Hail & Farewell...finally.

It's been a week and a half since Sean finally got relieved and had his official hail & farewell...this ending our his department head tour and giving him a brief respite before moving into his post-department head/shore tour.  For those non-mil readers...let's start at the beginning...

My awesome partner was the Weapons Officer (WEPS) on the USS Tennessee.  That's a submarine and more specifically, a ballistic missile sub.  To be relieved simply means that the PWEPS (prospective weapons officer) finally took charge and became the WEPS leaving Sean to go on to his next duty station.

The Hail & Farewell (H&F) is a military tradition that is pretty self-explanatory.  It's a celebration to welcome incoming and thank/say goodbye to outgoing individuals of a this case, the wardroom's (aka officers) H&F was to hail the new WEPS & CHOP (supply officer) and say goodbye to the Hubs & old CHOP.

Sean's stint was 42 months...the longest serving department head on the USS TN.  Not to be outdone, the CO will have a couple months over that making him the longest serving CO onboard.  Even though Sean missed out on an entire week of leave (vacation) because the turnover took twice as long as expected...this whole tour was a good experience for the both of us.

We leave having made some great friends (MELISSA, Kelly, Lynsey, Melissa J., Dara, Stacie, Ashley, Lenna, Kristin, Stephanie, Amber,, etc.) and excited for whatever our future holds.  For now, it's off to a nice looooooooooong shore tour and staying put in our home here in VA.  It was a weird experience to be the "senior wife" and looking back to when Sean was a recent USNA grad and starting this whole experience in the submarine community and my first tastes of a military spouse's life.

I was really thankful for this tour.  I remember what a hot mess I was when he started and we had just moved down to FL.  I had him home for 2.5 years and knowing he was leaving so soon after we had moved to a new state, in a home where he had recently punched out an intruder (in our brand new gated golf club community...which goes to show you...crazies don't discriminate), with two toddlers whom I had not had to be a single married mom to.  Hot mess, I tell you.  It was so bad that my recently-turned-3YO daughter comforted me and told me that it would be ok and when Dad got home we would go see Mickey Mouse.  Poor Baby...we didn't see Mickey until 2 years later RIGHT before we moved back up here to VA.  Weird thing was that he had a ridiculously long junior officer (JO) tour on a fast attack sub and was out 90% of the time (specifically his boat).  BUT...I was still working in DC and we didn't have Kaia until the end of his tour.  Still, I was used to having him home for 2.5 years and that erased the basically 3.5 years we were apart during his JO tour.

I remember loving the independence I felt being a single married mom and knowing everything rested in my hands...good and bad.  There's definitely a sense of pride you get handling all different types of emergencies that only occur when you're a single married military spouse.  ;o)  I loved how my kids could handle Daddy leaving without shedding a single tear knowing that Daddy would always be back. kids were rockstars.  They weren't the military brats who have any separation anxiety issues and/or act out because one of their parents is gone.  

Happy children saying goodbye.  Happy children while Dad's out.  EXTREMELY happy children when Daddy walks through those gates of the lower base with his giant body sea bag reeking smelling of boat (sub) smell.

We won't talk about the time I kind of freaked when I saw an Asian American dude in khakis walking through the gates...looking a lot chunkier than when he said goodbye.  We also won't mention that it was a chief that was NOT my husband.  To my defense, he usually would pork up a bit because, although sub food is among the best in the Navy (as it ought to be since these guys are in a tube underwater for months)'s also sodium-laden and not as healthy as my cooking...and anyone, ANY ethnicity would've looked like him to a person who is legally-blind.  Yes, the optometrist told me last week that I am officially legally blind.  But I digress... was great to go to the farewell.  Sean, being the simple guy he is, wanted the wardroom to just go out to lunch.  BUT...the CO wanted a proper H&F and we took over 1/2 of the restaurant in a private area.  The kids were able to raise havoc get up and stretch their legs and leave the rest of the dining population in peace.

Sean is a pretty reserved guy...introvert to my extrovert.  But man...the dude is funny...even when he isn't pirating my stuff.  ;o)  I think most of the wardroom was surprised to hear him talk so much and Shannon (the old CHOP) said that Sean was a hard act to follow.

From stories of Sean's infamous flatulence to avoiding answering incorrectly by taking the "physical challenge"...I know I'm lucky to have this guy around all the time.

And bless Shannon's heart...he found Sean's beloved mug that had been lost in the boat's change of neither of us have to hear him whine complain talk about his lost mug...because it's sitting in our cupboard safely at home now.


Melis said...

Aw Tan - what a great post! I think the pictures are good, too! (Not D90 good, but still!) I can't believe how sentimental I'm feeling as our FINAL farewell approaches... Yikes - this didn't help! You guys are amazing. Sean is a great guy and you're a fantastic friend and a true role model for me as a wife, mother and overall member of society... And don't even get me started on your kiddos, whom I adore, and that picture of your son being a goof is one of my favorite ever! Love him! Seriously - the Tennessee lost some good people. And I'm super sad to be moving away - thanks for all you done for us, the boat and your country!

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

gotta love hails and farewells. wow..all this Navy talk is something to get used to!

Steph_Byers said...

I literally spit out my water all over the computer when I read the part about you calling the sea bag a body bag!!!! LOL I can't wait to smell that stench... Thanks for all your help while we were getting settled in here & I'm glad you're not going too far!

liza said...

These are great nights filled with completely opposing emotions. Congratulations on having your ALL of your hubby back. ENJOY!!!!

how's the new cam working out?