Faces of the Supply Corps … Teamwork!

March 10, 2014 | By scnewsltr
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VIRIN: 190906-N-XZ219-0078
Lt. Cmdr. Tamara Sonon, SC, USN, her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Sonon, SC, USN along with their son, Quinton.  My husband Albert and I have been matriculated in the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary for the past 16 months.  Last year, during an end of year interview, my Master of Business Administration (MBA) team coach asked, “Would you do it (referring to the MBA program) again with your husband, Albert?”  I hesitated in answering that question, but quickly came to the conclusion that I would still do the program with my husband.   Going through the curriculum with Albert and caring for our son, Quinton, who was four months old when we began the program, presented many challenges.  We had to make decisions like, who will miss class to take our son to the doctor or stay home with him when he was sick?  Who would come in late to class if there was a delay on base due to inclement weather conditions, which impacted day care hours?  We were at the same command, which meant the same Physical Readiness Test schedule, training schedule, and mandatory meeting schedule.  Many of these meetings were held outside of the regular hours of the base Child Development Center (CDC).   An excellent support network within our Corps and the availability of a nearby 24-hour CDC enabled us to overcome the schedule conflicts.  The challenges that surfaced from being in the same MBA program forced us to develop a system for studying and raising our son.  After my maternity leave ended and I returned to work in June 2012, we developed a “nighttime watch bill” since our son wasn’t sleeping through the night.  In August, after making the commute to William and Mary for one whole week, just prior to starting the MBA program, I decided that our “watch bill” routine would not work.  In order to make the hour and a half trip each way on a daily basis, the driver needed to be fully rested to ensure our safety, so Albert drove us to and from school each day and I assumed the “nightly watch” Sunday through Thursday.  On Friday and Saturday nights, I was able to get a full night’s rest.   During our first year in the program, our days began at 4 a.m.  Between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., we were all out of the house and our day began.  We would drop Quinton off at day care by 7 a.m. and arrive at school by 7:30 a.m., giving us a 30- minute buffer prior to the start of our first class.   Classes ended at 12:15 p.m., and we knew that it would be less efficient to study at home with Quinton, so we reserved a study room daily and completed our homework, worked ahead, and/or studied from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Thereafter, we began our commute home.  The drive would sometimes take about two hours.  Once at home, we had to cook dinner, do chores, prepare Quinton’s milk and baby food for the next day, give Quinton a bath, and put him to bed.  All of this made for really long weekdays.  Since the weekends were reserved for cleaning, laundry, cooking, church, and sometimes school work, we realized that we were missing out on spending quality time with our son, and as a family.  Halfway through our first year, we decided to hire someone to clean our house, allowing us to spend more time together as a family on the weekends.  During this second year in the program, we have faced the same challenges, but with classes that start at 2 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.  With our son being a year older, sleeping through the night, and waking up later, we have more time in the mornings to do our calisthenics, make a healthy breakfast, and do some chores, such as unload/load the dishwasher, or throw a load of laundry into the washer.  We follow the same routine as we did during our first year.  We typically get to school by 8:30 a.m. and we study and/or do homework until 1:30 p.m., before classes start at 2 p.m.  On the weekends, we engage in fun activities as a family, like visiting the petting zoo, going to the Little Gym, the playground, the zoo, or have a date night.  Would I do the program again with my husband?  It’s a resounding YES!  Prior to starting the MBA program, we were both aboard ships with overlapping deployment schedules.  Albert was on the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) and I was aboard the USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43).  We said goodbye to each other on Jan. 12, 2009 and didn’t see each other again until Dec. 8, when I came home from deployment.  Shortly after returning from deployment, I left again with the USS Fort McHenry for Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response on Jan. 14, 2010 for two months.  A year later, Albert left for Djibouti, Africa and was deployed for a year.  Going through the MBA program with my husband afforded us the opportunity to be together.   Being a dual military couple, we have to take advantage of these opportunities when they are presented; they are not guaranteed.  Additionally, pursuing this goal together with a son made us a stronger team.  Developing a good routine enabled us to get through the program thus far, while still maintaining the household, caring for our son, and attending various Supply Corps programs and events.  While we continue to serve the Supply Corps, the only way to sustain a good work and life balance is through teamwork and shared values.  Shared values are essential because they impact the choices you make daily and how you prioritize.   For us, those values are faith, family, and career.  We put God first, and everything else falls into place … the support of our shipmates and our support of each other.  By Lt. Cmdr. Tamara Sonon, SC, USN MBA Candidate Officer    

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      CUTLINE   Lt. Cmdr. Tamara Sonon, SC, USN, her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Sonon, SC, USN along with their son, Quinton.