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Advice for a (possible) Naval Aviation wife

Charlie86

Member
Hi all. I hope this is the right place to post this, if not, please be so kind as to redirect me...

My husband is putting his packet together to apply to be a pilot in the Navy. Recently, things have been kicked up a notch because he made it through MEPs (a process that took nearly a year) and it looks like he has a decent chance of making it it given his background and scores. The first board he would apply to would have a due date shortly after our first child is born in June. I have a few questions/concerns that have been burning the inside of my head, and have had some difficulty getting some of them answered. Hopefully you ladies (and men?) can help me out :)

1. How much time does you spouse spend away from home? I realize that this is different for every career and pipeline, but I would LOVE to get some anecdotes on this so I can start piecing together what reality looks like so we are fully aware what we're getting into. I would really like an idea of what percentage of nights I should expect to spend with my spouse gone so I can begin mentally preparing myself.

2. For those with kids, how do they handle their parent being away so often? Do they like the lifestyle of moving around a lot? Do you feel it has been beneficial to your kids' character and development to live a Navy lifestyle as opposed to one where their parent has a regular 9-5 job and is home every night?

That's it for now! Any other general advice is greatly appreciated as well.
Hi! I am a wife of a Naval Aviator (hubby just retired after 28 years-8 were active duty). He flew the MH-53 Sea Dragon (huge helicopters) and since they were too large to really go out on carriers, he was never stationed away on a ship. He did land on ships now and then, but they were not assigned to one. We were always stationed stateside in Virginia and California. He did get deployed to the middle east during Desert Storm, and that was for about 5 months, but that was during war time.
Pilots don't always have a say about which aircraft they are assigned to fly, but there is a chance that yours may end up in a similar situation. Just wanted to help you to know that not all pilots are "away" for extended periods of time.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Hi! I am a wife of a Naval Aviator (hubby just retired after 28 years-8 were active duty). He flew the MH-53 Sea Dragon (huge helicopters) and since they were too large to really go out on carriers, he was never stationed away on a ship. He did land on ships now and then, but they were not assigned to one. We were always stationed stateside in Virginia and California. He did get deployed to the middle east during Desert Storm, and that was for about 5 months, but that was during war time.
Pilots don't always have a say about which aircraft they are assigned to fly, but there is a chance that yours may end up in a similar situation. Just wanted to help you to know that not all pilots are "away" for extended periods of time.
I think the HM community has changed since your husband was active duty. My peers who flew HM in the past decade all spent a good amount of time deployed. Two long cruises/deployments is a pretty good expectation for the OP to have for her husband's first tour. Not sure how long long cruises are these days; when I was a JO 6mo was still the standard and then it went to 7 and Bataan did something like 11 during Inherent Resolve.

My info us over 10yrs old but I deployed twice for 6 and 5mo as a JO. but I also did lots of other dets here and there that added to my time away from home. In the end I was away more than half of my 3yr JO tour not counting duty days and working the night shift when I'd go to work when my wife was coming home from her 9-5. Then I did a test tour so I was gone for at least 1/3 of those 3yrs too. And then I went overseas on orders that said "unusually arduous sea duty." That ship spent 14 out of the 18mo I was there at sea. And when we were home I had weekend duty, etc. Bottom line is to expect him to be gone at least half of the time and then to have lots of other obligations when he is home.

I'd also say to remember that there are plenty of non-military folks who work long hours or are away a lot such as cops, docs, international business, sales, oil, airlines, etc. In addition there are plenty of people who move a lot as they climb the corporate ladder. I say this to provide the perspective that there are plenty of people out there who work jobs with large time and travel commitments and have families. Some kids do really well with lifestyles like that and others don't and I think it gets harder as they get older. But you're just going to have to wait and see how your kids respond. My daughter to this day is very flexible with new situations and meeting new people. My son far less so. But you'll also find that each kid is unique so whats good for one may be the worst for the other. In the end all you can do is make the best of it. Families that approach the lifestyle and who are all in on it seem to do better. Families who lament not living in their hometown with Grandma and Grandpa close by or having to move seem to struggle with the lifestyle.
 

Charlie86

Member
I think the HM community has changed since your husband was active duty. My peers who flew HM in the past decade all spent a good amount of time deployed. Two long cruises/deployments is a pretty good expectation for the OP to have for her husband's first tour. Not sure how long long cruises are these days; when I was a JO 6mo was still the standard and then it went to 7 and Bataan did something like 11 during Inherent Resolve.

My info us over 10yrs old but I deployed twice for 6 and 5mo as a JO. but I also did lots of other dets here and there that added to my time away from home. In the end I was away more than half of my 3yr JO tour not counting duty days and working the night shift when I'd go to work when my wife was coming home from her 9-5. Then I did a test tour so I was gone for at least 1/3 of those 3yrs too. And then I went overseas on orders that said "unusually arduous sea duty." That ship spent 14 out of the 18mo I was there at sea. And when we were home I had weekend duty, etc. Bottom line is to expect him to be gone at least half of the time and then to have lots of other obligations when he is home.

I'd also say to remember that there are plenty of non-military folks who work long hours or are away a lot such as cops, docs, international business, sales, oil, airlines, etc. In addition there are plenty of people who move a lot as they climb the corporate ladder. I say this to provide the perspective that there are plenty of people out there who work jobs with large time and travel commitments and have families. Some kids do really well with lifestyles like that and others don't and I think it gets harder as they get older. But you're just going to have to wait and see how your kids respond. My daughter to this day is very flexible with new situations and meeting new people. My son far less so. But you'll also find that each kid is unique so whats good for one may be the worst for the other. In the end all you can do is make the best of it. Families that approach the lifestyle and who are all in on it seem to do better. Families who lament not living in their hometown with Grandma and Grandpa close by or having to move seem to struggle with the lifestyle.
Yes, it has been a while for us! Hubby was also a flight instructor and functional test pilot, so that could also be why he was never deployed. Although at the time, none of the 53 mine sweeper squadrons were deployed either. Our time as a military family was wonderful! We are proud to have a (hopeful) future SNA in our family (packet has been submitted!!!)
 
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