Communication on Subs

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by PNWNative7, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. PNWNative7

    PNWNative7 New Member

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    Hello! I started dating a naval submarine officer a few months ago and things were going really well, (eg, he met my family and I met his fellow officers, etc). He let me know the dates he was going to be deploying and then I didn't hear from him suddenly and I found out he was around for about a week before he left and just wasn't able to talk for some reason. It's his first time actually out on a deployment underwater. Is that normal? Do sub guys ever have to surrender phones, etc before setting out?
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Though we have come a long way from letters as the sole means of communications with deployed people, especially Navy, it's a simple matter of mission parameters, capability, capacity and security.

    There is an old sub movie, "Run Silent, Run Deep," the title of which about sums it up. That's their mission. For subs to remain "invisible," they don't leave traceable evidence in their wake, including electrons.

    There may be infrequent occasions when short personal emails are allowed. Military comm channels are meant for official business and emergencies. Much depends on the mission.

    Phone calls and texts. Not a lot of cell towers where they travel. Ditto non-military internet access for personal use. Personal phones are not allowed in or near many military spaces, for info security reasons.

    Write letters, and number them on the outside so he knows in what order to open. They get delivered in bunches as that's how mail works with deployed vessels with infrequent opportunities to receive stuff. Those opportunities are called "Mail Drops." This is especially true for subs especially, which can remain submerged for long, long stretches of time. It's amazing how good a handful of real letters feels on deployment.

    Be aware, too, that before military people go on deployment, that's what they start focusing on, getting into the 24/7 at sea mode, and beginning to separate from home routine. It's normal and natural. Being deployed at sea, especially subs, is a different, all-consuming, world.

    My sympathies. Focus on being healthy, productive and as happy as you can be. See how you feel about this and how well you cope. People in healthy relationships with military have to be strong and independent. Have conversations about how best to communicate and show support when he is deployed.

    If you know his sub name, and don't have address, Google USS "FISH" address. Look for navy.mil sources.

    The envelope would be:
    LT Salty Hatchcover, USN
    USS FISH (SSN 123)
    FPO AP, or AE or similar, ZIPCODE

    If he is out for a short at-sea period, no mail may be planned at all. FPO = Fleet Post Office
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    And, if your relationship progresses to a serious stage, the sub will have a family support group, for spouses, BF/GF, etc. That can be a great help on long deployments.
     
  4. PNWNative7

    PNWNative7 New Member

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    Thanks, Capt MJ! I really do appreciate your response. It certainly makes me feel better. Luckily this time around it's a shorter deployment and I was added to the list for the support group so hopefully the next time around and for a longer deployment, I'll be more prepared :).
     
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  5. osdad

    osdad 5-Year Member

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    On the other end of the deployment...you will not know when he'll be returning until a couple of days beforehand.; and the actual time not until maybe 24 hours before. And don't be surprised if he's called out for another deployment right away - the boat most ready to go to sea is the one that just returned.
     
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  6. boymomnavylife

    boymomnavylife New Member

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    I am 29 weeks pregnant and going through my first sub deployment, we he left I was 12 almost 13 weeks pregnant. He been gone for almost four months and have not heard anything from him so far. Right before he left he said to me I'd hear from him once maybe twice but everyone thinks he is ignoring me and that he is dipping out (we aren't married). I have his work email but we did not talk about how communication much before he left other than that. I did some research on his sub and it said they went into a five-day port somewhere in Japan but who knows if that is true or not but noting from him then no phone call or nothing. He should be back in two and half months, but I want to know if not hearing from him for this long is normal. This is stressing me out and I feel like I am losing my mind.
     
  7. hokiesfan

    hokiesfan 5-Year Member

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    It can happen, yes. One of my son’s deployments was like that; one call early on and then nothing for over four months. At least I lived near the base and had contact with the ombudsman & Family Readiness Group (FRG) to know that they were fine and just not able to be in touch. Families that lived further away were not so lucky because they couldn’t be at the meetings in person and nothing could be said by email or social media. Further complicating things was that the info release forms for several of those newly assigned to the sub were lost and that meant the ombudsman could not release any info to their families. Other deployments weren’t quite so bad but still had long stretches with no contact at all.