Something A Little Different...

I'm fairly sure I'd be correct in saying I am the single Merchant Marine girlfriend here, so I thought I'd tell y'all a little bit about having a man in the least known military branch.

Ultra-condensed version of how we started dating:
Trevor and I met briefly once or twice in the spring of our junior year of high school, but we really started getting to know each other at the start of our senior year (last summer) when we were assigned to be next to each other in warm ups for marching band rehearsal. I had the hugest crush on him all semester, but he dated my friend Emily for about 3 months last fall. After they broke up, he seemed kind of relieved to be single again, so I decided to not get my hopes up and just continued to develop my friendship with him. But then this past February, he asked me to our senior prom and asked me to be his girlfriend a few days later. Basically the best week of my life. :)

The United States Merchant Marine:
I'd never heard of it until I met Trevor, and I'm guessing most of y'all don't know what it is, either, so in short: These are the people who are in charge of the American merchant ships, working to deliver various kinds of cargo up and down rivers and across oceans. They also are all sworn in to the Naval reserves, and during wartime, the federal merchant ships are used to deliver supplies (ex: tanks, planes, various necessary parts, ammo, etc) to the other military branches. So it's a very important thing they do, even though they are often overlooked.

Trevor went up to New York on the 7th in order to be prompt for registration at the Merchant Marine Academy (King's Point) on the morning of the 8th. That afternoon marked the beginning of indoctrination ("indoc") for the incoming students ("plebes"). Indoc is a 16 day boot camp, with Academy history, firefighting/water rescue basics, and ship operation/sailing basics thrown in as well. Communication with the outside world is almost nil. Each plebe only gets a 5 minute phone call home on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays, but letter writing/receiving is permitted. Indoc just ended today, and I am personally wildly relieved. It was insanely difficult to go straight from daily contact to none whatsoever.

However, I will get to talk to him on a pretty regular basis once the plebes' laptops come in - the shipment's running about 2 weeks late - so I'm really very blessed in the communication aspect, especially because I know from experience that it's possible to go weeks or even months with no contact from a soldier who is on tour. :/

So I know that for the moment, I kind of sound like a whiny teenager who doesn't really understand what it's like to have their man gone for months upon months, especially since he's at a military school instead of enlisted like a lot of y'all's boys seem to be. But I'm planning on being with Trevor for a long time to come, and part of that will be him going even further away on his Sea Years - a total of 3 terms spent working on an actual merchant ship during his 2nd and 3rd years at the Academy. Right now, the prospect REALLY scares me - I mean, anything could happen out there! - but I'm just trusting God to stay by his side and always return him home safely to me. <3

... Aaaaaaaand this turned out a lot longer than I intended. SORRY. I got a letter from him today, so he's been on my mind even more so than usual.
TeapotK TeapotK
18-21, F
21 Responses Jul 27, 2010

Thank you so much! My boyfriend has been at the Merchant Marine school in NY for three sundays and it's already been so hard. i miss the little things. His family and i got our first phone call last sunday and it was heart- wrenching, but good. Anyway, im being over-emotional. :) Thank you for this blog, I've read every entry below, and I've been searching for something like this, and someone to share my experience. Women are such supportive people and we gotta stick together. For all you newer girls like myself, the pictures that the usmmaf post every night are life savers! just go to www.usmmaf.com, click the [Parents] button, then if your mm is an alum go to photos and if hes class of 2017 go to photos(2) in the left bar

So I'm a little late in the game here, but I as well have a boyfriend at MMA. Seems like we all found each other. Currently he's in China for the exchange program. He's been there since the end of Feb. and he finally comes home in June! Before that he spend the middle of Jan to the middle of Feb in Panama. So the first six months of this year have been extremely difficult. Because he's a senior in the fall and has a high position, he gets the great opportunity to go on sea term in 2013... Yea. Not looking forward to that. We've been dating since his sophomore year soo almost a year and a half now. I haven't experienced sea term, but I heard it includes little to no contact since they are out there in the middle of the ocean which is unlike the limited wifi in Panama and perfect wifi in China.. I hope it will go by fast though. I'm with you girls.

