On nearly every deployment, there are soldiers, officers and spouses always saying, “Why didn’t I do this?”
There is nothing easy about deploying. For the new soldier just leaving to Basic Training, or the experienced officer being deployed with his unit on a tour to Afghanistan. Something will be forgotten. It never fails.
While it is inevitable that something may be forgotten, I have decided to put together 10 important pre-deployment considerations you will want to check. I suggest you print these off and use it as a pre-deployment checklist.
I will consider both married and single soldiers in this post.
1: Family Readiness Group
The Army is considerate of families of deploying soldiers. Most units have a Family Readiness Group set up. The Family Readiness Group provides support for family members of deploying soldiers. This could be spouses and children, fiance’s or parents and siblings.
The Family Readiness Group will help keep the family up-to-date on pertinent information. They also have activities to help keep the minds clear of worry and stress.
It is important that you get your family “hooked in” to the Family Readiness Group before you deploy.
2: Contact Phone Numbers
It is important that you make a list of contact numbers for both you and your loved ones. You should have the numbers for your loved ones of people in your unit and any other phone numbers they may need. On the other side, you should have with you a list of contact numbers on the “home-front.”
By doing this, if one person doesn’t answer, you can check through the list.
One of the best communication methods available for deployed soldiers is Skype. Make sure you have Skype accounts set up for both you and your loved ones. Be sure and explain how to use Skype.
This is a great way to stay in contact often.
It is not something that people like to talk about, but it is important to consider that death happens. I write this not from the perspective that a soldier is necessarily going to war. People, no matter what, who, how or why should have their wills up-to-date because death can come at any time.
We don’t want to leave our loved ones with a big mess if we somehow pass on to the other side.
If you are single, you will want to consider what you will do with your vehicle. Will you store it, or allow someone to use it while you are gone?
If you are married, will your spouse use the vehicle? You may want to explain certain things about it, like checking oil and such.
Keep in mind the insurance too. How will it be paid, or will you let it lapse until your return?
Depending on how long your deployment is, taxes still have to be done by mid April every year. How will you have this done.
Many soldiers and officers simply hire a personal accountant to do it for them. Others have their spouses take care of the taxes. Just be sure that someone has a power of attorney so they can sign on the dotted line.
Here is an area that is often overlooked before deployment. Does your spouse know how to handle the various things you do around the house? If you are single, do you have someone that can look in on your housing from time to time.
Just consider everything about your housing situation before you deploy. If you rent, you may want to just pay ahead, or move your possessions into storage.
If it’s junk mail, who cares?
But there are important pieces of mail. You may be able to forward to your deployment location, but it is easier to have it forwarded to someone you trust, and have them mail all the important stuff to you. Not to mention the next item on the list.
I mentioned the mail earlier, and bills sometimes come in the mail. I suggest you set the bills up to be paid automatically from your bank account.
Whether it is loan payments or utility bills, they all must be paid. Make sure and discuss it with your loved ones so you have a good system of paying the bills.
Deployments can be quite hard on children. Be sure and spend quality time with them before you leave. Make sure you explain to them why you are leaving.
If you pay child support, be sure and have a system in place to keep payments regular.
Make sure and contact your kids often. Use Skype and mail.
Remember, children are our future.
These are the 10 most important pre-deployment considerations in my opinion. What other items should military personnel consider before deploying?
Leave your thoughts and comments below. If you have any questions, post them here too, and we will try to give you an answer or tell you where to get an answer.
Good luck on your deployment, and thank you for your service to the citizens of the United States.