Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry
kingpin248

Keep faith, and fly the Blue Star Service Banner...

Friday was my twenty-eighth birthday. It was a great day, and I'll talk about it eventually. But it was a little bittersweet, because of something that I may have alluded to here before, but never explicitly stated. I've been waiting for some kind of press release from the Navy. But there are pictures on Facebook, and many of my friends' status updates are now silent. So it's time to say it straight up...

USS Memphis (SSN 691) has left Groton for parts not-to-be-disclosed-here, on a six month Campaign to Pwn Our Nation's Enemies. (The Navy officially styles it as a "deployment.")

From a personal perspective, this was what took me from "I'll keep an open mind" to "re-enlistment: DO NOT WANT." Once it became clear that extending my service in the Navy would mean spending half a year away from the shores of my home nation, and away from my friends and family, I knew I was done. I remain unquestionably convinced that it was the right decision for me to take.

That said, it is an undeniable truth that while I celebrated the beginning of another year of my life, many of my friends were headed into harm's way. This is a thought that weighs heavily on me as I sit here in New London, so close to where they were only a couple of days ago. I've referred to them here by pseudonyms - CornFed, PrisonBreak, DoomSlayer, BilgeMonkey, LevelSeventy, just to name a few. But they're more than that; they're the stuff of some memories that span the whole range of emotion throughout the three and a half years I served on Memphis.

And that isn't the only way it's personal. When we returned to Groton in early April, we received a new culinary specialist. His last name was one familiar to me; I knew his brother and one of his sisters way, WAY back in the day. When I look out the window in my room at my parents' house, I can see the house of his parents. It's another reminder that our nation's freedom is preserved by those who willingly sacrifice theirs. I met the young CS before I left the boat, and we had a nice chat. It is a reassuring thought that Memphis will carry the spirit of Northport to the fight.

Many have congratulated me simply for having faithfully served in our armed forces. Until this, I always saw it as no big deal. But tonight, as I sit here on the other side, I understand that. To all my friends who can't see this now, I quote the words of one Alistair Leslie Graham: "Big up yourself. Keep it real. Safe."
Tags: memphis
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