Operation Order to My Deployed Husband

This week I wrote Husband an effusive email expressing various events, emotions, and challenges. I laid bare my concerns, seeking input and counsel. I reached out into the ethernet for some partnership, some companionship, and possibly some laughter.

Husband’s electronic response announced: “See below.” I scrolled down. At the end of each of my written paragraphs were his contrasting color comments. And by “comments” I actually mean single word phrases. The response to paragraph #1 was “yes,” paragraph #2 was “cool” and paragraph #3 was … wait for it … “Mind over matter.”

I stared. I had PTSD flash-backs of R&R. I flashed forward to homecoming. And I did what any girl would do. I issued an OPORD. I have a feeling this one is going to get me in trouble …

SBU – Sensitive But Unclassified

Copy 1 of 1
LAT 45° 31′ 24N, LONG 122° 40′ 34W




 Civilian Home Group, West (CIVHOMGRU) has recently identified threat MILBRAIN, a condition which hinders communication and family reintegration, and which requires immediate and ongoing resolution. Current unit is composed of civilian leader MOM, two rogue operatives, and DAD. DAD is oncoming commander at expiration of MOM’s current tour of duty, scheduled for Change of Command in 30 – 90 days.

 A. Enemy Forces. Known and suspected causes of condition MILBRAIN include severe indoctrination of DAD into military life at round-the-clock intervals, complicated by heightened need for compartmentalization and deadening of emotional receptors. The indoctrination includes extreme armored, mechanized, and motorized emotional-blocking responses which appear to be temporarily incapable of destruction. Intel on effective methods for piercing the indoctrination barrier is weak, at best. Strength of the enemy’s fortification is at highest levels known throughout MOB 2010-11, and morale at CIVHOMGRU is consequently low. However, resiliency and capability of both the operatives and Commander MOM are high.

 B. Friendly Forces. Prime objective is to ensure DAD can identify CIVHOMGRU as a friendly force, not an enemy force, by engaging them both physically and emotionally.  However, if treated as an enemy force, CIVHOMGRU can become unstable, and is likely to fire upon, maim, kill, and take prisoners in its defense.




A. Concept of the Operation.  Faced with challenges to familial and spousal security interests after a long mobilization and separation, there are certain effects-based actions and responses which members of the team can employ to connect their differing strategic and operational objectives. Through the integrated application of select instruments of power, DAD will become capable of identifying desired and undesired outcomes in the CIVHOMGRU operational environment (OE). It is the intent of OPERATION PULL CHOCKS to separately prepare all members of the team for the next operational phase, tentatively identified as OPERATION REINTEGRATION.

1. Maneuver: Prepare to Interact

MOM, Operative-1st Born and Operative-2nd Born will each practice elimination of all expectations related to basic everyday interactions. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a brick wall and attempting to engage it in conversation, elicit sympathy and/or compassion, and attempting to get it to respond to external stimuli, touch, and/or tears.

DAD will increase situational awareness of social and nonverbal communications of others. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a mirror, making eye contact, and replacing common MOB phrases with HOME phrases:

“IT IS WHAT IT IS” and/or“LIFE’S A BITCH” I’m sorry. There’s not much I can say about that. Is there anything I can do to help you?
“MINDOVERMATTER” I’m right there with you. Let’s get through this together.
“WILCO/LIMACHARLIE” I understand what you’re saying. Do you want my input?

2. Maneuver: Prepare to Respond

MOM, Operative-1st Born and Operative-2nd Born will each take turns yelling barking orders at each other. The non-barking members will practice a response that does not include crying. Upon successful containment of tears, team members will also attempt to respond by not feeling insecure, not becoming scared, not becoming angry, and finally by responding with a sarcastic, “YESSIR!” followed by an immediate hug for the barker, who may respond with an awkward back or head pat.

DAD will relearn proper human responses that engender connection and genuine relationship. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a mirror, making eye contact, and performing the following facial-neutral or facial-friendly maneuvers in 15 second intervals:


Raise eyebrows

Open mouth and tip head to one side


Upon completion of these basic maneuvers, DAD should progress to more advanced maneuvers such as SMIRK and WINK, the “HUBBA-HUBBA” (two successive eyebrow raises), and NODDING.


