Richard received word today that he has been awarded orders to the USS Eisenhower. People call it the Ike and that's what I'll be calling it from now on, so don't be confused.
He is to report to the Ike on February 10, 2010. He was supposed to transfer in early January, and we're not sure why his report date is February 10th, other than the Lord heard my many prayers and performed a miracle. Really. This is very odd. But VERY good. They are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan on January 4, 2010. We're assuming that shortly after he reports on Feb 10, they will fly him out to the ship. This will make his deployment 5 months instead of six.
This also means he will be home for Lillian's second birthday! And we will possibly be able to go home for the holidays, whereas it wouldn't be possible if he deployed Jan 4.
It will make his first month on the ship harder, as he will get grief from the other crew as well as having to catch up on learning stuff, but he's up for the challenge.
He should get some holiday leave, as in past years, either the two weeks before Dec 28 or the two weeks after. He is also entitled to up to 30 days of transfer leave. We're trying to find out if that is to be completed by Feb 10 or if that starts Feb 10. He might also not be granted both periods, he might have to choose. We don't know yet, he is trying to find out some more information.
We do not have written orders yet. PLEASE pray that the Feb date is not a mistake and that his written orders come through ASAP and have the Feb 10 date on them.
He is excited about these orders. And is excited that his reputation is good enough with a couple senior chiefs already on this ship that they pushed the orders so that he would get the job over any other applicants.
He will be on "sea duty" for three years beginning February 10, 2010. As far as we know right now, the Ike will deploy Jan 4, 2010 for six months, returning the beginning of July, 2010 and go directly into the yards. This means the boat will go into dry dock to be worked on. Richard will still report for work directly to the boat, in the yards, which will be in our area, but not directly at this base. It will either be in Portsmouth or Newport News.
The boat is also scheduled to go on deployment sometime in 2011, although we don't have dates yet.
Other than the cruise deployments, which typically last six months, he will have to be on the boat every time the boat pulls out of the dock. The ship has to stay "qual'ed" so they will be pulling out of the dock for several days each month when they are not on deployment.
The Ike has an "8 duty section". Duty on the Ike is different from his duty now. Now for duty, he has a 6 section rotation. When he's on duty now, he's basically "on call"-he can't leave his 'recall number' (our house) unless he calls in for an errand (church, grocery store, etc) and sometimes, he will be required to work a shift on a weekend he has duty or do a watch or flag duty when he is on duty. However, on the Ike, a "duty" lasts 24 hours and he is required to be on the ship the whole time. So once every 8 days, he will be spending 24 hours on the boat. of course, this 24 hour period for example, would start at 6am Tuesday and end at 6am Wednesday but then he would have to still work Wednesday so he would be gone from 6am Tuesday until 3pm Wednesday. We're not sure how they do the weekends. At his command now, they only schedule Fridays. If you have duty Friday, you have it all weekend long. This command might assign each day separately though, we don't know.
Moms-Here is a site that says its the official website of the "Ike Moms"
Others- Here is the official website of the Ike
And here is the wikipedia entry for the Ike and here is another navy site on the Ike
None of them are super informative with anything really helpful, but all that info is classified of course.
Richard will need several things for cruise that he will be adding to his Christmas wishlist in the coming weeks. And he will also be compiling a list of things that will be good to send him in goodie boxes while he is gone. Because he will be on a ship, space is very limited, so he would like to request certain things, and ask that not much more than that is sent. I will have him constantly keep a list updated so you know what he would like at that specific time. He can always use phone cards but needs specific kinds. He will find out exactly what kind and we will post that information also.
These orders mean:
1. We will be staying in Virginia until early 2013.
2. R says we will look for orders to Florida at that time. (I have three years to compile arguments against that and create stunning protest signs.)
3. We will not be buying a house in Virginia. (Our good friends are taking $15-18,000 to closing in two weeks to get rid of their house.)
4. Lillian and I will be staying in Virginia, in our current apartment, while Richard is gone. We might travel some. (Plane tickets or gas cards are welcome.)
5. As R's leave gets figured out we will know what our leave plans are before he goes.
6. We plan on keeping both vehicles we currently have until he gets back from deployment next July at which time we will replace my Pacifica with trade in and cash with something that is a 2008/2009. We will probably keep the truck until it costs more to fix it than its worth.
7. We will be having some sort of a birthday party for Lillian (hadn't planned on it if he was going to be gone) and you are all welcome to come.
8. Lillian and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE company Feb 2010 to June/July 2010. I mean we would LOVE it. More than you know. And I would love some boogeyman scaring away powder I could spread around my house :-)
We're very happy about these orders and all the things they mean. Although this will be not only our first deployment while married, but also our first with a child, so it will be difficult but its going to happen sometime and we feel like we'll be adequately prepared. The next three years, Richard will be "gone" meaning sleeping on the ship, whether off the coast of Virginia, or elsewhere, for almost two years. Lots of prayer, letters (to Richard) and visitors (to me and Lil) will get us all through.