My husband is currently TDY¹, which is usual for his job as a Submariner. In the Submarine World, normally you have an Ombudsman². A TDY assignment is a whole different Ocean. Because you and your family aren’t “Officially” attached to that command, it may mean you aren’t always afforded the benefit of access to the Ombudsman; not to mention an entire group of other spouses and their families going through the exact thing you are. Knowing a few friends “in the same boat” …goes a long, long way!
If you’re not familiar with Submarines, there are no phones and email contact is very limited and very often suspended. Besides packing a few envelopes labeled like “Do Not Open this Until ____!” in your husband’s sea bag; there are only two ways to get physical mail to the submarine. The first is the US Postal Service. Submarine spouses are given a rough schedule and can attempt to mail letters or care packages directly to the boat. Both will be forwarded to the next port the submarine is expected to pull into. Mail insurance is a Must! There is always a very real possibility the packages may be bounced around to port after port, due to a changing schedule or even lost all together! The second way letters and packages are delivered to the boat is called a “Mail drop”. Mail drops are usually scheduled and arranged within the command, which unintentionally does not include families like my own.
Thankfully something wonderful happened transpired this morning…
Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Submarine wife spouse, since then she and her beautiful family have constantly been an inspiration and a wonderful example to my family. New assignment orders have taken them off island, but we remain in touch thanks to the sometimes infamous Facebook. The Submarine community is quite small and as it is, my husband is TDY to her husband’s command; giving me a priceless connection and some serious peace of mind.
After some excited back and forth chatting about the Navy’s 214th Submarine Birthday Ball, my friend mentioned that there is a Mail Drop coming up, and if I wanted to I could email her a letter to be delivered to my husband. I was beyond excited!! I literally jumped up, rounded up the kids and got to work! Thanks to my thoughtful friend and the sometimes troublesome technology; my dear husband will get this letter.
Had my friend not offered, undoubtedly there would have been nothing handed to my husband at mail time!
I implore you to take this to heart, should you ever be in the position to help your fellow military spouse, do it! I hope sometime soon, you too are the recipient of such kindness… as always… Pay it Forward! –Kapolea