USS Harder, a diesel submarine. That class of boats was named for fish.
When we first married, he was at Dam Neck Naval Base in Virginia Beach to learn to maintain the computers that control the Polaris missles on the FBM class of nuclear submarines which was named for US presidents and explorers. I met some of the neatest people then and am still friends with our close group. It was my first time living out of state, and I have great memories of it.
The two FBM's he was on were the USS James Madison and the USS Lewis and Clark. It was strange when he was on patrol. There were two crews (blue and gold crews), and they alternated three-month periods. We couldn't hear from them while they were gone because the boats could receive messages but not send them because they were deterrent weapons. We were allowed three family-grams per patrol and got an extra one when we had a baby (a baby-gram). We had to call someone at the base who took down our twenty-word message that was transmitted all over the Atlantic and eventually typed out for the recipients.
I was so paranoid about saying anything that might breach security because wives had been arrested by the shore patrol for it and their husbands demoted and sent to a surface craft. Co-teachers would ask when my husband was coming home just to be friendly out of concern, but I couldn't even give an approximate date. I'd say it would be soon or in a month or something like that. Actually we didn't know and had to start calling a special number to find out when the plane would be at the Air Force base that brought them back from Rota, Spain, or Holy Lock, Scotland, bases where their subs sailed from. There was a calling network, so we'd know we could call that number.
Security was high since a whole crew could be wiped out by blowing up a plane. Navy Seals checked out the subs thoroughly before they went to sea for depth charges. I respected all the security because it was vital, and I wanted them to get home safely. He made sure not to tell me things that I would have to decide were safe topics or not - that "need to know" policy. I was tense the whole time he was gone and just about relaxed before I started dreading his leaving again.
On this Veteran's Day, I applaud all those who are in the service of our country and who have ever been and their families. Thank you!
Professional Skateboarder Brian Anderson comes out
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