Deployment Advice - For Everyone!!

I noticed a lot of stories about deployments and boot camp and every time I give these people advice I always find I’ve missed something so I’m breaking it down I’m talking deployment but if he’s in boot camp keep reading either way I think it’s relevant for everyone of you! In this day and time, if you the SO of a military person you have either already dealt with a deployment or will be dealing with one in the future. In the past, many significant others were able to make it through an entire enlistment without going through a deployment separation. Today, with continuing operations in Iraq (kind of) and Afghanistan with no end in sight, it is not likely to happen.
The best thing you can do is to prepare for the deployment and the many obstacles it can deliver. There are emotional stages that are common for everyone during this separation. Although these stages are the most common, do not be alarmed if you either skip a stage or stay in one stage for a longer period. I also want to say right now that with every deployment at some point you will feel depressed and that’s ok just don’t let it get out of hand find your lowest low then frigging come back fighting‼ But I’m getting ahead of myself now. I’m going to take you through the stages – if I forget anything please feel free to add something!

First Stage: Deployment bomb

Depending his unit, you could have months of notice before they deploy or as little as a few hours pre-warning you’ll probably go through 20 changes before this actually happens. My first reaction has always been from a range of shock, disbelief and a feeling of helplessness. I want to point out here that no matter how pissed off you are get over it and fast I DONT recommended it the first time I ever had these thoughts I went through a deployment from hell! From the start try and be as positive as you can be AJ and I play a game where he tells me and then immediately says something like at least you wont have to bug me for 6 months about putting the toilet seat down and I say almost like a holiday we turn it into something positive and force ourselves to think that way right from the beginning expect tears every time I’ve been told and even during the ‘game’ I have been crying it doesn’t make you weak.

Separation anxiety and pure complete and utter white fear of him leaving is as normal as going to bed at night! People deal with stuff differently you may find you fight more and some may find they become more clinging and really if you like me you strike a balance between the two one minute I can be cling film and the next I’ll become devil spawn because I find that he’s getting to close before he leaves and its easier to see you later if we at each others throats and honestly every single emotion you have is normal‼ As for him depending on whether it’s his 1st  deployment or 100th you going find that he tries to get a balance between making sure you really alright to pushing you away be pre – warned weird ideas are like candy to him right now‼ the first deployment is always the worst for both of you because both you terrified out of mind and don’t have a clue what to expect he’ll try and break up with you a million times and then phone 1 sec later and make things better again however you are both dealing with a lot and dealing with it as best as you possible can.

He is most probably looking forward to this deployment after all, he’s been training for it since he entered and signed the dotted line and the first DI called him dipshit. You however feel like you’ve just stepped into your worst nightmare and person you love is actually excited about going and being a million miles away from you. You have to actually stop for a minute to remember that he actually looking forward to the chance to put to use everything he’s worked so darn hard for and to put into action and use his brand new skills he just learnt; he is not looking forward to being away from you or his family. I remember the first day I started as an intern in the hospital I’d been studying for so hard and for so long I felt like slept in 5 years but the minute I got that internship and the day I started was the most exciting day of my life my family thought I was nuts because my most exciting day was someone’s worst. You’ve got to understand that try to always relate it back to something you understand it’s the only way you’ll ever be able to strike that balance. Remember, it is very important that he has a bond with people in his unit. He may begin spending more time with them before deployment and this can cause tension as you generally want this time to be just for you. Just remember unit solidity and high spirits is essential to their success to get back home don’t take it personally its so important that this actually happens you may not like it but just try to accept it. I actually get to a point where I wish he’d just leave not for any other reason other than I want to get on with things and I want this deployment to end as quickly as possible. If you felt this way do not feel guilty that this thought entered your head – it is normal!

Second Stage: Leaving and the months that follow

This by far is the hardest thing for me to do, saying goodbye and knowing he’ll be gone for a long time is emotionally and physically exhausting. Honestly it never gets easy EVER I find the more I do it the harder it actually gets! A lot of the time it’s in that moment you simply realize this is happening and there’s nothing you can do about it. I also find that no matter how hard I try I get scared about AJ not coming home alive or returning a different person a person I don’t know! I once told my mother I was having traitor thoughts about AJ and she started listing all the things I was feeling and then said just because I don’t talk about it doesn’t mean I don’t think it too then said you human and forgiven. So if you thinking it know that it’s the most understandable thing ever‼ However, it’s completely normal to have these fears it’s never normal to dwell on them. To put you some what at ease do you know you have more chance of being killed in a car accident while he is deployed than he has of dying during the deployment. If the news exploited each car accident death as they do the death of each soldier, none of us would probably ever drive again – please don’t stop driving because of this now‼

During this time expect to have emotions running from one extreme to the next. In the past I’ve been sad one minute, inconsolable the next and furious at AJ the next. I’ve been through phases of complete denial about the deployment and convince myself that at any minute he’s going to walk through that door. I still have trouble sleeping and I get anxious about my personal security and find that silence scares the hell out me I always have a radio on when I’m alone because I’d rather wake up in the middle of the night  to it than nothing at all.  There was actually a point when my parents stepped in and made me stay with them for a couple of days and honestly its crazy because I’ve lived by myself for so long this only EVER happens when AJ gets deployed I cant explain and I wont try to either. In the beginning its an adjustment you’ve got to deal with him not walking through that door and you’ve got to get over the denial but every single emotion you have during this part is more often than not completely normal you best person isn’t there and for anyone that’s a hard knock.