A. General. The critical supporting actors and services required to sustain the unit during this operation include:

– Chaplain/Exit Counselor/Successful Mob Retirees

– DAD’s emotive alter-ego which has been suppressed for the last year

– MOM’s non-controlling alter-ego which has been suppressed for the last year

– Operative #1 and Operative #2’s obedient alter-egos which have been suppressed for the last year

B. Material and Services.  Upon reentry to the CIVHOMGRU OE, DAD will find more relevant materials and services available for use than his previous OE. Such services and materials should be considered for future maneuvers DATE and WOO, and include:

1.    Class I (subsistence): Fine Dining establishments, wine bars, candlelight or sunset/view venues.

2.    Class II (individual equipment): razor, aftershave, deodorant, mouthwash, elbow crème, and civilian clothing.

3.    Class VII (major end items): flowers, jewelry, chocolate, hand-written notes or cards, and perfume.

In preparation for such availability of services, DAD may spend time on the internet reviewing what these items look like, how they are utilized, and where they can be obtained upon delivery to the assembly point.

C. Medical Evacuation.  In the event the operation produces wounded personnel, they will be picked up and carried to safety by all remaining non-injured team members. No man, woman, or child shall be left behind.


Because of the continuing mobilization of DAD, there will be two primary locations of command and control prior to OPERATION REINTEGRATION. CCC#1 shall be at home, and CCC#2 shall be at the location of mobilization. The unit commanders are expected to operate in a JOINT ENVIRONMENT for all theater, operational, and tactical maneuvers, and to balance the COG for the split CCC’s.

A. Command. The higher unit commander is GOD. If you suffer from the delusion that you are GOD, then knock it off. You are not. Your spouse and children are not subordinates, they are your support. They will not respond desirably to orders unless delivered in the methods described in this OPORD and the BHICCFG (Basic Human Interaction and Common Courtesy Field Guide).

B. Signals. This operation specifically prohibits use of the following signals: silence, thousand mile stare, dirty looks, shark-eyes, loss of consciousness during conversation, and drama (aka “pyrotechnics”) of any kind. Challenges and corresponding passwords to verify operations behind both friendly and enemy lines include:


Challenge Phrase Password Response
Daddy? Yes, what is it?
Good morning Good morning
Good night Good night
How Do I Look? Amazing. Breathtaking. Phenomenal.
Will you take me out? Yes, I’d love to
I missed you I missed you, too
I’m so glad you’re here I’m glad that I’m here, too
I love you I love you, too

* * *





Now you can get a copy of your free, generic, downloadable, printable, emailable OPORD TO MY DEPLOYED HUSBAND all for yourself. Makes a great addition to your late-deployment care packages or as an ice-breaker at spouse meetings. You must be able to view pdf files. And please, attribute and link back here at Witty Little Secret if you repost it somewhere! Thanks!

* * FREE COPY * *


48 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eleni
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 15:08:37



  2. Laura
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 21:54:49

    Lori, my wonderful mother (Mrs. Reimer) passed along your blog to me a while back and I read most of the posts shortly after my husband deployed 11 months ago (there were definitely plenty of tears as I related to a lot of your experiences, but also lots of much needed laughter). He is coming home in a matter of weeks and this literally made me laugh out loud! I think this will go nicely with his “welcome home” care package 🙂


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Nov 06, 2012 @ 07:02:16

      Laura, great to see you here! Oh my, you don’t know the half of it. This is probably Randy’s least favorite post (next to “Swing and a Miss”) and it was published in Reader’s Digest. As a result, it’s also one of the most popular posts on the blog. Yay sarcasm. The only post beating it out so far is “Using the F-Word When Your Mom is a Lawyer.” Yay sarcasm plus cursing.


  3. Harvey Walden
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 00:02:13

    OOH RAH! I’m a First Sergeant of Marines and my bride and I seem to have a comm breakdown every now and then in our BDR. Quite often I mention to her I’m going to give her a 5 Paragraph Order so she understands the method behind the Marine First Sergeant of 23 years as well as SMEAC. Well I come upstairs to the bedroom ready for my night ops and she presents your OPORDER and briefs me on it as well as I’m required to give a debrief. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We are tracking and ready for the next fire fight. OOH RAH SEMPER FI!


  4. stacy stewart
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 09:34:41

    I pickup my hubby this weekend after 11 mos of deployment! I’ve been asking others for suggestions to prepare myself to re-entry, and this is wonderful! Thanks for the humorous reality!


  5. Jenn
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 20:38:28

    I’m totally thinking of sneaking into my hubby’s office and shuffling this into the stack of OPORDs he’s got teetering on the edge of his desk. Then, of course, I’d have to violate every OPSEC protocol to set up a hidden cam to capture his face when he reads it…


  6. amber buck
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 08:20:21

    thank you for the laugh, i loved it…i read it in rd first but they did chop it up some the orig is better..stay well and have a great day…


  7. kristy
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 07:58:34

    I read this in a magazine on a flight to see my brother get married before he deployed and yes i to am a wife of the military i died with laghter you made my day with this thanks so much Kristy


  8. Trackback: OPORD « In Pursuit of Life
  9. sandypineapple
    Aug 20, 2011 @ 20:28:53

    OMG this is hilarious… and totally something my husband needs. 🙂 Sadly, we’re both sailors so I could probably use one for myself.


