Smarter Than A Worksheet? Think Again


I am far too smug to use a worksheet to get ready for deployment.  So when Blue Star Families asked me to try out the worksheets in their new free eBook Everyone Serves, I was a little blasé about the whole thing.

Worksheets are for babies. Who needs a worksheet? I have been doing this deployment thing for 26 years. I could write those worksheets blindfolded. I could fill ‘em out with both hands tied behind my back. Have I not the USAA app, the NFCU app, and the app right there on my phone??

Then I actually sat down and did the worksheet.  It asked me to collect all my useful contact info in a place that was not, in fact, my phone.

I knew my dentist and my doctor and my veterinarian — easy. The emergency room I would use is across the street from the library. Here are the numbers for the school.

Then a couple of the questions stumped me. What is the contact info for the ombudsman? I used to know that. I was Facebook friends with her.  I had her number listed in my phone.

But our ombudsman left the command mid-tour. Do we have a new ombudsman yet? Am I still getting emails from the ship’s FRG? Who exactly would I contact if something happened to me (assuming I was still conscious and everything)?

My husband, of course. I have my husband’s email. I have his number on the ship (cuz he is old and has a phone). Ta da!!!

A little nagging voice in my head reminded me that I don’t have any other way to reach to him. I know a lot of the sailors he works with.  I know the deputy and the CO and the XO and their wives.  But I don’t have a number or email address for anyone else actually on the ship.

And who exactly is their parent command? I know my husband told me, but all those letters don’t mean anything to me so they don’t stick.

I figured I would just go to the Facebook page and sort this out. The About section for the command’s Facebook page didn’t have any contact information for families. They linked to their official website which had a mailing address only.

The website did list the name of the parent command.  The number for the quarterdeck was on that website.  So I called it.  The junior sailor who answered the phone wasn’t sure if my husband’s command belonged to them but she said she could find out.

“If you had an emergency, we could help you,” the sailor told me. I thanked her and hung up.

Some “old hand” I am. I’d let myself get overconfident. I let myself get too busy to collect the necessary info. At my age, when I am supposed to be a help to other people, I wasn’t really prepared for an emergency during deployment.

That is what worksheets are for.  In that predeployment time frame, the worksheet helps you focus your efforts, to cover all bases, to keep you on track.

I emailed my husband and asked for all the missing info.  It took him about two minutes to give me everything I needed. Two minutes.  If we actually had an emergency, that two minutes would have made such a difference.

Guess you won’t catch me without my worksheet ever again.
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I'm blogging about Everyone Serves

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at
  • amanda

    Thank God I found you Mrs.Eckhart… You are very inspiring, esp for me and another navy wife in the world. My husband is a sailor of Indonesia’s Navy. You may don’t know where my country is.. Well if you ever heard about BALI, then you’ve already knew my country. Anyway.. Your last post about how to be a happy navy wife was very helpfull for me. I almost give up with these situation, take care of my 2yo child alone, while I grew up in a complete family with mom,dad,sister and we always together doing anything, for couple years I tried to put my mom’s way to build my family, but it doesn’t work because it wasn’t military family way. Now I understand that I need to built my military family with my own way, not copying my mom’s way.


    This kind of thing would have been most helpful to me when new to PCSing. I think it would be useful now! After 12 DITY moves, in 19 years, to remote locations, you forget to gather some info. Some items just don’t exist for us(contacts??? what are those? ) But over all I want one of those!