Crystal's StorySite

In response to many readers' inquiries, here is what happened with my wife and kids when they were confronted with "Linda" from the previous story, "Military Intelligence?" If you haven't read "Military Intelligence?" yet, you should read it for background before you read "Military Family."


Military Family

by Robyn Smith


At the end of my initial two weeks as a woman, when I had originally expected to return to something more or less resembling a normal lifestyle, the Admiral had thrown us a twist that caused me to involuntarily extend my time away from family and friends. I really shouldn't say it was totally an involuntary extension, or one that was truly distasteful to me, because had things worked out differently, I would have probably done my best to find an excuse to… Oh well, let's not get bogged down with all the coulda's and shoulda's, OK?

There was one little facet of military life that I should have remembered though. Military wives and families have a way of knowing what is going on around the command, even though we in the military go to great lengths not to let that happen. Yes Carol, my wife of over 18 years, knew all about what was going on. About all she didn't know were some of the minor details about how I had started out at Karen's (the Lieutenant's) quarters that first week, and I sure wasn't going to tell her that and risk everything I held so close to my heart.

Even that first evening, when I went home for supper, then returned to the base so quickly, Carol had picked up on the fact that "something" was going on, primarily because of my nervousness and borderline giddiness. Never could keep anything secret from her.

For the next two weeks, I poured myself into my new assignment with literally all of the gusto I could muster. I intentionally forced thoughts of my wife and kids out of my mind the best I could, out of fear that I might let it slip at some inopportune time and blow the whole thing. Instead, I had to convince myself that I was now a single, unattached, woman holding down a full-time job in the Navy.

When I hadn't called home during those first two weeks, Carol simply accepted the fact that I had a job to do. She also knew how intently I got into any "special assignment" offered. I loved the challenges some of these assignments had offered in the past, and I enjoyed playing the "hero" bit as often as possible. Consequently she didn't really think too much about the initial lack of phone calls and/or letters.

However, being a typical military wife, she still continued keeping up with her involvement in the command's "enlisted wives" club, which also kept her up to date with almost everything important happening on base.

Within the first few days, she had heard about me being replaced by this "Linda" character, but didn't understand why the command would do such a thing without at least warning me first. She also knew that the entire command had been very happy with my work, and could not understand the first thing about what was apparently happening. She began to worry and get scared for my career's well being. She knew all of the work and effort I had put into that job, and to get to the position I was in. With me supposedly being "out of town," she knew there wasn't much that I could do personally, so she decided to try and help. By now she was as determined as I was to keep what I had worked so hard to achieve over the years.

Left to her own weapons of choice, Carol has never been a person to mess with anyway. She was extremely adept at getting her way and protecting her family, even without some of the verbal encounters and open arguments one might normally expect. Instead, Carol had a way of working quietly behind the scenes to accomplish her mission. I had seldom paid too much attention to her when she got into one of her "campaigns," because, quite frankly, it wouldn't do any good to interfere anyway, so why bother?

It only took Carol a few days to find out that something was definitely going on that she should know about, and to develop a plan of attack. She had reasoned that she needed to personally gather as many facts as possible, then go from there.

She began by borrowing a neighbor's car and driving to the base one day while the kids were still in school. We only had one car at the time, and I was driving that. What she found surprised even her. She had elected to make that fateful drive on the same day I was making my move into the women's barracks. I had been so wrapped up in what was going on, that I was not paying any attention and had never realized she was even there.

Even way back before we got married, Carol had pointed out to me on a few occasions that I have a very distinctive walk and that she could pick me out of a crowd a half mile away, no matter what I was doing or what I was wearing. Of course at the time she was referring to "dress uniform" as opposed to "utilities," not in an actual "dress". She once again proved herself right.

She just happened to be driving past the women's barracks as I was approaching the door, with my new seabag over my shoulder. She couldn't understand just why I was now running around the base in a skirt and blouse, but she did know I had mentioned a "special assignment", so she chose not to push things and blow my cover. In all our married life, I had never cheated on her, and she knew it. Even now that I was in a winter-style-skirted uniform, she still had no reason to suspect any hanky-panky on my part. Over the years we had often joked about "undercover" investigators on TV and so forth. On occasion I had even jokingly insisted that these assignments did happen in real life too, even in the Navy. So, as far as she knew, I had actually been given one of those elusive assignments.

The uniform I had chosen to wear consisted of the traditional navy blue skirt, a white blouse with navy blue jacket and a blue tie. All of this was topped off with what was affectionately called, within the Navy, a "piss cutter" hat. She just knew, deep in her heart, that I was doing this for a reason and that my reason for maintaining such secrecy must also be important, otherwise I would have shared it with her. At that point in time I doubt she even paid all that much attention to my smartly styled wig, my 3-inch "Corfam" uniform heels or my "suntan" nylons.

