I’ve written about the uncertainty of the military career path on more than one occasion in the past and I’ve been drafting posts about it in my head over the past few weeks because Horatio is about to graduate from his masters program and we have absolutely no idea where he will go next.
Part of the uncertainty has been due to the promotion board. The way it works in the military, for officers, is that, each year, boards meet to determine who will get promoted to the next rank. Based on seniority and experience, a certain number of officers’ records are looked at each year, at various times, based on rank. Horatio was “in zone” to be looked at for promotion from Commander to Captain in the board meeting in January. The board members meet in secrecy. No one knows who they are until after the meeting has convened.
Once the board has adjourned, the list of men and women who have been selected for promotion remains secret as it moves from point to point, being approved as it goes. Worried men and women watch the progress on the Navy website, waiting with bated breath, hoping for the release of the list as each day passes.
The uncertainty can really weigh on a person and his family, as it did on us. Not only did we have no idea if Horatio would be promoted, but his current assignment ends on May 23 and we have no idea what will come next. Not knowing if he would be a Commander or a Captain made it so that he could not even pursue jobs. No one wanted to talk to him about placement until he had that basic, but key, bit of information. It felt like his future was completely out of our hands and we had no way to set it on a path. We were more worried than ever because, due to budget cuts, the number of promotions is at a low point. Only a handful of men and women would actually be on the list.
Not a day passes without someone asking me where we will be going next. Everyone I know knows that I want to stay here. After moving from St. Louis to Scotland to Virginia Beach to Hawaii to St. Louis (during Horatio’s first Operation Enduring Freedom deployment) to Washington State to St. Louis (during Horatio’s second Operation Enduring Freedom deployment) to Kansas to Washington DC to China to here, I am ready to be settled. I’ve had it with moving. We all love where we are and want to stay. We are a few months shy of the four year mark here, which is very unusual for a military family. We’ve put down roots and built our community. We are getting a dog! We want to stay. As my favorite child hood book reads:
“I love my house, I love my nest, in all the world, my nest is best.”
So, for more than three months, we waited with a cloud of disquiet over Horatio and our family. Every day that passed in April brought more anxiety and fretting.
Finally, on Friday, April 19, the promotion list was released and Horatio’s name was on it.
Horatio has worked incredibly hard for the past twenty years; I am so proud of him for achieving this milestone. I’ve worked hard supporting his career, so it really is a big moment for both of us.
The first question many of our friends and family ask, upon hearing the news, is, of course: ‘so does this mean you have to move?’
We still don’t know, but at least now Horatio can focus his search for Captain jobs. Military officers don’t have much control over where the job takes them. Home is where the Navy sends us, I just hope they let us stay here.