ATLANTIC OCEAN --
For most fathers and sons, bonding over a weekend fishing trip or a game of catch is a cherished memory. But for this father and son duo, their bond is forged through service.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Joshua Orbich, a native from Houston, Pennsylvania, and quartermaster with the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), has been in the Navy for 24 years. His son, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jordan Orbich, a meteorology and oceanography analyst forecaster with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)), has been in the Marine Corps for three years and discovered they would be deploying on the USS Bataan together.
“It makes me proud that my son and I are going to be deployed together,” said Joshua. “I know that he is doing his part and being a productive part of society. I also get to experience his development as a Marine.”
Jordan, who was born in Jacksonville, Florida while his dad was stationed there, also had mutual feelings about being able to be with his father during deployment.
“My initial reaction to finding out my dad and I were going on deployment together was that I was pumped!” Jordan exclaimed. “It was a big coincidence but I knew it was going to be awesome because well, you know he’s my dad. Having anybody from your family on the same ship as you would be pretty cool, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Amidst the excitement also came the awareness of the risks and sacrifices that come with military service. Nevertheless, they were eager to face these challenges together and make most of their time abroad.
“This will be my last deployment, and I’ve been on over ten deployments,” said Joshua. “I remember on my first deployment my son wasn’t even born yet, but his mother was pregnant. It was right after 9/11 so it was hard leaving family,” he recalled. “That whole timeframe was just crazy, I got married, my wife was pregnant, and then I had to leave. It all happened very quickly.”
Joshua is also the assistant navigator aboard the USS Bataan. His job is to navigate the open seas and keep the ships mission on course. He specializes in maps, charts, and oceanography. His son Jordan is a meteorology and oceanography (METOC) analyst forecaster. His responsibilities include observing, collecting, recording, validating, processing, disseminating, and assimilation of METOC data and information to formulate forecasts and environmental assessments, in order to keep a ship navigating safely.
On ships, quartermasters are responsible for navigation and maintaining the ship’s charts, while METOC provides weather and oceanographic information to help the ship navigate safely. Meaning this father and son duo will work closely together throughout the deployment.
“On smaller ships we don’t have Aerographer’s Mates (AG) which is the equivalent to my son’s military occupational specialty, so the quartermasters have to do the weather,” said Joshua. “But now we are on a bigger ship and we have AG’s and METOC Marines and they can take care of all the weather for us. It’s a big job and requires daily communication.”
As they prepare for deployment, the father and son are working hard to ensure they are physically and emotionally ready for the experience.
“My dad has been in for 24 years so he knows a lot of things, he’s shared a few tips and tricks to help me get around,” said Jordan. “The biggest one is having Velcro tapes and lights inside of your rack, that was definitely a big one right there. Just little things that make the deployment much easier.”
“Dad,” on the other hand, is preparing in other ways.
“Emotionally, you get kind of used to being away from family,” said Joshua. “It’s more for like other people that are going to miss you, you know trying to deal with the other family and friends back at home that haven’t experienced this before and making sure they’re good. And picking up a routine on ship definitely makes things go smoother.”
The excitement of deploying with a close family member is one shared by few and the Orbich’s are looking forward to the unique bond that will be formed between them as they face the challenges of military service abroad together.
“When I was younger my dad would take me to the navigation briefs. It’s funny because whenever I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever be in that position, and now I am where I can attend these navigation briefs and not because I’m his son but because it’s a part of my job now,” said Jordan.
As they embark on deployment with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), they are testament to the strength and resilience of military families. They are proof even in the face of adversity, the bond between a father and son can remain unbreakable.