THe Harting Family

THe Harting Family

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plankowner .... ASU Class of 2014

Today I head to Tempe, to Arizona State University to be exact, to attend my sons Plank Owner Ceremony. Well it isn't his alone, it belongs to about 85 members of his R.O.T.C. unit at ASU. Michael went specifically to this school to be part of this brand new unit. He wanted to help be a part of starting it and seeing it off the ground. What he didn't expect, but worked for, was placing as the first ever #1 Midshipmen as well as the only one is his class to receive the Marine Corps Side Load scholarship. We knew he would do well but he has exceeded all his own personal goals and has continued to make us proud. If you are not familiar with Plank Owner please read below for a description. I will share pictures from the day as I am sure to take many. His dad is deployed but will be there as usual in spirit.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Plank owner)

A plankowner[1] (also referred to a plank owner) is an individual who was a member of the crew of a ship when that ship was placed in commission. Originally, this term applied only to crew members that were present at the ship's first commissioning. Today, however, plank owner is often applied to members of newly commissioned units, new military bases and recommissioning crews as well.

[edit] In U.S. military

Plankowner is a term used by the United States Navy,[1] and has consequently been variously defined by different units. The origin of the term is the implication that a crew member was around when the ship was being built and commissioned, and therefore has bragging rights to the "ownership" of one of the planks in the main deck.[2][3]

Historically, a plankowner in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, or his widow, could petition the Naval Historical Center's Curator Branch for a piece of the deck when the ship was decommissioned.[3]

Sailors who are plank owners at their current command often have the word "PLANKOWNER" embroidered on the back of their uniform ball cap to denote this designation. A plaque is placed aboard the ship with the crew names. When in port, the departure of a plank owner for the final time is usually announced on the 1MC public announcing system with a bell-ring, as "Plank owner, departing".[4]

In lieu of an actual "plank" from the deck of a newly commissioned ship (these being pretty hard to come by in this day and age) crew members are presented with a Plank Owner Certificate commemorating their unique status of being part of the Original Crew when the ship became part of the U. S. Navy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Milspouse Friday Fill In #38

Please stop by Wife of a Sailor She started all this a long time ago so stop by to say hello!!

1. How many pets do you have? And what type? submitted by Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl

We have a cat we got in Japan about 13 years ago and a dog we got in Spain about 10 years ago. Yes our pets are world travelers. I love them dearly and they are members of our family.

2. What are your favorite projects to do while hubby is away? submitted by my-inspired-nest

I am our family readiness advisor so I spend a lot of time with the wives (no men as we are an infantry battalion, not leaving them out)...just to see how they are doing and handling the deployment. We have a very young population and for most of them it is their first deployment.

3. What are the must-haves in your deployment care packages? submitted by Christine’s Little Blog

Notes and pictures, I don't send a lot of stuff he can't carry around. Honestly mostly baby wipes and chapstick. You would be surprised how much they get from Americans that care about what they are doing, it's overwhelming and they are very grateful for all the love they have coming their way.

4. If you could star in any TV show, which would it be? submitted by Just a Girl

Hmmm...right now Coming what I would do to have my hubs coming home right now!

5. What was the biggest hurdle that you faced during your/your significant other’s first deployment? submitted by The Pavlik Perspective

The lack of communication. In the early days of Iraq no coms where the rule of the day, it could be months. I think we have gotten spoiled by the coms but I have been reminded on my hubs last two deployments (this one included) to Afghanistan that coms again are very sparce. I think it's become more of the rule again not to hear once they get to their final destinatiion. But I always tell younger wives that no news is good news.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Military Families Face New Battles

I was asked to post the following article and after talking to the gentlemen I decided to go ahead and allow it. I know sometimes we take for granted that all of us military families are aware of the struggles our service members face and our families but maybe there are still some that do not know why and what is going on with their loved one.

