaning, painting, chipping paint, working in the kitchen, cleaning the officer’s quarters, etc), basically TAD but to somewhere terrible on the ship.
+If you just made a new and amazing friend, whoops! Say goodbye because they just orders across the world to Japan.
+Prepare for 60% of your co-workers to be divorcing when you get back from deployment. Half of their wives are already gone and they took all the furniture and all the money.
+Feeling sick? Whoops, you can’t just call off! You better go to medical (where they give you some ibuprofen and send you back to work for everything) and make sure you get an SIQ chit before we can let you go home. It’s too bad if sick call is closed and you can’t get an appointment til next week too.
+Oh you want to get braces? You need a day off? You want to take a college course? Want to buy a car? You need to get off an hour early on Wednesday because your wife is having surgery? You better write a request chit and make sure to ask 50 different people for permission! (Takes minimum 2 weeks to get approved 75% of the time).
+It’s thundering and storming next week? Oh let’s make sure we schedule our PRT’s for that week specifically then and everyone can get sick when they go run outside!
+It’s 10pm, and we need you to come in because you wrote the eval wrong and I’m really mad at you and it’s the end of the world so come in right now and fix this eval right now.
+Salute the officer… Officer stares away and walks in opposite direction as if he didn’t see you.
+Memorize instruction number 10384728574138473872398572458.01 because you need to know it when you are standing watch in case the CO asks you during inspection.
+Every base has a different name for the dependents. Dependapotomis. Whidbey Whales. Bangor Danger. Oh it goes on.
+Mil Spouses are EVIL. Most of them anyway. Some of them think they have RANK!!!!! So be aware! You wouldn’t want a Commander Dependa yelling at you when your standing in your garage next door.
+GMT this. GMT that. Prepare for training ALL the time. Long hours, of long long long talks.
+Structure and organization is key. SIKE! Chaos and disorder works better. “There is a method to the madness.”
+Prepare for long hours of no sleep, nothing, zip, nada. Good bye normal sleeping schedule forever!!!!
+Oh you just started working nights? Okay well come on lets move you on day shift again for a few weeks!
+Your mom and pops didn’t get gray hair til they were 50? Say hello to gray hair in your early 20s baby!
+Also say hello to random patches/circle where hair won’t grow on your head for like a month.
+We are not seals. Navy seals are amazing. Those guys go out there, and they’re just amazing. Don’t confuse us for them.
+The Navy wouldn’t run without us. Sometimes our jobs are very minuscule compared to others, but the job is important no matter what. Even if it is chipping paint!
+We are family. We love each other. We care about each other. You never let your brothers or sisters down.
+We spend holidays together. We’re all we got. We cook for each other, take care of each other. Watch out for each other.
+We save each others lives every single day. We make sure our mates aren’t doing silly things to risk their lives.
+We love fighting for this country. That’s why we do it.
+You see so many beautiful places, so many amazing things, even if you only go to that country and get drunk, at least you saw it!
+We love each other. At the end of the day, even after we bicker and fight, we care about each other. We go through the same things, we see all the ins and outs, and we know what it’s like.
+Although the job can be very stressful, working with a team, working with people that want to get the mission done helps you get through your day.
+If you don’t know what you are doing, someone else does and they can teach you. There is always someone that knows and someone that’s willing to help.
+Laughter is everything. You will laugh at one point or another because your shipmates will always be caught doing something weird or funny in those long stretches of boredom.
+Uniform pay every year? I think yes. (It’s like this mini bonus, LOL)
+If you take a picture of something funny enough, it might end up on “ShXt my LPO says”.
There are so many ups and
downs with the military. So many things that make us angry, or happy, or sad. I have days where I hate it and can’t wait to separate and days where I love it and I’m excited to go to work. It’s all what you make of it. Things are changing all the time and in 10 years it might not be the same Navy. But we enjoy it while we can.