Do you understand the phases of military deployment? If not, you’re not alone. Deployment is the word used when active military personnel are moved from a home installation to a different destination. However, the basic definition doesn’t do it justice when it comes to service members and their families.
Deployment can be a scary for those in the military as it could mean many different things. It could mean they have to go to a war zone or somewhere overseas. It comes with specific phases, which should be understood by those in the military or planning to join the military.
Phases of Deployment
As an active duty service member, deployment has four basic phases, which include:
During pre-deployment, you’re not deployed yet. You will undergo training and preparation for military duties. This phase includes normal training and medical evaluations to ensure you and your unit are ready for deployment.
For your family, this is known as “normal life” because they won’t have to worry about much out of the ordinary. However, this all changes towards the end of this phase.
When the unit is alerted for the possibility of deployment, they will receive orders to mobilize. Preparation for deployment will start, which will include medical evaluations, additional training, briefings and military counseling. When service members leave the home installation, the pre-deployment phase has ended.
When individuals are physically moved from the home installation to the designated location for operations, it’s the beginning of the deployment phase. This phase is often very stressful on service members and their families. They have to face the reality of what it means to be deployed to another part of the world.
The rest of this phase will include the military duties expected of your unit, usually outside of the United States. Towards the end of the phase, the unit will start preparing to return home. The deployment phase ends when the unit is redeployed back home.
After returning home, service members must prepare to reintegrate into normal life. Briefings, medical evaluations, training and counseling are usually a part of this phase. Active duty service members will return to their normal jobs during this phase.
During the reintegration phase, service members will go back to regular family life and rejoin the community. They will get back to regular military duties. Service members may need to complete additional training, briefings, medical evaluations and counseling. The family will likely go through some stress during this phase as everybody readjusts to life. A number of support services are available to make the reintegration phase easier.
Deployment is a bit different if you’re not an active duty service member. Reserves and the National Guard follow these phases:
While this phase is similar to the pre-deployment for active duty, it’s a bit different. It’s still normal life, but the training schedule and medical evaluations are different. Towards the end of this phase, when the mobilization alert has been received, reserves and guard members will receive additional training, briefings and medical evaluations before they are deployed.
Same as the deployment phase for active duty.
Same as the post-deployment phase for active duty
4. Individual Augmentee Deployment
Along with active duty, reserve and guard deployment, there’s also individual augmentee deployment. This occurs when a service member received deployment orders individually or with a small group outside of their unit. This is different than deployment of the entire unit, ship or squadron.
You can receive an IA if your active duty, Reserve or National Guard. It can even be given out on a volunteer basis or you can be selected for this type of service. Typically, IAs are Air For and Navy service members augmenting a Marine Corps or Army unit. Sailors and Airmen receiving an individual augmentee deployment will receive additional training. They may also be ordered to tours longer than traditional deployment.
Shorter notifications times and less information about the deployment are common with IAs. It’s also common for the deployment to be to an area with communication challenges.
What is Deployment Assistance?
The United States Military understands how difficult deployment is on the service member and their family. Deployment assistance is provided in a number of different ways to help make it as easy on the family as possible. What will be available depends on where your home installation is and what can be provided through email and over the phone.
Some of the types of available deployment assistance include:
? Fleet and Family Support Center – Some active military bases has a Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, Air Force Family Service Center, Marine Corps Community Service Center or an Army Community Service Center. These centers are designed to provide support services for families. They are staffed with human services professionals and the programs are all free.
? Family Assistance Center – The STARC or State Area Command will often activate a Family Assistance Center when any reserve unit has been mobilized. This center will help to provide family support for military family members including current information about family support available in the area and filling out forms for assistance.
? Financial Management Assistance – During deployment, it may be hard to manage the finances of the family. This assistance will help with budget preparation, investing, debt management, understanding the LES and credit management.
? Relocating Services – If military members and their families need help relocating, this service will provide necessary help.
? Individual and Family Counseling – Some areas will provide short-term counseling to help families deal with deployment.
Many other forms of assistance are out there for families dealing with deployment. Even some civilian and community resources are available to help.
Understanding what to expect before deployment is very important. When service members get the mobilization alert, it can be a stressful time. However, if you know what to expect, it may alleviate some of the stress.