Third Stage: Deployment rhythm and homecoming

I find that the first month is my hardest month I have so many emotions that I cant even begin to tell you but I find at the end of the first month, I begin to find myself in a routine and functioning as a normal person. My friend once told she actually started to feel guilty that she was able to continue to do things she enjoyed while her husband was deployed what I don’t think we realize is that’s exactly how they want it to be – so don’t ever feel guilty about feeling good about yourself. I find that AJ is still on my mind and of course in my heart, I’m not thinking about him twenty four hours a day as what I did in the first few weeks. It gets ‘easier’ because by now I begin to have some communication with him, whether by phone, email or mail again just because you not crawled up under your bed and not thinking about him 24/7 don’t feel guilty about it you shouldn’t have to – EVER‼‼

The most frustrating thing for me in any deployment is not being able to pick up the phone and call AJ if I want a phone call I have to wait until he calls. There’s times where I feel like my phone is holding me hostage I get the worst cell phone etiquette the world because I’m constantly checking it because every missed call I have undoubtedly irrevocably leaves me feeling devastated for days and there’s nothing that I can do about it because I just call him back. When you do get a call you going to cry like a baby and feel like you on top of the world all at the same time keep things positive, bad conversation can cause negative feelings for both of you because you cant jump in car and sort it out you have to wait for the next call and that could be anything from one week to a month. Be open but don’t overload him with problems that he cant fix don’t ever hide anything from him but if possible be brief address it then move on because you don’t know much time you have on the phone with him make the most of it and enjoy every second‼  Write as often as you can and send care packages for those who don’t know the post office offers priority packing materials for free that you can even go online and order to have them shipped to your home. They also have two priority flat rate boxes. No matter how much these boxes weigh, the price to ship them will be the same. Use this to your advantage and cram it full of his favorite things!
I want to tell everyone that’s new at this from the start that it’s not easy it never is and it never will be you can cry you can even go through stages where you want to throw in the towel and I think everyone that has gone through it has been there at some point the thing that stopped me doing it is AJ its more important. I’ve been through a lot of deployments with my dad when I was younger and then with AJ and Aaron as friends the worst deployments have been with AJ since getting together with him but right from the beginning I always picked out a deployment buddy and honestly they a lot easier to find than you think. It was always AJ, Aaron and Jason when I was younger when I went to college and half my deployment buddies were the ones being deployed my room mate and next room neighbor were my college deployment buddies and for the record these girls knew nothing about deployments or the marines until they met me and honest to goodness they got me through so much it was like a breath of fresh air actually lately as in today there’s Sam and a girl that’s boyfriend who is currently deployed with AJ.  Don’t fool yourself in thinking you can do it alone because trust me you cant no one can you need on occasion a reality check from hell and you need people that will always be honest and not say things you want to hear we all know people like that whether it’s a parent or sibling or friend make that person your person when you need help speak up what you don’t realize is that the people around you are more than willing to help but just don’t know how to offer it so speak up let them know what you want and what’s best for you! I also find that by helping other people I’m helping myself there’s times where I actually stop and tell myself to take my advice – don’t be scared you need people around you that will get you through it‼
Stay away from rumor mills that range from anything about them coming home earlier to cheaters whether it be you your spouse or someone you may know – it’s damaging and ruins morale for you and him. If there’s one floating around about you set it straight with him immediately the worst mistake we make is thinking maybe I should wait when in actual fact the mistake is waiting‼ To the girls living on base unfortunately its worse there but if you don’t feed it it’ll die a very abrupt death a rumor is only as strong for the time that people speak about it. I personally take no notice of rumors whatsoever if its about a person I know I always ask them directly rumors do a whole lot more damage than the actual deployment. Be 100% of facts before saying anything‼ Stay away from any type of news I avoid it like the plague because it always sets in a tail spin and more often than not AJ isn’t there or it happen four years ago anything that remotely feels like you about break avoid because you will me personally I’m constantly banning myself from stuff like news, Army Wives and wait for it Snow Patrol do what you have to what works for me might not necessarily work for you.
Redeployment: The count down and last month
When you in the home stretch of a deployment you cant help but think about the first time you see him walking or running toward you with his arms open which makes you think about you being in his arms as well. You know without a doubt know that it will be an experience that you wont forget anytime soon.

For me this stage is the most stressful part of the deployment I’d rather have him leave again than go through this part. I’m emotional all the feelings I felt in the beginning are back but they different this time. The run down is a range of me being nervous, excited, anxious, angry and frustrated the days decided to throw it in my face and are just dragging by and the closer I get to one month mark the slower EVERYTHING seems to get my dad pin pricked it the other day although he was talking about an old granny in the car in front of us but I’ve officially name this time my hurry up slowly time.  I find in this stage of deployment I have got to be the busiest that I’ve ever been I have to be distracted and I cant let myself think because its dangerous territory‼ I find during this time my patience starts running thin and I become the most frustrated and irritated with everything and everyone around me – I find that this deployment I’m getting there fast but nowhere faster it’s the longest we’ve ever had and it’s the most irritating in the world and I feel like someone has just pressed the pause button and forgot to press play it’s getting beyond irritating now‼ Bad news is I know that this isn’t going to end until he actually walks through the darn door.

