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Deployment ABCs: Taking Turns

The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment.  If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat! 

You know you have a busy weekend when you’re a little relieved that it’s Monday so things slow down a bit. Two work events on the same weekend make for a very tired Rachel so forgive me for slacking a little bit today and forcing A to do all the heavy blog lifting. I’ve talked a lot about what deployments are like for military spouses, but I think it would be a mistake not to let A take his turn. I asked him a few questions about what a deployment is like for the service member.

What is your schedule like on a deployment?

Traditionally, we work 18-hour days. Whenever you have time you can eat or sleep. You have to walk out of the office and take a break. But for the most part it’s all work. We always try and do something around holidays to make things more festive. We try and have some fun while we’re out there: pick-up basketball or football games are always breaking out.  Working out is big as well. Just anything to give your mind a break.

What’s the biggest challenge (that’s not job related)?

Being away from family and worrying about them. It’s so easy to be away and be single, but it’s much harder when you have a family.

How has deployment (and your outlook on it) changed as you’ve gotten older?

When I first started out, I was in it more for the experience and excitement when I was younger. Everything was new and exciting. I became more goal-oriented as I got older; my focus shifted to the job and doing the best that I could at it.

What are the best ways people at home can help while you’re deployed?

It sounds silly, but not to worry about me. Take care of yourself and everything at home. Not having to worry about what’s happening at home lets me focus on my job while I’m away.

Do you have a favorite part of being deployed? Is there anything good about it?

Accomplishing those work-related goals. You like seeing everyone come home and having a “boring” deployment, but it makes you feel good to accomplish a lot to keep people safe at home. It’s kind of fun to do more than the person who was out there before you and set the next person up for success. We get competitive with each other for sure.

Do you make friends during deployment?

Oh yeah, camaraderie is huge. You may not contact each other every day when you’re back home, but when you do talk, you immediately have that bond again.  You share a lot of experiences with each other. That connects you for life.

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