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The Long Deployment Mindset
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The Long Deployment Mindset

Going on a long deployment can be very nerve racking. It seems that everything you hold dear is being taken away from you. If you get any down time, all you seem to do is think about your spouse, your children, your pets and what they all must be doing to cope with your separation. Instinctively, you switch in to survivor mode and try to ease the pain by calling home, or maybe writing a letter or email. Just to let them all know that not a minute goes by that you are not thinking of them. Reinforcing the bonds of love, often is a major reason that you can be successful in managing your time while deployed.

While working it is easy to stay focused because you are in a war zone and must constantly be aware of that. Now granted, as an Air Force/Air Guard member, I was a few miles away from the action. But I still had to be on guard for the possibilities of harm coming our way. We had AC-130 Gunships stationed alongside of us in 2004. I was there when they were hammering the heck out of Faluja and it was tense. The Specters took off fully loaded for bear and came back to refill on ammo and fuel then took off again and again. It is imperative that you look out for yourself and your fellow airmen, marines, sailors, soldiers and guardsmen when working in such harsh environments. The slightest hiccup could cause a catastrophe.

Keeping an eye on one another is the key to having a good deployment. You often form unbreakable bonds of friendship during these hard times. The members of your unit become your second family. Humor is another key to being deployed. Laughter is a great tool to use to ease some of the tension and stress associated with a wartime deployment. If you notice someone feeling down and out, help them by trying to lift their spirits with a corny knock-knock joke or other funny pun. In turn they may do the same for you on an tough day for you.

I spent my off days trying to write a note and sometimes a letter a day home. This helped my mood and helped relay my experiences while stationed in Kuwait. I could share my personal opinions better that way as well. I noticed right away that complaining to your pals in the desert was not helping. It was also not very constructive for morale purposes. Not to mention that what right did I have to complain when there were Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors that were going through this time with me in much harsher conditions than I was. I saw the Soldiers being brought to our base for a two week hiatus in action and they were bone weary with exhaustion. I also got to see them off when, after two weeks of rest and being able to sleep in a comfortable bed, with hot chow and shower facilities get back on the airplanes to head out to the front again with smiles and a sense of humanity restored to them.

I admire the fortitude and determination that the armed forces of our nation exhibits on a daily basis. These men and women in uniform go places no one else will go, do things no one else is willing to do, see things that are unimaginable, and carry on their duties with a sense of pride and dignity that is unrivaled. America should applaud you for your service, and support you when you return from doing the things you do, so that they do not have to do them. On behalf of my family and myself I salute you and say thank you very much for a job well done. God Bless.


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