Deployments: Costly. Remembering Why We Do It: Priceless.

An installment in the New York Times Deployment Diary

There is a vintage poster I saw years ago touting the slogan “Join the Navy, See the World.” Early in our marriage, we fulfilled it, hiking the jungles of Saipan where my grandfather fought during World War II, watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, exploring the castle grounds in Kumamoto and jumping from waterfalls in the Northern Territory in Australia. Over his first deployment, I met his ship in exotic ports at every chance.

His second deployment was to the Middle East, where his adventures were of a different kind: flying in combat as an air ambulance mission commander. This round, he is again attached to a ship that will (I hope) pull into a port that allows visitors, but whether or not, with two toddlers, I’ll be able to make the journey overseas remains to be seen. Consequently, when my husband and several of his shipmates were asked to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston a few weeks ago, I knew I had to take advantage of the chance to see him. A dear family friend agreed to watch our children, and for the first time since our pre-parenthood days, I set off to meet him for a child-free weekend.

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