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Surviving the Deployment

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jennifer Sayers
  • 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron
The 380th Expeditionary Wing is my first deployment and it is a marathon twelve months. I am absolutely grateful for this opportunity but a year is a long time away from family, friends, and the freedoms of home. The following techniques made my first five months of deployment not only tolerable but also a great experience. I challenge all of you to think of ways to improve your own situation.

Maintain a positive attitude: Complaints about the military and its lifestyle are common. Operations tempo and deployment frequency can create hardship for personnel and families. I challenge everyone to take another look at their situation with a positive attitude when negativity starts to sink in. Being deployed for a year is difficult, but the money I'm saving and the skills I'm learning are invaluable. Let positive thoughts permeate your daily life.

Keep it in perspective: On your worst days, remember why we are here. Never forget the freedom that we enjoy in America. Twelve hour days, six days a week are enough to test anyone's morale. When your will is tested think of the larger missions you are supporting. My belief in America as a great example of democracy and freedom keeps me going on difficult days away from family and friends.

Set goals: Nothing pains me more than the Airman who complains the entire deployment and does nothing to improve his or her situation. Leadership stresses the importance of goals because they are vital in mentally surviving a deployment. Find something to strive for and achieve it. Your time will go faster, you will be proud of your success, and you will be amazed at the positive impact on your mood achieving goals will have.

Stay in touch: Finally, rely on a support system. Communicate with your family or friends often. Not only will you be able to share your experiences but you will also improve the relationships that will be with you when you return. Take the time to foster these connections.

Deploying is difficult but worthwhile. Make the best of your situation, embrace your tour, and go back to your home station a better Airman.