I had chosen this particular uniform specifically because it just happened to be the standard women's uniform, required when reporting to a new command, based on time of year and command directives. The choice had also been perfectly logical, due the nature of my assignment. I had no reason to suspect that "Linda" would be recognized by anyone, let alone her/my own wife. Let's face it, Carol was supposedly still an hour's drive away from the base.

What I didn't realize was that my not knowing she had spotted me also gave me something of an advantage. Carol now had time to get used to the idea of me dressing like this, rather than having to react all at once when I finally got back home. It also meant that she had more than enough time to formulate her own questions and plan her reaction to my situation, once we were again face to face. Mostly out of curiosity, Carol continued to make regular spying trips to the base, and managed to blend very well into the background. I never had the slightest clue that she was around. As far as I knew, she was still at home baking cakes and washing dishes. All I knew for sure was that she wasn't making babies or changing diapers, since our kids were already in high school.

Our kids had come into this world girl – boy – girl – boy, and were aged 17, 16, 14 and 13. We named them LeAnna, Brian, Lisa and Daniel, in that order. We had done our best to raise them as "accepting" human beings, unafraid to see and accept people for "who" they are and "how" they act, rather than how they dress, talk, pray or look. Over the years, they had seen, first hand, just how cruel others can be based on race, sex and/or handicap. Fortunately all four learned very well, what we tried to teach. However, they still had problems with understanding the importance of "better kept secrets".

In college, Carol had majored in mathematics and did her "minor" in art, specifically photography. Now, during her rather frequent trips to the base, she also elected to bring a camera. Unknown to me, she began taking various pictures, as the opportunities would present themselves. I was to learn later that she had put these into a special album that we could share and laugh about after I retired.

Surprisingly, she didn't get too angry with any of this, just a lot more "puzzled" than anything else. She also knew that, given my present assignment and circumstances, I would probably not be in a position to tell her too much until I had completed the assignment, as to what was going on. Her father had been a career Marine Corps officer, so she understood very well the importance of military secrets, the "need" to follow orders, the occasional need for "hush-hush" assignments and so forth.

As our big inspection day came nearer, Carol began hearing about it, through all the normal "wives'" channels. She had also reasoned that since all leaves had been put on hold, I would most likely be there for the inspection.

As I walked towards the parade grounds for the big inspection, I began getting a bit shaky and almost scared to death over what I was attempting to pull off. If I got caught, the cost would be very close to being unbearable. All I could do was stand there on the parade grounds, feeling a gentle breeze blowing up my nearly naked legs, and sweat it out in a very unladylike fashion. I just knew in the deepest and darkest recesses of my stomach that I was going to get caught, be sent to a court-martial and die. All this in my new navy blue skirt and piss cutter hat.

As I glanced towards the speaker's stand, I thought I caught a glimpse of Carol and her camera. As I thought more about that, I just as abruptly came to the conclusion that my mind was playing tricks on me, what with the importance and danger of the situation and all. I even searched the area of the reviewing stand again, as we stood in formation, trying to confirm or eliminate what I "thought" I had seen. I found that Carol was nowhere in sight, and I realized that I must have been seeing things out of fear. After all, throughout our married life, Carol had never had an interest in attending these things anyway. In reality, she had already slipped into another position near the end of the parade grounds to get a better angle for her pictures and I hadn't thought to look in that direction.

As it came time for me to stand toe to toe with the inspecting officer, I naturally began showing a slight smile. I found myself facing the Admiral. Karen was following closely behind, as dictated by proper military protocol. Carol got her shot and I was now recorded, photographically, for posterity. I must admit I was quite pleased, a few weeks later, to see that picture. Here was this rather cute young lady, smiling coyly as the Admiral was doing his thing and inspecting her uniform and military bearing. All the while, the young lady's "officer-in-charge" looked on and smiled knowingly.

Obviously, all of the effort I had put into my appearance had paid off too. My "Corfam" 3-inch heels actually looked better than "patent leather". I had learned earlier, with my normal "men's" shoes, that I could further improve their appearance and natural luster by applying a very light coat of petroleum jelly, then buffing them to a very high sheen that looked better than any "spit polish" attempt I had ever seen. I had also made a trip to the Navy Exchange uniform shop the day before and picked up three pair of legal/regulation pantyhose, just for this occasion. I had decided to pick up three pair, just to be on the safe side. Besides, a girl can never have too many pantyhose, right?

