When we think of military service, we think of those in uniform, but military families serve in their own way.
Over the past decade, they've had to deal with long and recurrent separations as loved ones go to war, and it's not going to get any easier for Navy families any time soon.
A standard Navy deployment used to be six months, but in recent years they've stretched to as long as nine.
Sometimes those extensions come mid-deployment, catching families by surprise.
Now the Navy's deployable aircraft carrier fleet has decreased from 11 to nine, so the Navy says carrier deployments will continue to be long and frequent in the coming years.
Local Navy Lieutenant David Noble has just returned from a seven-month deployment on USS Benfold, and a lot has changed at home since he left.
Since marrying his wife Rebecca, they've endured three deployments; spending more than two years apart in six years of marriage. This time, Dave missed his twins' 3rd birthday.
“You miss a lot. You come back and the kids are little people walking around, and they were hardly talking at all when I left,” said Lt. Noble.
Noble’s ship is a destroyer, but his family has felt the pressure too.
Rebecca says being a Navy wife isn't easy, but she's proud of her husband's service.
"Having kids and saying goodbye is the hardest thing I've ever seen because you don't' know how your kids are going to react. For the first couple weeks they cried every night,” she said.
The couple says that despite the long and frequent deployments, for them there is a silver lining: they really cherish and appreciate the time they do have at home together.