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No, COB is not the corn you eat at a picnic. Although, we do have the most awesome pin of a corncob in the shape of a submarine. My sailor was not as amused as I was.
So, what is a COB? This acronym, I know, another one, stands for Chief of the Boat. Reaching the title of COB, the most senior enlisted member on the boat, is a massive achievement for a sailor to accomplish in their career. For more on the Navy rank system, click here.
You’ve congratulated your sailor, what happens now? COB spouse life is a whole other level of what in the heck is going on.
Once the hard orders are written and you both know the boat the COB will be assigned to, things start to move. Every COB has an i-stop in their orders that sends them to Newport, RI, where they attend COB/CMC school. Spouses have the option to participate, but it is not mandatory. I attended at the end of the covid pandemic, so it was still virtual. I think this was a disadvantage to me. I could not get to know anyone or build good connections with people. Making those connections with other COB spouses and CMC spouses are going to be what helps get you through this tour. No one will understand the loneliness at the top except those who have been there.
Anyone entering this role must understand that they are there first and foremost to support their sailor, whatever that looks like. COB spouses can be very involved with all aspects, like being an advisor to the FRG or being in a circle of trust with the ombudsman to provide support whenever possible. It can also go in the opposite direction, where the COB spouse has little interaction with the boat spouses. As a couple, you need to outline your goals and expectations. Many have decided to step back for the family and everyone’s mental health. There is nothing wrong with this! Every boat has a different dynamic, and everyone has to acclimate.
There is no written outline of what is expected of a COB wife. You make it your own. In my experience, the circle of spouses has taken me in and listened to me as I’ve been upset or celebrated the end of a deployment. Embrace the tour and make it the best that you want it to be.