Deployment preparation--it's all about questions and answers

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Pete Draheim
  • 934th Operations Support Squadron commander
A large number of concerns come to mind when I think about preparing for a deployment.
Have I packed everything I need?
Do my parents or spouse need a Power of Attorney?
Do I need a will?
Who will pay my bills?
Are my SGLI beneficiaries up to date?
Do I need insurance on my vehicle if no one is driving it?
Do I need to tell the credit card companies I'm deploying?
Will my family have money to buy food, pay the rent/mortgage?
Will my family need computer or banking passwords?
Will my children be cared for (daycare/school, medical/dental)?
I'm sure you can think of hundreds of other questions.

It is the individual Reserve members' responsibility to answer these questions. But, there are plenty of Air Force resources that are there to help. If this is your first deployment, I recommend you ask someone who's deployed before how they answer these questions.

Another focus I have as I prepare for deployment is on the deployed quality of life.
What will the deployed location be like (DFAC, Gym, etc.)?
What will I do in my off-duty time?
What do my quarters look like?
Who is my roommate?
Will there be and where is the Wi-Fi?
What is my work schedule?
These questions are less important, but the stress of the deployment will increase the more these (or any) questions remain unanswered. Ask for the answers.

My final area of focus is on the mission. As a commander, that is where I want you to have and maintain your focus. However, like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, unless the basic questions on family, finance, legal, and to a lesser extent, deployed quality of life are answered, it will be increasingly difficult to build and maintain the higher need of mission focus. Prepare yourself for the mission by asking and answering the basic questions above.

Failure to focus on family, finance, legal, and deployed quality of life won't hurt you or your friends - failure to focus on the mission can and will. At the end of the deployment, what your family wants most is you back home safely. Resolve the questions above so that you can build and maintain the mission focus needed to bring us all back home safely.