mma122506- I'm so glad someone on here is going through the same thing I am right now! Such a small world. Every time I visited my boyfriend at MMA, I'd tell him how much i disliked that school cause it's always taking him away from me hahah. I'm not going to lie, this whole sea term thing kinda sucks. But they really do deserve it after all the bullshit they've had to go through at that school. I actually got to talk to my boyfriend today! He was telling me all about Mexico, and I'm happy for him, but at the same time, it's hard being happy for him because all I want is him home. Thats so cute that you mail him things! That's such a great idea! How exactly do you do that if you don't mind me asking. I know you have to send it like 10 days in advance, but if I just wanted to send a letter, can i just put stamps on it and send it or do I have to go to the post office and send it through there due to the fact i'm sending it to like Barbados. Sorry if that made no sense. And my chain is yellow and blue too! Hahah thats so funny! Hang in there girl, 27 more days till our boys are home. Good luck!

I stumbled across this site somehow, and now I'm glad I found it! <br />
<br />
mma032910 - My boyfriend is also a cadet at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and is out on the same cruise as your boyfriend! It's actually his 3rd cruise, he's a senior and we've been dating since he was a freshman. Even though I've been through it 2 times before with him, it doesn't really get any easier :( I still miss him like crazy when he leaves and every time I visit the school I always tell him how much I hate that ship because it takes him away for so long! I'm glad you have such a positive attitude, that really helps a lot. I always send my boyfriend with a care package that has candy, a Valentine's gift, cards (birthday, valentine's, and random funny ones), and other little things. And I always make a chain too! Yellow and blue, MMA's colors haha, and every night before bed I take a link off. I think it's cool to hear from someone else who's going through the same thing :) I hope you're hanging in there...the ship will be back before we know it, and the homecoming is always very exciting!!

I'm so glad I found this site! I'm actually a Merchant Marine Girlfriend also! My boyfriend is a freshman at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and he just left for sea term yesterday. I'm not going to lie, it was hard seeing him leave on that ship, but knowing that he's doing what he loves makes me so happy! He'll be away for six weeks cruising in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Barbados. I know it won't be easy, but thinking of him having fun makes me feel better. Don't be stressed out, and don't worry a bit. Just remember that you're boyfriend will be coming home to you, and he's doing what he loves. I made my boyfriend a scrapbook of pictures of us, and a DVD of more pictures and our favorite songs so he won't forget about me while he's gone :) Also, I made a paper chain with the number of days he's gone, and for every day that's past, I cut a link of the chain off. Just keep thinking positive! Good Luck!

Lcjoyce1 - So nice to hear from someone who's made it through several years of this kind of relationship! (Incidentally, my boyfriend's older brother is also serving as a 3rd mate right now - though working out of San Fran) I feel like I should be asking you for advice since you've been in this longer, but I've found that keeping close to other friends and indulging myself a little in the things I enjoy (such as fitting a couple of fine arts classes that I'm passionate about but don't necessarily need into my college schedule) helps keep the loneliness at bay. :)<br />
<br />
catthemgf - Indeed, though I'm trying not to stress out about the shipboard part for the moment since he won't be leaving for his first bit of Sea Year until this fall. (The fact that I'm stressed and worried about it anyway is another story entirely :P) And I'm sure the letter delivery delay will be more significant than it is now (Texas to New York takes a bigger chunk of time than either of us anticipated, so dumb) but I'm sure it won't be a huge issue. :) You are quite welcome! I've learned so much about the maritime industry in the past nearly-11 months, and I love telling people about this relatively unknown lifestyle. And I certainly do my best to represent him well, thank you! :)

I can see how having a man on a ship may be harder (even if boot camp is shorter) than a man who is stationed somewhere on land. There is really no way to get to him even if you wanted to! Plus I'm sure it takes a little longer for letters to get delivered. I am glad you shared with us! It's important that we learn about EVERY job in the military, they are all important :) Nice job representing your man!

