Saturday, June 02, 2007

In reply to my Navy "regrets"

I posted a meme and one of the questions was "3 things I regret"..... The Exception questioned why I left and why I wish I hadn't. Rather than just post my reply in the comments. I figured I would tell the story here.

1992 I joined the Navy for many, many reasons. Basically I needed a huge change in my life and it was sort of like running away from home but not really. And, not really from home but from my current life because it just wasn't going where I wanted it to. So not really running away in the hopes of getting away from problems.... just running away in the sense of change.

Love it from the word go. Boot camp was actually kinda fun! Yes, fun! I loved the physical challenge of it. I loved the discipline of it. Did not like parts but overall, it was a great experience. Ask me my favorite part and I'll tell you it was the week of Fire and Damage Control. That is the week we went in the gas chamber.....

First duty station was a helicopter training squadron. Over the 3 1/2 yrs I was there, I did just about everything. I quickly became the expert in most of the Admin things. I worked in Student Control inputting student grades, keeping track of flight times and making sure that the pilot-to-be didn't miss a step in training. I also did the new student orientation and helped organizing the winging ceremony! It rocked! I then worked in our Admin office which basically ran the whole squadron. There we took care of the staff and instructors. I did Legal when I worked there too. Oh and supplies and I went from an E-1 - E-4 by the time I left. I earned my Air warfare Specialist wings too! I couldn't fly but it meant I knew about all aspects of aviation. I got to ride in a helicopter which was the best thing EVER!!!!!

This is also when I meet my husband and had our first two kids. So that first 4 years just flew by!

We then went to Norfolk, VA. I worked for Supreme Allied Command Atlantic.... or SACLANT or the bigger name of NATO. This was a huge assignment, I thought. I ranked up again within just a few months of being here.

Let me explain that really quick. You have to be in your current rank for X amount of time and between each the time gets longer (as you move up). Then when you are ready, you have to complete a certain amount of course work and training, then you take a test. Your evaluation, test score and points for certain awards gave you a score. If you scored higher than the cut-off, you were then ranked up.

I had a great experience here too. But, it was also during this 4 years that I knew that I wanted a divorce. I know the exact moment I knew we would get a divorce. December 1998. He rejected me yet another time to watch TV.... I had shaved (if ya know what I mean).... Came to him in a sexy outfit and he told me to move so he could watch his show. He said he would come upstairs after he was done with his show. Well he didn't get any that night or any for the next year at least. I started talking to a lawyer but in the state of VA you have to be separated for a year before you can file. During that time we did go to counseling but were both seeing other people too.

So time, some how, we stayed together. I don't know why. I guess I just decided that this is who I was just going to be with unhappy or not. So we stayed together. But, we just had spells when one or the other of us wanted out. We never quite recovered.

Well he was never very plugged in to the kids. Especially H who some how became the scapegoat of everything that was going wrong. H was the reason I was fat. H was the reason my body had changed...... And, while yeah, in a way its true. I DO NOT blame my child for that nor take out my frustrations out on him for it.... My ex did. He said it ALL the time! He also compared the kids a lot. I also couldn't trust him to feed them well. He just let them snack but never would feed them meals (he has come a long way with this). He never really engaged them in activities and things.... I just felt like it was all me!

So when the time came to decide if I would take orders to a new duty station and reenlist again or get out..... I called to see what was available. I could go to a ship or overseas without my kids. I thought about it and decided that it was in their best interest to get out and move back home. I wanted them to have a more stable life (which after 7 years I feel they finally have).

So basically I got out because I didn't want to leave my kids and I wanted to make sure that I was around them. But also I don't like moving every 3-4 yrs and being in limbo while you wait to pick orders or are assigned orders....

I wish that my ex would have been more plugged in to our family or at least just the kids. Then I would have stayed in.... or at least I might have.

And, another thing I left out, my ex was in but he was medically discharged so that made my decision easier. He was going to be in so I just figured I would get out.

I really miss that life. The structure of it sometimes though. It was like a big family. And, when the USS Cole was bombed in 2000. I cried because that was one of the ships they asked for me to go on. I would have been on it when it was bombed. I felt like I should have been there with my shipmates...... And, the 9/11, I wanted to go back in. And now with the war in Iraq..... granted I would just be on a ship or something but I should be in.

Oh well that is my story.....


guygm said...

Hi! Thanks for the comment. You are right... Maybe I need to slow down a bit... Thanks!


lincldad said...

I don't know that it would be called a regret for making a descision that was best for your kids. There ya go, no regrets.

TxGambit said...

Yes, sir!!! Of course keep on truckin' but just take it slwoer. Sometimes when you aren't looking you find just what you are looking for. (I will probably post this on your blog too, just in case you don't come back).

Lincldad.... You are right, I shouldn't regret it and really most of the time I don't because I know I made the right decision but I think I mention recently to you, if I had to say I regret something, that would be it. It was such a great experience that it is hard not to look back at it and think.... Where would I be now that I would be going on 15 years in? I would be *this* close to retirement and still be young enough to have a second career. :)

The Exception said...

Thanks for sharing this. As it happens, we were in Norfolk at the same time. I was not there for a tour as I am not military, but knew people in the different branches of the service that were stationed there. In fact, I lived just outside the Shipyard kind of behind NATO.

A friend of mine left the Navy for her kids and her aging parents. She complained about the Navy, but she loved it all the same. Although she loves being able to spend time with her kids, she misses her career, the structure, the feeling of doing something that was good for the country at large. Thanks again for sharing your story.