As far as the remainder of my uniform goes, I had spent close to four hours ensuring that my skirt, blouse and jacket were totally wrinkle free and clear of any and all traces of lint. I chose to wear the sexiest pair of hot pink lace panties I could find, simply because they felt so damned good. Besides, I would probably never get an opportunity like this again, and I had never, in my military life, heard of any inspecting officer actually inspecting a female's panties during a formal uniform inspection. At least, not since the "locker inspections" we had been subjected to back in "boot camp" many years earlier.

I looked good, I felt good, despite the fact that I was so scared. I also knew, deep within my soul, that once I got through this day, things would return to normal and I could restart my heart and my breathing. Even though I was really getting into all of this, I still just wanted to get it over with and go back home.

By this time Carol had pretty much figured out what was going on, she just hadn't figured out why. The biggest thing is that she had also satisfied herself that whatever I was up to, it didn't seem to involve me violating my marriage vows. She was also certain in her own mind that she needed to keep all of this to herself for the time being. She knew that she could not risk sharing what she knew with my parents, our kids or even her best friends. Any or all of them presented a clear and present danger of spilling the beans.

Following the inspection ordeal, Carol simply slipped away with the crowd. She made a stop on her way home, to get the pictures developed. After leaving the 1-hour photo finishing shop, she double-checked to make sure all of her pictures had turned out, as she walked back to the car. To this day, I have no idea what she had told the neighbors, as to why she needed to drive their car to the base all that often. But I am sure the neighbors had a few suspicions of their own. They never openly complained because she would always return the car with a full tank of gas. And when needed, she would also make sure to get an oil change, with the neighbor's permission of course.

When the time came for the Admiral to unexpectedly extend his visit, I was also coming to the realization that I just couldn't keep this from Carol and the kids too much longer. With what I personally felt were a series of "lies" I'd told to Carol, back when all of this started, anxiously digging at my insides, I just knew my marriage had suffered a hit that would be extremely difficult to recover from. I found out later that I needn't have worried so much in this area. Carol had become so intrigued with all of this that she had decided to allow me to continue dressing like this, if I wanted, even after the assignment was completed and possibly even become one of her best "girlfriends".

After the admiral had made his announcement about extending his visit, I initially knew that I couldn't really justify too much more time away from home. I was beginning to have the time of my life as "Linda", but I still had a family too. I knew I had to find a way to go back home and still keep Linda alive and well, at least until this whole thing was finished.

When I called home, just after the Admiral announced his extended visit, I knew I had to come up with some type of plausible explanation to Carol, as to why I needed more time. I reasoned that she would probably buy into me helping a shipmate, so I elected to tell her simply that one of my shipmates had got into some legal trouble with the hometown police and that I was trying to find some way to help save their career. How about that, I could tell Carol the truth, or at least a partial truth, and still not spill the beans. I mean, after all, did she really need to know that the shipmate in trouble was another girl?

During that call, no matter how hard I tried, I still caught myself slipping back into my feminine voice and speech patterns. I was surprised that Carol hadn't noticed, but I was still counting my blessings that she hadn't. A week later, I called again, but received the shock of my life when I did.

About 10 – 15 minutes into our conversation, Carol interrupted me with a question. She asked rather bluntly, "Linda, when are you coming home?" I stuttered and stammered for what had to be another half-hour before I could compose myself enough to even try answering her question. What made the whole thing even worse was hearing her laughing on the other end of the line. I had been caught, but how?

As I stood in that lonely phone booth, trying to find some sort of explanation, Carol began quietly telling me about her side of the story and her frequent trips to the base. She also went to great length to let me know that, to her knowledge, nobody else knew or even suspected a thing. I eventually regained enough composure to tell her that I was not able to explain things completely right now, but that I would fill her in, with as much information as I could, as soon as I could. Although that didn't really satisfy her all that well, it would have to do for now. Thank goodness our marriage had always been founded on love and trust. At least now I could assure her that I had a private room in the barracks and that I would be calling more often. I still couldn't bring myself to the point of actually admitting I had a roommate. I also asked that she not call me, because it would be too easy for one of us to slip up and say something that shouldn't be said. Reluctantly she agreed that perhaps it was better that way.

The next major event came the day the Admiral lowered the boom on the skipper, Karen and me – the same day I found myself being transferred to the Admiral's staff. I stopped by Karen's quarters after work, changed into my "boy" clothes again, then quietly drove home.

At the house, I was given something of a "hero's" welcome. Brian and Daniel helped take my bags into the house, while LeAnna and Lisa prepared the supper table. As the kids were doing what they could to help out, Carol and I were having problems avoiding the beginnings of a second honeymoon. Our embrace was a bit confusing at first, since Carol had never felt me "bare-chested" before. She had always enjoyed toying around and pulling one or two of my chest hairs as a sign of affection. Her only comment now was that this would take a bit of getting used to.