Hi! I'm new to this site and found it while searching for a support group for Merchant Marine girlfriends. Here's my story:<br />
I met my boyfriend while we were both at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I transferred after the first semester but we continued our relationship. It is now more than four years later and we have made it through many ups and downs and many seperations. He is now assigned as a 3rd mate on an oil tanker out of Alaska and spends about 75 days on and 50 off. The worst part for me is that, at this point, he doesn't have a set schedule. I never know when his tour will be extended and have no idea when he will be home.<br />
I miss him so much and it is so hard being alone. Any tips?

I just happen to google merchant marine girlfriends and found this website. I am also a merchant marine girlfriend! I am so happy i found this. Right now my boyfriend is doing 3 months on 3 months off and i have been lucky enough to have him home for Christmas and New Years. I agree I wish there were more sites or support for Merchant Marine girlfriends! It gets really hard when he's away but i am able to have some communication with him which helps.

I am so glad I found this site!!! I am a merchant marine girlfriend!!! I haven't seen my sailor since May 24th and he's finally coming home next week!!!! I am so super duper excited!!! I wish there was more for those of us with merchant marine boyfriends....we need suport too!!!

You dealt army. Alone. I know how you feel too even though I'm a guy lol. My girlfriend is right there with the boys and I'm dreading the sea year.

Girl, you are my hero. I get terrified thinking about my guy going off for just the one trimester next year. :( I'm glad to hear that you're preparing to stick it out, though! And I'm sure the growing circle of KP girlfriends around here will be there for you over the next 8 months. *hug*<br />
<br />
Haha glad to hear your PW experience was good - my guy informed me that the plebes got IT'd like mad after taking their latest PKT at the end of the weekend. (Though the rest of his weekend sounded fun, so that's good, at least! lol)

I am also a KP girlfriend (my boyfriends a junior). Right now I am visiting my boyfriend every two weeks before he goes out to sea for the last part of his sea year :( 8 months seems so long!!!! Just got back from parents weekend soooooo much fun!! As much as I will miss his I know that it is all worth it and I am glad at least there are places to talk to other people about it.

Yeah. :( I really wish I could! Oh well.<br />
I don't think they do.. The November break is kind of long, and I think it's supposed to be like a combined fall and Thanksgiving break. So I've got a while, but it'll be worth it. :)

Ugh thats such a let down ! :( <br />
I'm sorry you can't go girl !<br />
But Thanksgiving is going to come sooner than you know<br />
but im pretty sure they have an ocotber break?<br />
or at least I think....

Haha I'm so glad I was wrong about being the only one around!<br />
I really wish I could, but I can't afford plane tickets. :( So I don't get to see him until they get off for Thanksgiving. But his mom likes me a lot, and I'm sure she'll tell me all about it. :) lol

More of us girlfriends ? i love it!<br />
Not to be weird TeapotK but just read your story and I absoultely had to comment.. I know its an old post but just wanted to let you know that you're not alone (:<br />
Look at the bright-side, we only have 15 more days until we can see our boys again for the first till since July 8th! SO EXCITED!<br />
Are you going to KP for parents weekend?

Cool! :) Yeah, it really surprised me how scarce the MM boys and their girlfriends seem to be online! I'm really glad that I'm not alone in this, haha. Especially since it's only my guy's first year at the Academy, so I'm still getting used to him being gone.

You're not alone, TeapotK; I'm the girlfriend of a Merchant Marine, too! I'm shocked there isn't a stronger web presence for MM girlfriends--I guess we need to stick together!

LOL I know what you mean! Though with a grandpa who served in the Air Force and a friend who's already been on 2 tours in Iraq since he enlisted in the Army 3 years ago, I went into this with at least some military knowledge. But yeah, sometimes it's like, "WAIT, I need you to explain that!!" hahaha :)

Good for you to actually understand what he is going through. Trust me I try and try to keep up with my man. But he gets so into it when hes talkin, he forgets I am civillian... lol!