Teea Wyatt: A Navy Spouse with Grit and Tenacity
25 January 2023
WASHINGTON - If you have yet to meet Teea Wyatt at one of the Navy Wounded Warrior sports camps, you have to make it a point to do so the next time around.
Teea is by far one of the most inspiring Navy spouses you will ever meet. She will leave you feeling empowered and encouraged after only one conversation. Her confidence, laugh, and cheerfulness are just downright infectious.
“I wake up knowing every day is a new day and I choose to be positive!” Teea exclaimed when asked how she remains so optimistic.
With her enthusiasm for life and bright outlook, it is sometimes hard to believe Teea and her young family have literally endured nightmares and heartache for the past two years.
“Being negative and angry won’t help me or my mental health, and in turn won’t help my husband and kids or their mental health,” Teea explained. “This doesn’t dismiss that some days are long and hard, but we stay positive and celebrate all the little things we can.”
July 12, 2020.
The day started out as any typical day in port. Teea’s husband, Operations Specialist 1st Class Travis Wyatt, was the officer of the deck on board the USS Fitzgerald, which was docked on the opposite side of the pier from the USS Bonhomme Richard.
That day, however, ended up being anything but typical as the men and women of the U.S. Navy worked around the clock to put out a catastrophic fire that eventually engulfed and destroyed the once mighty Bonhomme Richard.
OS1 Wyatt was significantly injured by one of the concussive blasts that occurred on the Bonhomme Richard due to the fire. The force of the explosion literally threw OS1 Wyatt from where he was standing on the Fitzgerald and slammed him against the ship’s steel wall. The impact left OS1 Wyatt with chest and back injuries along with a traumatic brain injury.
It was at that moment on July 12, 2020, that the life of OS1 Wyatt, Teea, and their two children were forever changed.
“The hardest moment for me as a Navy spouse was watching my driven, goal-oriented Sailor struggle after his accident, lose his drive and sense of purpose. Now he deals with depression, anxiety, memory loss, a traumatic brain injury, and PTSD among other things,” Teea shared. “Learning to adapt to a new normal and how to move forward with being a caregiver to my husband’s needs has been heartbreaking at times. It has been 2-and-a-half years, and we are still working through this daily.”
Teea not only faces each day with positivity and appreciation, she does so with “grit and tenacity,” traits she says are necessary as a Navy spouse.
Grit is to have courage and resolve, while tenacity means being determined and persistent. These words can easily describe Teea and many other Navy spouses.
“We are resilient and strong, but constantly needing to adapt and overcome. With each new set of orders that translates into another PCS or move every few years as well as a new command with a whole new set of challenges that most Americans will never have to deal with,” Teea said. “The sacrifices being made are not only made by the Sailor who signed up to serve our country, but by the spouses and children of each of those Sailors as well.”
The Wyatt children know all about making sacrifices even at such a young age. Blake, 10, is caring, kind, and funny. His sister, 9-year-old Haydn, is described as having a “heart of gold” and always wanting to help others. Similar to her dad, Haydn has an adventurous spirit, while Blake loves to share jokes and play baseball.
“I love how strong we are as a family that no matter the challenge or how hard the bumps in the road are, we face them together and come out stronger on the other side,” Teea said.
What Teea is describing is resilience – that toughness to withstand and recover from life’s hurdles. That resilience has been the foundation of their marriage.
“We are unstoppable teammates,” Teea said of herself and her husband of 18 years. “Life has thrown us some curveballs, and yet we communicate the best path forward and embark on the next adventure with heart and perseverance.”
The two met when they were in high school in Lakeside, Calif. What started out as friendship ended up being happily ever after … no matter what.
“As corny as it may sound, I knew Travis was the one for me even before we started dating.
I was madly in love with him,” she said. “We had an instant bond and connection that I wasn’t willing to ever part with. He understood me in a way that no one else did and loved me for who I was. That can be so rare to find so young.”
Even as OS1 Wyatt confronted the many adverse effects of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a brain injury, his Navy spouse never thought of parting with him nor walking away. Even during the darkest days, Teea has been his constant and his rescuer.
Yet with true humility, Teea gives credit to the Navy Wounded Warrior for saving her husband. The program helps Sailors and Coast Guardsmen with serious, non-combat, or combat-related injuries and physical or psychological illnesses.
“Through Navy Wounded Warrior and adaptive sports, Travis has been able to find his center and a passion for archery,” Teea said. “He has found a purpose in telling his story to other Sailors in hopes that he can help even one of them get the help the y may need, and that things may be hard, but it will be OK.”
Last August, OS1 Wyatt competed in the Department of Defense Warrior Games and won the Gold Medal in archery. In September of this year, he will travel to Dusseldorf, Germany, to compete in the 2023 Invictus Games.
By his side will of course be Teea – a Navy spouse with grit and tenacity.