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News > Commentary - Straight Talk: Be prepared for deployments
Straight Talk: Be prepared for deployments

Posted 3/29/2012   Updated 3/29/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander

3/29/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Are you ready for Hanscom's annual Spring Fling? The event begins at 2:30 p.m. April 1 at the Base Chapel annex. We have food and games for everyone, as well as an Easter egg hunt, so come on out and join the fun! Also, don't forget the Enlisted Promotions take place this Friday, March 30, at 3:30 p.m. at the Minuteman Commons.

This week's hot topic: deployments. Did you know that Hanscom has 113 people deployed right now? That includes both military, as well as a few civilians. We have another 43 scheduled to depart in the next few months.

Deployments are an integral part of military life, but they can also be a little stressful--both for the deployer and the family. The best remedy, you ask? Be prepared! Read on for tips from 2nd Lt. Bethanie Parker, Installation Personnel Readiness Flight chief, on how to stay focused on your upcoming deployment and how to take care of yourself and your family.

After your initial deployment notification, the IPR office will schedule a pre-deployment briefing where you'll receive a checklist. It's imperative that you thoroughly read all reporting instructions and complete all areas of the deployment checklist before having your final out-processing with IPR to ensure you're fully ready to depart.

Don't spend your last couple of days in chaos due to procrastination. Get it done early and your deployment will go more smoothly.

It is also critical that you update all medical issues immediately. If you have been working with your primary care manager, go to the clinic immediately and identify that you have been tasked with a deployment to ensure that you are ready to go. Do not wait for your next regularly scheduled appointment. Your delay might impact another Airman with a short notice tasker.

Many people ask about their pre-deployment training. Often, forward deployments are part of Air Force taskings, so it's important to remember that while certain vigorous training may not ordinarily apply to your original deployment location, it could very well apply to an area in which you're forward deploying. In the increasing "joint fight" environment, the Air Force wants their members to be as trained as possible for any additional movements the area of responsibility may deem necessary. This additional pre-deployment training will ensure you are ready for the fight.

Hanscom also provides assistance to your family before, during and after deployments. The Airman and Family Readiness Center offers several programs to help spouses and children prepare for your departure.

During deployment, families may utilize the Hearts Apart program that includes a free dinner, Key Spouse programs, which offers someone to talk to/lend a hand, and Housing helpers, with Hanscom Family Housing taking great care of us with extra help for snow shoveling, lawn and home care.

A&FRC also has programs to assist with finances, reintegration, stress during separation and more. Visit www.hanscomservices.com/AirmanAndFamilyReadinessCenter.asp#Deployment to learn more.

When you return from deployment, you will in-process with IPR on the first duty day. During this in-processing briefing, you'll receive a small checklist that can usually be completed within a day. Once you complete the checklist and hand it to your unit deployment manager your 14 days of local rest and relaxation can begin!

Communication is vital during the deployment process, both with the Air Force and your family. Avoid procrastination so that fulfilling requirements is less stressful for everyone.

The IPR office understands that "life happens" and we will work to help you catch all those important life events--birthdays, special occasions and seeing your family before you leave. Of course, the mission comes first, but we are here to make your deployment process as smooth as possible.

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