A Marine’s Guide To Deployment Aboard a Navy Ship

February 7, 2021 Topic: Security Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: U.S. NavyU.S. Marine CorpsMarines

A Marine’s Guide To Deployment Aboard a Navy Ship

Life on the boat is what you make it.

For the few that I knew that had an issue with it, it didn’t last long. If you are prone to it, there’s always Dramamine to get you through that first rough patch. For an even unluckier few, Dramamine and other motion sickness medications don’t help, but that is rare.

Be prepared!

Keep in mind, space is limited–very limited. You’ll have a locker to store your valuables and everyday items, and then your seabag with the lesser-used things (you won’t need your woolly pully near the equator) will likely be stowed away in a closet somewhere. You’ll be sleeping in racks that are stacked three or four high on top of each other. So just like when you were five (or 25, no judgment here), call the top bunk! It’ll give you another foot or two of headroom. 

I recommend packing some non-perishable foods to snack on to get you through the first month or two. Beyond that, ask your loved ones to include protein bars, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, and anything else that will keep in their care packages.

The internet situation while afloat has improved in the 13 years since I was on the MEU, but not much. Internet is still nothing close to what you’re accustomed to at home. You won’t be binge-watching Netflix. I would suggest downloading a lot of content on your laptop, and it couldn’t hurt to get a cheap portable DVD player and raid the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Bring backup chargers for your electronics. Everyone and their mom will be electricity-dependent, so bring your own personal power strip or your phone and laptop might be fancy paperweights before long.

Keep in mind that the ship will occasionally be in “River City,” slang for when the ship is in a state of “Reduced Communications.” Only classified channels can communicate, which means you won’t be able to send emails or check Facebook. This can last a few hours or a few weeks, depending on how long operational security is required. So bring a few books and magazines, and learn how to play spades. Those squids know all the card games.

Remember, it’s worth it

I’ve done a lot of griping about life on the ship, but I wouldn’t trade that seven months for anything. I took two college classes. I went through Corporals Course. I earned a Humanitarian Service Medal for the aid we gave to Bangladesh after a cyclone hit in November of 2007. I went to a zoo in Singapore. I almost got arrested in Dubai. I got to see the coast of Kenya. I walked next to domesticated kangaroos in Perth, Australia. I was welcomed into a private party and drank with the locals in Tasmania. I was in Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day and walked on Waikiki Beach.

Again, life on the boat is what you make it. Try to remember that everyone else on the ship is going through the same things you are, maybe more. People will be nasty and rude. Try to be the person that breaks the tension instead of adds to it. Make sure for every moment where you’re saying to yourself, “This sucks,” that you’re also taking a moment to look around you and ask, “When am I ever going to see something this cool again?” The opportunities are there if you look for them.

Tory Rich is a Marine veteran.

This article first appeared on Sandboxx News.

Image: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Achterling.