At the dinner table, things were going quite well, until I started to reach for the bowl of mashed potatoes. I never realized just how baggy my T-shirts had become, until Daniel began laughing and asking when and why I had taken to shaving my armpits. Once again, I reverted right back to the stuttering and stammering routine. This time though, that routine was also accompanied with a very noticeable color shift. To say I looked like a freshly cooked lobster would be a gross understatement.

I finally calmed down enough to get my head on straight, then began thinking of the past events I had been drawn into. I reasoned that, since the Admiral had figured out our little scam on base, I was no longer subject to my vows of secrecy in this matter. Nevertheless, for the sake of my career, or what was left of it, I still needed to remain a bit guarded in what I said about it and to whom I told it. I simply explained that I would talk to them about it in the morning. That gave me all night to figure out how much to tell and how to explain it when I did.

Shortly after supper, we sent the kids to bed early, so Carol and I could talk. At first, we didn't actually talk too much, verbally that is. We tried our best at starting that second honeymoon, but stopped short when we remembered that the kids were right down the hall, and we were still on the livingroom sofa. I finally began explaining to Carol about the Admiral's niece, about the decision and need for the cover-up attempt and my upcoming transfer. As I explained all of this, Carol pulled out a picture album and began telling of her adventures on base with her camera.

While Carol was secretly observing me at the base, she had decided that she would like to get to know this "Linda" character a lot better, and see for herself just how deeply this person was embedded into the man she had married. As we got ready for bed, Carol presented me with a brand new pair of baby dolls that she had recently purchased just for me. Once I had changed, she opened the closet door to reveal quite a selection of clothes, all very feminine and all mine. She had decided to put her college education to the test and had been working with all those pictures she had taken.

In a good percentage of the photographs, she had managed to get something in the picture that she could use for measurement calculation and reference. From there it was just a matter of time before she had worked out my approximate measurements and come up with most of the information she needed to figure out sizing. Once Carol had calculated my sizes, she went shopping. In other words, while I was on base sweating out this little reunion, Carol was having the time of her life. How she managed to keep it all from the kids, I will never know.

The following morning, Saturday, my daughter Lisa rather rudely awakened me. The expression on her face was priceless, as she caught her first look at me in my new pajamas. It must have taken her a good five minutes to pick her lower jaw off the carpet, put it back in place, and remember to tell me breakfast was ready.

Even with the extra time I had bought the night before, I still had no idea just how to even begin explaining things to the kids. Damn, now I had to wing it. So I started out by explaining that, if any of this ever got outside the house and/or the family, my career would be ruined. Once I got that point across, and was convinced that all of them understood, I began.

I went on to explain, "To start with, 'I' no longer exist as far as the Navy is concerned, at least for the time being. For at least the next six months, if you need to talk to me at work, you will have to ask for 'Linda'". I gave them a few minutes to let this sink in, then simply explained about the shipmate in jail, about the skipper needing a replacement and about me being selected to become that replacement and now being stuck in my current predicament. After what seemed to be an eternity of non-belief in their eyes, they began venting anger directed towards the skipper. They never did blame me, because I was simply following orders. No, they were angry with the person responsible for issuing those orders to begin with. If word of this ever hit their school, they would never be able to live it down. Even with those fears so fresh in their minds, both LeAnna and Lisa slowly began to see a bit of humor in seeing "Daddy in a Dress". It still hadn't registered in their minds that, with my transfer, they would be changing schools too.

After breakfast, the kids were still grumbling as they each went their separate ways to spend time with friends and get their homework out of the way. As they began to vanish I took time to begin a much deeper, and much needed explanation to Carol. What surprised me the most was that she just took it all in stride and even took time for an occasional laugh when I got to various problem areas and told how I had solved those problems. I think her biggest laugh came when I told her about a leaking water balloon during an initial bra-filling test. She could actually visualize me walking around the base with this "wet spot" growing on my chest.

Another belly laugh came when I explained just why I was smiling during the inspection photo. In reality I had been standing there wondering what the Admiral would think if he knew about those lacy hot pink panties I was wearing. But by the same token, just why was the Admiral smiling too? Was he envisioning all of us girls in hot pink panties, or was he merely having fun flirting with a few of us?

And, YES, I even explained about how Karen had helped in all of this, I just elected to leave out a few of the more pointed details, especially the ones that would have the two of us running around her quarters either naked or nearly so. Those details I didn't think Carol would be too happy knowing.


To be continued

The next update will show a closer picture of just where we, as a family, are right now – a few years later, and what it has taken to get there.




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