Preparation critical to smooth deployments

  • Published
  • By Maj. Christopher Lavallee
  • 62nd Force Support Squadron commander
As we continue in the Global War on Terror, the opportunity to deploy is high. As Airmen, all of us can expect that we may have to deploy as part of the AEF structure or on extended TDYs to support our equally heavily-tasked sister services. 

No matter the type and place of deployment though, there are many things Airmen and their supervisors can do to ensure the success of the deployed mission while taking care of our military members and their families. 

A good start for the military member is to ensure that you have all your required deployment training up to date at all times, and when selected for deployment, ensure that you stay current for the duration of your time away from home station. 

Your unit training manager, unit deployment manager, supervisors and locally developed checklists can help prepare you for success. Maintaining currency is critical in items such as Self-Aid and Buddy Care, chemical warfare defense, weapon proficiency, medical clearance and recurring training required in your AFSC so you can hit the ground running at your deployed location. 

The personal affairs of military members and their families are equally important. By having a good plan to care for personal matters, you can reduce stress and worry and help focus on the task at hand. 

For married members, having powers of attorney set up for spouses will allow them to take care of personal items while deployed. It's also important to check out the family car, work out finances and get listings of available agencies and phone contacts that will be there for your family. If you're single, plan out what bills will come due during your deployment, either forward your mail or find someone to pick it up for you and find someone to stop by your house or apartment to check on things such as your yard and the overall condition of things. 

By establishing a family care plan, ensuring contact numbers are accurate and most importantly following through, items of concern can be addressed and dealt with before they become problems. Commanders, first sergeants and supervisors also play a very important role in making a deployment successful for the military member and their family. 

Contact the deployed family members at least once every two weeks to see how things are going. Let them know that you are available if situations come up that they need help with. Your Phoenix Spouses can also certainly play a large role in contacting family members of those deployed. Continue to include them in squadron functions and most importantly: keep them informed on what agencies are available to provide support. 

The Airman and Family Readiness Center, the base legal office and chaplain services are just a few organizations that offer a whole host of support services. Morale calls, free oil changes, activities and support networks are just a few of the offerings that are out there to help take care our families. 

While certainly not all inclusive, the tips above offer a good starting point for your next deployment. A successful deployed experience starts out with proper planning, plenty of follow through to make sure you can execute your planning, and includes lots of information available from helping agencies to reduce the stressors of deployments.