We all different so we all handle things differently so I’m going on what I know and that’s AJ – who would have thought‼ When AJ gets home there’s always an adjustment phase he goes through I try and keep his homecoming as simple as possible the parties can wait for a few weeks so he can adjust to his surroundings again. I’ve noticed with every deployment we’ve had he’s returned different sometimes he avoids crowded areas, sometimes he camps with me at my place and sometimes he’s ready to get the party started it’s always a mystery but I’ve learnt to just go with it. When he returns there’s always a time where we have to get to know each other again to readjust back to our old lives and it takes a few days for that to happen. I leave AJ to do his thing he’s in charge of the schedule when and where and how I know that when he’s ready he’ll let people know there isn’t ever a need to rush into thing and trust me they never return 100% it takes time for that to happen so let it happen in their own time. I know all you want is flaunt him around the place and rub a few noses in his awesomeness but just take a step back because he will do it when he’s ready‼ The first few days AJ is home it doesn’t feel real I don’t want to believe its real because for so long I’ve been holding all those feeling in check that it has now become a habit and I’m almost scared to start feeling again. I find myself waking up in the middle of the poking him to make sure he’s there and he’s actually breathing and occasionally staring at him and I’ve on occasion have been known to make a few midnight calls to make sure I’m not dreaming. I also find that more often than not AJ’s been on boy time so he’s all boy and feels that I’m one of the boys there’s a period where I feel like I have to retrain him into boyfriend material it’s not as drastic as it sounds I find that most of the time all I have to do it let him know what’s what because he really doesn’t have a frigging clue but more importantly that he was missed by sending him pointless messages or just holding his hand I find the thing that works the most is just walking up to him and giving him a hug works every time –I get the same I missed you to response beside the fact that feels like I’ve died and gone to heaven there’s  a win - win situation‼
I find that as much as I hate just the word deployment slipping out his lips I find that they have a vey positive effect on me and AJ I love reuniting with him and it never fails to make feel like I just stared down that deployment and I can do a jiggy dance while singing so what now D we beat your ***‼ I’m proud of AJ because he came home and it’s a reminder of how selfless he really is and I’m proud of myself because I made it through and I survived and got to the other side stronger than ever before but it also makes AJ and I stronger in our relationship than before the said deployment.  I want the girls that have never been through a deployment before to know that as scary as deployments sound and some can get very heavy there’s always someone who has your back ready to help get back on that horse you can do this take it one day at a time and before you know it it’ll be over – trust me on this. For the girls in boot camp I want you to do me a favor don’t think deployment yet you still have a long time to go and really you unknowingly preparing for it now. For those about to or are going through their first deployments good luck and we all have your back. For those in the same boat as me and going through the homecoming phase I’m going to say and I can all ready hear all the boo’s directed toward me be patient be strong and stay busy we nearly there we about to type those words we’ve been dying to type since the day he left and it’s going to be the most awesome feeling ever. For those of you lucky enough to have the boy at home know that I’m living through every single one of you right now and know that I’m totally jealous and think that its completely unfair but I’m really happy for all of you anyway lol!  For everyone:
GOOD LUCK‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼!
Storm25 Storm25
26-30, F
6 Responses May 9, 2012

thanks storm!

Thank you so much Storm...we almost went through a deployment this spring but didn't, but I know it's coming. Your advice is great and I know it'll be okay...helps so much to hear someone who's been through so many deployments say so though! Thanks again :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to write all that out! I especially found much comfort in the part about it being more likely to get in a car accident here, than him getting hurt there. And the part about our guys being excited to get deployed. It's true :( I feel kind of hurt when he tells me he wants to go...but you're right, it's what they've been training for. I never thought to relate it to something personal (like you and internship), but that is an excellent idea. I love going on missionary trips and stuff like that, and i have to leave my bf and friends to do that... I of course miss him, but it is something I feel like I am made for... so I can really understand how he wants to be deployed to use his hard-earned skills.<br />
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Everything you wrote about is sooo helpful and comforting, thanks again!!

i thinki agreed with almost everything haha!! ive been so irritable the past couple weeks and now im starting to realize its cas erics almost done and will get to go home, but i feel like its taking FOREVER!!!!!. thank you for this i got some laughs out of it but def a lot of good adivce :)

That was just awesome :) Thank you so much for that I loved and needed it :)

Wow that was long but very good and helpful. And its exactly how I feel... love how you would turn over and poke him to make sure he's real lol i know that would be me haha. But yea I'm going through my first deployment and its tough stuff!! Great to know there are others like you to help out! Thank you!!

lol I'm glad it helped and it is tough but you'll get through it if you need anything message me really i don't mind!!