It’s been a weird sort of day.
Earlier this afternoon, I shook hands with all the people I’ve worked with on the ship over the last six and a half months, grinned as an O-6 told me I did a great job for him, then walked off the brow for the last time.
I’ve departed ships before of course, but this was a bit different. I’m not permanently assigned to this vessel; I was here on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of a specific Task Force. On my other sea duty assignments, I was with the ship for 3+ years, and saw the crews change out almost entirely from when I first reported to when I left. Not so with this one. The same guys who were there when I first came aboard were the same guys I said goodbye to, and I was only aboard for 6 and a half months.
But hot damn, that was a fun six and a half months!
I’m flying home tomorrow on the first flight out of Guam. And I’m happy to be doing so. But part of me is a little sad, too. Part of the reason for that is I know the ship’s schedule for the next half-year, and it is KICK-ASS! Would have been nice to be aboard for the cool things in support of operations she’s going to be doing. In fact, the Admiral at home and I had a cool plan worked out where I would extend a bit and she would meet me at one of the ports of call that she’d been wanting to go to for years. But alas, my parent command raised the BS flag to that plan and ordered me back.
Oh well. I’ll just have to bring the Admiral there (and to Singapore, which I think I mentioned before she really wanted to come out for but was unable to) at a later date.
The other reason I’m a little sad? I guess because it’s just been seriously fun out here, and I feel like I’ve actually been contributing, something that I’ve not felt in a long time. See, I’ve been in CONUS at training commands for a long time now, and even when I was deployed on my subs, the deployments were only tangentially related to the big business that had been going on. So I’ve felt like a REMF (Rear Echelon Mother Fucker), which is not what I had intended to be.
Of course, the Admiral, and everyone else, tells me that’s BS. And intellectually I know they’re right, because as a training guy I’ve indirectly helped the effort in lots of ways, ways that can probably never be measured.
It still sucks to not have contributed directly as much as I would have liked.
Which is part of why I volunteered for this IA deployment: it was a chance to directly do something again. And it’s been a heck of a fun ride. 🙂
(The other reason I volunteered is that the Admiral complained on several occasions that she didn’t feel like a real Navy wife because she hadn’t experienced a deployment since we were married, and since we had kids. So when this billet came open, I of course had to say, in my best Barney Stinson voice, “Challenge Accepted!” And boy did she accept it. She’s literally kicked ass on the home front while I’ve been out gallivanting around.)
So anyway, it’s time to go home. It’s been a productive deployment. Obviously, productive for the Navy and the Nation, but also productive personally and professionally.
Now. Did I meet my previously-published deployment writing goals? Yeah….not so much.
Just going by the first two months of the deployment, it looked as though I was going to be a shoo-in. But then things got pretty darn busy. So I didn’t meet the word count. But I did finish one novel, get a good chunk of the way into a second, and finished several shorter works. I have three novelettes on submission now, with a fourth story just about ready to go. So while I didn’t exactly meet the word count goal, deployment was still a success.
It was successful physically, too. Observe:
Yeah, your eyes do not deceive you. I got a freaking TAN! Hot damn, I’ve never managed to do that before!
That’s what happens when you exercise on the aft deck of a ship pretty much every day, in the tropics, for six months. Even if you indulge in way too much beer while ashore in liberty ports. 😉
I’ve also read a lot of books. Over the last month, here’s what I’ve finished:
- The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova
- The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
- Darkship Thieves – Sarah A Hoyt
- Running From The Night – R J Terrell
- Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman
- Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia
- Veil Of Lies – Jeri Westerson
I’m currently in the middle of:
- A Canticle For Liebowitz – Walter M Miller
- Violence Of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War On Terror – Marty Skovlund, Jr and many others
- In Hero Years, I’m Dead – Michael A Stackpole
- Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (I’ve put this one on hold while I’ve focused on other books…for now)
With that, over the span of this deployment I’ve finished 19 Audiobooks and 25 written. Not too bad. Well above my average. Probably above my total annual output for an average year, I think. Though I could be wrong.
So it’s been a good deployment. Now I’m slumming it at the Hilton in Tumon, Guam.
As I said, my flight home is first thing tomorrow morning. Cool thing about that is I’ll get back to San Diego late in the morning of the same day I left Guam. So I’ll get to surprise the kids by being there to pick them up from school. 🙂 I have the feeling they’ll like that.
No doubt there will be some serious adjustments to make when I’m back home, both for me and for the Admiral and the youngsters (they all will have to get used to being spanked again ;P Just kidding. Maybe.). It’ll be a cool and fun several weeks getting back into the swing of things. Fortunately, I’ll be taking some leave immediately upon my return, and then again once school gets out. That should help things immensely.
Well, that’s about it from here. In fact, as I look at my watch I realize it’s now beer o’clock.
I’d best be getting on that.
Talk to y’all later.