Support from Home
Corey S. • Roanoke, VA • Fried Chicken Fan
Who helped you cope with relocations and/or deployments?
I found that my Navy friends became my family while I was away from home. We fought and stuck by each other’s sides like brothers and sisters. I still keep in touch with my squadron family to this day. One Thanksgiving, I wasn’t going home for Gramma’s cooking so we cooked a turkey dinner in the barracks. I do not advise that by the way, but we did it and celebrated Thanksgiving together!
My family at home was an amazing support system as well. My mother especially helped me through. We all wrote letters. Email was brand-new, but I wrote letters. If I got really fancy and had time I would sneak into one of the offices and type out a letter on the word processor. It was a simpler time I guess. I’m old.
What did you learn about yourself through your military experience?
I learned how to live, work and play in close quarters. I learned how to forge lifelong relationships, develop my interpersonal skills and get along with people from all walks of life. I learned I’m stronger than I realize. Mostly, I learned there is a big, beautiful world out there.
What are your thoughts on women in the military?
I hated that there was a differentiation. I’m a sailor. I’m not a woman, I’m a sailor. Let’s do our job and move forward. And we were one big team. Here’s a story…my mom got to ride on the ship with us…we had the best time. When I joined, she said, “Young ladies do not join the Navy.” So it was fun to be able to show her what I do and help her understand…I felt like I had a responsibility to pay back my father’s and grandfathers’ service.
We often hear after friends and family, a taste of home is what our servicemembers miss the most. What home-cooked meal did you crave when you were away?
I mostly missed my grandparents’ cooking. My gramma had a garden and always had fresh vegetables, like corn on the cob…or she would add vegetables to macaroni salad. And she made the very best fried chicken and homemade biscuits. That was my comfort. I wish I had that big cast iron skillet she made the chicken in. Her cooking gave our family the opportunity to get together over these amazing meals.
I also missed fancy dinners at my mama’s house. We would celebrate world holidays like Bastille Day…she made chicken cordon bleu with little carrots and a cinnamon reduction. It was like she was giving me the okay to go out and spread my wings…she was giving me culture and letting me know there was more to the world than southwest Virginia.