PARKERSBURG - For most people, coming back to the Mid-Ohio Valley to visit family and friends is a calm holiday, but for one serviceman, it can be strange.
"It's weird now to come back," said Ryan Terrell, petty officer second class E-5 in the United States Navy. "It's weird that I used to call (Parkersburg) home."
Terrell has been in the Navy for two-and-a-half years and serves on the USS Jacksonville, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Ryan Terrell, a 2009 Parkersburg High School graduate, now serves in the United States Navy on a submarine.
"I live in the history capital of Hawaii, which is cool," Terrell said. "I always wanted to go there and it's home now.
"It's pretty neat living there now that I'm used to it."
Terrell said the history of the Dec. 7, 1942, attack on Pearl Harbor remains fresh at the historic site.
"Parts of the base haven't been changed or fixed at all," he said. "There are still bullet holes and broken glass around some buildings and the old air tower looks like it did right after the attack. It's strange to be around those places."
He also said while the museum over the USS Arizona is solemn and serene, he had a shock while visiting.
"I was looking at the list of men still entombed and noticed a Terrell," the 21-year-old said. "I don't know if we are related, but that really surprised me."
Living in paradise is far different from the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Terrell, originally of Walker.
"When I come back here I get bored because I'm used to having stuff to do all of the time in Hawaii and there's nothing to do here," he said.
While Terrell left for Hawaii on Sunday, he did manage to spend about two weeks at home catching up with friends and family.
"I surprised my mom's family on Mother's Day Sunday at church," he said. "I showed up in my dress whites and they had no idea I was home. That was pretty cool."
When working, Terrell is a helmsman and steers the 362-foot submarine with 137 other sailors.
"Sub life is different," he said. "One thing you don't realize is the oxygen levels are at 17 or 18 percent and air above is at 21 percent. That little difference really affects you because while you're under you're really tired and can't seem to stay awake, but when you go up and spend some time on land, you're awake for a day-and-a-half because there's so much more oxygen."
Working in a daze may not seem all that difficult until you realize that the USS Jacksonville can be under for weeks or months at a time.
"The longest trip I've done was six weeks to Alaska," Terrell said. "It isn't too bad and you get used to being in a sub after a while, but the worst part is seeing the same people all day, every day while you work 18 hours at a time."
Terrell said he did not plan to be stationed on a submarine with six-month deployments when he joined the Navy after high school.
"I wanted to join the Army and go into active duty, but my mom wanted me to be safer, so I went in to the Navy," he said. "I chose to go into the service because I didn't know what I wanted to do after graduation and I'm kinda glad I didn't go to college because I'm able to see and do a lot more now.
"Sometimes I miss the civilian world my friends' lives seem so easy because it's nothing for me to work 16- or 18-hour days," Terrell continued.
Although Terrell is happy with the choices he has made, he has been considering what to do when his five-year enlistment is up.
"I've been thinking about it a lot lately," he said. "I'd be stupid not to stay in and retire, but I'd also like to come back and do the college thing.
"I still have two-and-a-half years to decide, but I don't want to spend my entire life on a submarine," Terrell added.