  10. Dawn K. Thomson
    Aug 16, 2011 @ 14:08:03

    I just want to say that this is awesome and pretty stinkin’ funny.
    I saved a copy for the next time my husband goes on Deployment.
    This made my day. Thanks so much.


  11. The New Normal
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 13:05:13

    That was the funniest thing I have ever read! I laughed the entire time I was reading it. My hubby doesn’t come home for about another 8 months but I already have it printed off waiting for the future time to send to him! Love it and thanks for the great laugh!!


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 13:18:07

      Ha! That’s what I call advanced planning! And hey, I read your recent post … the “crawl under the sheets” feeling still hits me from time to time, too. Hang in there. There are more of the “I can do this” days than the “I can’t do this” days. And you know you can. 🙂 Hugs!


  12. Cindy
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 09:05:42

    I’m not a military wife but I’m a military mom and I’m passing this on to my daughter in law. Her hubbie, my son, should be home soon on R&R and we’re both gearing up for it. Thanks!


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Aug 11, 2011 @ 09:56:04

      That’s great, Cindy! I have a feeling our guys could write their own version of what they’d like to see when they get home … but us temporary HOME commanders have to take the opportunity whenever it comes along to poke fun! Plus, I thought of it before he did. 🙂 Prayers and cheers for their quick and happy homecoming!


  13. Darla
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 23:32:58

    Wow I just found your blog through SpouseBUZZ and you are brilliant! I’ve been battling communication woes (oh Sure I Read All Your IMs and Emails and FBs. Your Replay? *insert bug chirps and dead silence) and this hit it right on the nose! Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve become a stalker.


  14. Jennifer
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 21:44:37

    This is absolutely perfect! My hubby is due home soon… and he has been about as emotional as a rock this past year. (I’ve been convinced for years that his tear ducts are not operational) He will get a kick out of this. 🙂 Big THANKS!


  15. Lori K
    Aug 05, 2011 @ 19:16:40

    Ok Lori this one may get you into trouble….but the humor and creative flair you revealed should save you in the end!!! I love it friend…..and I love you!!


  16. The DAD
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 22:31:55

    Ah…. let me think back… it all comes rushing in… seems to be familiar… However, the OPORD given to THIS returning Naval Warrior was very simple – “Get those damn greasy flight boots off my clean floor!” Don’t worry, Princess. I’m sure MILBRAIN will vanish quickly and CIVHOMGRU will return to normal!


  17. Big Al
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 14:07:31

    To: Comcivhomgrp West
    Fm: Comcvilleanblogsite East
    Subj: Your Opord dtd 04Aug11

    It’s been 42 years since my stint in the Navy and it all came rushing back while reading this. If I read one opord I read a hundred and this is such a good facsimile I couldn’t believe it. Bravo Zulu.

    This command glad hubby acknowledged and executed accordingly.


  18. Gail G
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 13:08:43

    HA HA HA HA, Well put MOM!


  19. Gaile
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 10:48:14

    Absolutely SPOT-ON! My hubby came home 8 months ago from deployment #3 and we’re still struggling with reintegration. I hope his sense of humor has returned enough for me to share this with him.

    Can I re-post this on my blog? If you’d prefer, I can simply mention it and link to it, but I don’t know how many of my followers will follow a link. Of course I will credit you if I re-post 🙂


  20. Sheri Allen Byrd
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 08:53:38

    Bloody brilliant. I am SO passing this on!!! This needs to go viral to every US base, camp, and ship in the world. 🙂


  21. Sugahbullet
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 08:37:47

    I won’t lie. I peed a little. One of your best posts yet.


  22. Kim Miller
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 07:46:10

    Dang woman! He won’t want to come home but I’m certain he’ll get the point. I must admit that this made me laugh and after seeing our ”girl” last night on Skype in ”the sand” all tuckered out I could use a laugh. Keep your head up woman!


  23. DogBoy
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 07:30:46

    Funny. I’m sure Hans will crack a smile. I feel sorry for the Commander just a little bit. You are quite the handful.


  24. Wife of a Sailor
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 07:17:09

    This is absolutely amazing. Fabulous. I might have to make one one of these days.


  25. deyank
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 07:10:51

    I love it!!! Absolutely wonderful, Lori. Just enough obfuscating bureaucratization and MILSPEAK to set the right tone.


  26. LaDonna Rae
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 07:10:07



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