Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders aren’t common in the submarine community, but if it happens it will be a different experience than the usual underway or “scheduled” deployment. TAD orders are required travel at a location other than the permanent duty station. An example of this is if you sailor is asked to “ride” another boat. Orders typically are two days to 189 days in length. If your sailor is the only one on TAD orders it can feel like a different experience since now you are the only one in your community with a sailor gone.
Here are some tips to navigating TAD orders:
Connect with the Ombudsman
If you sailor will be attached to another boat, ensure that the Ombudsman has your contact information. Your sailor will need to provide your contact information. Understand that OPSEC still applies in regards to boat movement and they cannot contact you unless they have your information. This line of contact will allow you to be connected for phone trees, possible mail drops, and updated information.
Get your sailors “new” email address
If your sailor is riding a different boat they will have a different email address. Ensure that your sailor emails you from his new email address or you obtain it before sending that two page life update. For more tips on emails, click here.
If your sailor has been tasked for TAD orders they will be busy. They are essentially filling in for another sailor and expected to complete all the roles that they held. This shift can be hard if you are coming from the shipyard or shore duty. They also may have some down time to go to dinner or explore the area and it can be hard not to feel a little resentment. Being proactive about establishing a schedule or time when they can call can sometimes alleviate the constant need to refresh your phone screen.
It is OKAY to not be OKAY
As a self-proclaimed seasonal spouse, with four deployments and many underways under my belt, experiencing TAD orders has been a different experience. It is a different experience being the only family missing our sailor. Living in base housing you see everyone living their “normal” lives and routines while here you are again doing things ALONE! Remember you are not alone and it is okay to have a moment. Grab that take out and eat a pint of Ben and Jerrys in your pjs but then you just have to rally. You should continue to enjoy your life and time at your duty station. Lean in on your “tribe” and ask for help when needed. Know that those orders will have an end date and then you will go back to being annoyed at your sailor for leaving wet towels on the floor.
Has your spouse ever had TAD orders? Share your best advice below.