Are you really ready to deploy?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Mike Cannon
  • 62nd Aerial Port Squadron commander
If there was any doubt in my mind that we are an expeditionary force, it vanished when I was notified from my next duty station of my pending deployment ... two days before I got my hard copy permanent change of station orders. It may sound a bit odd, but it was a good thing. That meant I had plenty of time to prepare.

There are others who are not so fortunate. Because of training injuries, last-minute profiles and foul-ups, some of our Airmen are getting days to weeks notice of up to one year deployments. If this were to happen to you, would you be ready?

Deployment readiness can be broken down into three areas: professional readiness, personal readiness and family readiness.

If you are current in all three, you are truly ready to deploy. If you are weak in any of these areas, then you are creating the potential for disaster.

Probably the easiest area to maintain currency is in professional readiness. Ask yourself these two questions: Can I do my job? Can I do my job in the sand? If both answers are yes, then you are professionally ready.

Personal readiness is a bit trickier. Are you physically, emotionally and spiritually fit? Do you have a current will? Have you arranged for all of your bills to be paid and your personal property to be safeguarded? Are you mentally prepared for the challenges of deployment?

Fortunately, there are some people who will help you in this area as well. Your commander, first sergeant, the medical group professionals, the legal office, the mission support squadron and the chaplain's office can all help you. But, you're going to have to engage with them and let them know if you need any help.

Family readiness is the most difficult, but often most important aspect of deployment readiness.

Is your family ready to be without you while you are deployed? Can someone do those things that you always do?

Make sure they know who to call if they have any problems. Sit down with your kids and let them know why you'll be missing their birthday this year. Teach your husband how to boil water without it getting all lumpy. Show your wife and kids how a plunger works. Get a friend to mow your lawn on Mondays since yard inspections are on Tuesdays. Let them know about all of the wonderful the things the base does for deployed families.

Let's hope that you get plenty of notice before your next deployment. But be really ready, just in case you don't.