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Seven-month deployments are becoming the fleet standard, with some stretching well beyond: destroyers Barry and Gravely returned in November after nine-month deployments, extended as a result of the Syria crisis.
The destroyer Shoup’s crew topped that, returning to home port Monday after more than 10 months away.
As this shows, the fleet’s operational tempo is high, and officials are warning that it may stay that way with a smaller fleet and an unsettled world. But the steady op tempo increase raises concerns for the long-term wear and tear on ships, crews and the spouses who keep them going.
How are you feeling the strain of the fleet’s pace?
Navy Times wants to hear from sailors, Navy spouses and former sailors about how the fleet’s pace has affected them in recent years.
For sailors that have been on longer or atypical cruises, what are the pros and cons of being away? How is this influencing your decision about whether to stay in?
If the Navy were to change its deployment plans, would you prefer to go on one longer deployment, where the schedule is rigid? Or would you prefer two shorter deployments, like the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s “double-pump,” where it deployed twice over 13 months with a return home for the holidays?
Please send your thoughts and experiences to staff writer Sam Fellman. And be specific. Your comments may be used in an upcoming article.