Military families face new battles

Military families always seem to face more burdens than most in a normal family dynamic. The time after a soldier returns home is often regarded as one of the happiest times for these families. In some cases, however, that time can be extra confusing and difficult, primarily as a result to some of the health problems that are common with soldiers following their tours of duty.
PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder is one of the most common examples of the invisible wounds that plague many soldiers these days. This is a type of anxiety disorder that is not exclusive to the military, but is a risk that is rather high with soldiers because it usually involves a reaction to a traumatic event. For soldiers, much of their time spent overseas or in service can contain life altering events. Treatment for PTSD usually requires cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a long and extended process that can often add more difficulty to the dynamic. A family’s support throughout this process can be of major importance, as a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to can always be a break through.
Traumatic Brain Injury, also known as TBI is one of the signature wounds of the past ten years of war on terror. It involves a bruising of brain tissue and usually is the result of a violent accident or collision. Many cases of TBI go unknown; therefore observation of the symptoms is particularly important. Headaches, sleep problems, dizziness, and blurred vision are all common traits of soldiers with TBI. There is an absolute necessity to look for some of these symptoms. A family’s eye will allow any cases of TBI to be diagnosed and treated with the proper care as soon as possible.
Just like TBI, mesothelioma can often go unnoticed for years after any type of original exposure. This disease is a type of cancer that infects the lining of the body’s organs, often in the chest or abdomen area. Soldiers are often at risk to this because it has a direct correlation to asbestos exposure. Asbestos was a commonly used material throughout the past century in shipyards and bases all over the US. With many soldiers working in ships and barracks that contain this fiber, exposure was often inevitable. A family’s lookout for the symptoms of mesothelioma may end up being very important in the treatment process. Diagnosis for this disease is particularly important because of the severe outlook. Mesothelioma life expectancy is often as short as a year.
The general awareness of some of these common military wounds and health risks is particularly important in cutting down more severe cases. With the support and structure of family and friends upon arrival after a tour of duty, soldiers who may have to face any of these health risks will be as prepared as possible.

"Taylor Darden is ardent supporter of our troops and dedicated advocate of veterans' benefits. Having just recently graduated from college he is currently working to raise awareness of the dangers of invisible wounds. He currently lives in the southeastern United States, and is proud to live in the greatest country in the world. If you have any questions feel free to email him at"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chugging Along---Choo Choo

So almost 2 weeks!! Awesome. I have to say I have had ups and downs so much more on #5 Deployment..why you ask? (Ok maybe your not asking or caring but I am telling)...EMPTYNEST! Yes, I started this blog during our last deployment and it was because I was dealing with a Senior in High School and a hubs gone and a PCS cross country upon his return. AND taking our kid to college via our new duty station!! Dealing with all that was a bit much but I have to say...sitting in this big old empty house on the other side of that and in the infancy of a new deployment...gotta say..NOT EASY.
Too much time on your hands is never a good thing, ever. I do have our family readiness group to keep me somewhat busy and a group of awesome supportive friends but there is just something about a big old empty house in the beginning of the day and the end.
My son will be coming home in a few weeks and that will help and I have a trip to Slovenia to visit my friend in September so I do have things to look forward too. I am also thinking of taking yet more classes. I finished school last deployment but no work here in the stumps leaves me needing something to do and school sure will fill up some of the hours.
I don't want anyone to think I am complaining, I am not. Just sharing. My blog is a huge outlet for me to say things I want to say and I don't even know if anyone will ever read this. But if you are, thank you for just stopping by and checking it out.
On another note..I hope all you in the tornadoes path this last few days are ok, well and safe. It hurt my heart to see the devastation this brought to so many including some of my Marine family in NC. Glad they were all ok.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Week?

So yesterday marked a week since I have last put eyes on the love of my life. I think I am kinda in denial but I am not sure. I have had some contact from him as he makes it to his final destination. I am not worried about OPSEC here because I have no idea where that will be, just a general idea. I am free to say he is gone, when he left, and he's in Afghanistan, the base paper clearly stated all those facts. So no nasty OPSEC lectures, I am clear on the rules. This is going to be a tough spring for The Darkside. I have confidence in their training, I know they are "bad ass". I just think I have become numb at deployment. I was asked yesterday, as happens when you converse about deployments with civilians "How do you handle it when he is gone?", I quite easily without hesitation stated, "I am so used to it by now, after all it has been 10 years." and that was that. Not a second thought, not a blink of an eye, just very matter of fact. Problem is I meant it and felt it, I am just used to it. I know I am just going through the motions to the point in deployment where you are no longer "used to it" or could you ever be, the point when the wounded start coming back and when we start taking casualties. I almost said "losing our Marines" but we don't really "lose" them. They get killed. No easy way to say it, it happens. No one is immune to it, the infantry especially. So maybe I should enjoy my litter river in Egypt for a bit because I know sooner rather then later the reality is going to crash into me, and to those people that I care so deeply for. It's been a week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?? Or Is it All About You?

