Preparing for deployment-it's not just about you

  • Published
  • By Maj. Andrew Staut
  • 934th Mainenance Squadron commander
Preparing for's not just about you
So you've been chosen for a deployment! Congratulations! You're about to embark upon one of the most exciting and stressful endeavors of your life. There are few greater opportunities than to deploy with your unit, but how does one great ready for this adventure?

First of all, let's just assume your unit will do an outstanding job getting you militarily ready for your trip--training, shots, uniforms, a well-equipped Airman's Manual, etc, etc, etc.... That's the part about you, but have you done what you need to prepare those that you will leave behind?

A tremendous deployment stress really isn't what you are doing, but what is happening back at home that you have very little control over. Furnace out? Bills getting paid? Pets being fed? House being watched? Spouse able to get the kids to gymnastics, hockey, and piano practice before they even get to school? You'll want to help but you can't. Most of what you can contribute will occur before you even leave.

Ask your family and friends what, aside from your safety, they are most concerned about as you prepare to do the job you've been training to do. Here are a few tips you could consider to help mitigate stress and concern of you and your family before you leave:

· Set up and test a Skype or Face-Time account. Nothing like "face to face" time over 8,000 miles.

· Prepare a password controlled document of all of your key financial, utility, and medical account numbers, web usernames, phone numbers, and passwords.

· Ask friends and co-workers with special skill sets (e.g. electricians, HVAC, kids who can shovel) if you can leave your family their phone number for those unplanned events.

· Seek and take advantage of Yellow Ribbon. You get paid, your family gets paid and your kids get paid. Your flight to a 4-5 star hotel are covered. You all get incredible information and you can do this just once? Oh no---Three times! I'm wouldn't do this, why?

· Take your vehicles in for service early just to get it done and reduce maintenance surprises

· Buy a few spa passes or tickets to a couple of games with pre-arranged childcare
· Video tape several versions of story time for younger kids so you can read their bedtime stories

Will this cover everything? Not a chance. But it will go a long way in preparing those you leave behind to handle some of the more common stresses that arise during deployment. That preparation, believe me, will allow you to focus more on your job while you are gone knowing you've prepared those at home to be successful and happy. Plus, when you do get the limited time to call home, you'll spend less time talking about what needs to happen to fix X and more time talking about the things important to you.

In the end, remember that a successful deployment is defined both by what you do on the road and what happens back at home. God Bless and have a safe deployment!