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Personal Stories Relationships

by Gary R. Warren,
Relationships Military Deployment

Anyone familiar with the military lifestyle has undoubtedly heard of servicemembers receiving a “Dear John” letter. I found myself being in such a situation. I had been in the service for a few years and met quite a lovely lady after returning from a deployment overseas. After meeting at a billiards tournament, we hit it off and became serious fairly rapidly. Very much in love, we decided to get engaged after about six months.
After announcing our engagement, things continued to progress rather nicely. The inevitable then happened. This new relationship would be tested with an upcoming deployment. The days ticked off the calendar and the deployment date arrived. We would spend the last few days together prior to flying out to San Diego to catch the aircraft carrier. The day of the flight, we drove to the base airfield together and waited together until the departure time arrived. We said our tearful goodbye’s and I watched her standing at the gate window crying as I boarded the plane.

After arriving in San Diego and getting my gear stowed in my living area, I went to the base bowling alley, grabbed a pitcher of beer, and sat out on the patio talking to the love of my life at the time on the phone. We talked for the remaining hours before curfew expired and I had to board the ship for the last time in the U.S.A. for a minimum of six months.

The following day, we draw anchor and head out of Coronado Bay enroute to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Once you get off the coast about 5 to 10 miles there are no more cell service for days. Luckily we still have email access and sporadic internet access if you are in a mission critical job. The deployment went on and as the weeks passed the contact with my lady love became less and less. The decline in communication kept dwindling until I received an email from my neighbor across the street. The report was that there was a different car in the driveway nearly daily when he went to work and many times, it would still be there the following morning as he would leave for work. I kept sending the emails and calling when I had the chance. The payphones onboard the ship were famous for not working properly. Even when they worked properly, they charged $1 per minute. The majority of that time was ate up asking for the person to repeat what they said due to all the static and delay involved.

The deployment came to a close and I returned home. When I finally arrived home, the house was dark without power, and my lady was nowhere to be found. I called her cellphone and found out it had been disconnected. I went to the legion that night for a pool tournament and guess who was there, that’s right, my lady love. My best friend and league teammate was there as well and informed me that they had been seeing one another even before I had deployed.

I was filled with rage and somehow refrained from choking the living-hell out both of them and went to another bar to drown my sorrow. This is a pretty familiar situation for many of the men and women that serve our country. Sad but true.