So this week we had our long awaited dreaded send off. I despise having to go through the motions of sending the hubs off. I've done it more times then I can say or wish to remember. I have ran the gambit of emotions on the whole thing from, sad, to depressed, to annoyed to just plain old pissed off. What I have learned to do is keep my emotions in check, and I am ususally good right up until the bus closes it's doors then I quickly rush back to my truck and have a good cry.
Now I know not everyone can do that or should they, I am a firm believer that you should feel what you feel when you feel it. My first deployment I was very emotional, not knowing what to expect, it was during the very early years of Iraq, very scary and no one really knew what to expect. I was scared, my son was scared, the war was on tv every second of every day...ya I was emotional. It didn't take me long to realize that the more upset I was the more upset my son was getting, he was young then, in middle school and he still took his cues from me. It also made it much harder on my husband, back then he was a not as out front as he is now but still he had Marines in his charge and he really had to worry about them as well as us so it was hard on him.
The next few deployments I knew what to expect so it was easier for me to compartmentalize things and keep it together, still had my breakdowns in the truck, it still was hard on my son but it was ok because he needed to know it was ok to cry and get it out and then I would drive home and we would take it from there. It was easier on my husband, I mean he knew I was upset but seeing me cry is probably the single hardest thing in the world for him. Plus I knew there were a lot of young wives on their first deployment and if I was breaking down what would they think? So I did my best with tears welling to wait until I was back at my truck. Our last deployment was the push into Afghanistan and again, unknown territory, not a lot of information, and a lot harder to stay in check. As they boarded the bus a little girl was crying so hard for her daddy it just made my tears start that much sooner. But it was ok, feel what you feel and all that. I did good, my son did good, much stiffer of an upper lip this time, after all he was a Sr. in High School and much harder for him to let the tears go but he did.
Fast forward to this past week...another going away. One of my friends was having a really hard time, understandably so. Last time her husband deployed he was wounded, shot 5 times. His recovery was 2 years of agony. They made it, they have 3 small daughters, I can imagine what images were flashing in her mind as they were getting on that bus. Her husband is one of my husbands Marines, one of his best. I went to her and hugged her and told her, "he is with the best rifle company in the Corps," "please take comfort in that." She shook her head "yes" and said, "I know." Now Marines are a funny bunch, we have a few bonafide War Hero's in our bunch. I don't say that lightly but we do, our company is pretty high speed. I don't use the word lightly. And our fearless leader, our CO is one of them. He sensed the seriousness of our situation and came over to talk to us. With his ever present smile, the guy is always smiling he comes over to me and says, " I am going to take really good care of your guys." " and Heidi, your hubs is pretty tall I am almost positive I can take cover behind him very well." and of course with that one line we all start to laugh hysterically. So for a second we all laugh and it bonds us and my friend, still very upset smiles. And this is how my morning went, going around and talking with the wives, some of them very upset some just under the surface. And it was good. So we have another company leaving that morning and they will remain nameless to protect the guilty but as the buses pull away, one of the wives from that company has a full out melt down, on her knees screaming. I quickly glance around at the other wives and they all start falling apart at the sight of this woman on the ground making a spectacle of herself. And the kids start as well, why is this lady so upset? Keep in mind her own children are with her as well.
So I ask how much is too much? I know this woman, she is a bit of a pain in our volunteer group, very much an attention grabber. Was this her need for attention? Keep in mind her husband is part of the Senior ranks, and also keep in mind he has deployed before and he is going in a training billet. Is this really the example she should be putting out to the younger wives?
So I thought to myself, if she isn't doing this for attention, if she is the type that can not keep it together, and I am not talking about crying hard, I am talking about a full out fall on the ground hysterical crying, shouldn't she maybe say her good byes at home?
So I ask you much is too much. Oh ya and BTW, the word of this got on the bus and started a landslide of questions from some of the Marines worried that it was their wife that had the break down.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Proud Pop

This weekend we went to visit our son at college. It was a great trip as always but also a very important one for our son and also my husband. My son was finally issued his Cammies..his Marine Marpat. I kind of get why it was so important...kinda. I have been moved by my son in his JROTC uniform in High School and in his Khaki uniform in ROTC. But for him and my hubs the Cammies were pivotal. I guess it is because his cammies are identical to his dads. It's almost for me like when he was little and played dress up in his dads cammies except now they are his and he isn't playing dress up. Every step of this journey has been amazing, it's not over yet, he has a ways to go but I know he will make it and I know he will be an awesome addition to the Corps. He loves the Corps, and I am so happy he found early what his passion was and I am even more thrilled he is on this journey and embraces it.

What a journey he is on.....what a fine young man.