Gearing up for a deployment can be overwhelming and very stressful because of all of the preparations that go into it. There are some very basic “absolutes” that need to be taken care of, so be sure not to put these things on the back burner in midst of everything.
Legal documents – If you and your spouse do not already have a Will and Power of Attorney (POA), then get one immediately. If you already have one, review it and update any needed changes. I know that sitting down and talking about last wishes can be emotional for many, but don’t let that stop you from getting this done. Also, be sure that your spouse updates his DD93/SGLI. This is important because you definitely want to be the person listed as the emergency contact and to also receive certain benefits (like death gratuity and life insurance). So if you are newly married or if your spouse was previously married, be sure to get this updated. Lastly, have a copy of your spouse’s orders.
Finances – Review your finances, know where the money is going and what your expenses normally are each month. Believe it or not, there is someone out there that does not know what their rent or mortgage payment is each month, or how much their insurance is, so don’t be that person. If your spouse normally handles these things, familiarize yourself with the finances, learn when bills are due, and sign up for auto pay (if that makes it easier for you). Also, be sure to get all passwords for online accounts so that you can log in and keep track of everything.
Passport – If you don’t have a passport, get one. You never know when an emergency might happen and you need to leave to the country to meet your spouse (for example, if they become sick or hurt and taken to Germany).
Be in the know – Learn the chain of command, get involved with the FRG (or at least introduce yourself to the FRG leader and FRSA) and double check to make sure your contact info is up to date. If no one has the correct contact information on file for you, then they cannot contact you with important information and updates. It is also important for you to have all of these individuals contact information in the event you need to reach out to them. Pick up one of the deployment handbooks if one has not been provided to you. It will include phone numbers and addresses/locations of key places on post that you might need.
Red Cross – Keep the Red Cross phone number posted in an easy to find spot in the event that you need to send an emergent message to your spouse. You can find the Red Cross phone number for your region by visiting their website.
Build your support network – A great support network can include your FRG, your church, your neighbors, family and friends. Even if your family and best friends are hours away, you can still talk and visit. It’s important to have someone you can talk with on a regular basis.
Keeping everyone updated – Many family members and friends will probably reach out to you wanting to know what to send in a care package, a mailing address, and for updates throughout the deployment. Be sure to have everyone’s information handy so that you can send out the updates, but please, do NOT put specific details publicly on Facebook or any social media site. Learn about operational security (OPSEC) if you need to know what is OK or not OK to post publicly.
Other – “Other” covers a multitude of things and each person will have different things to go in this category. “Other” includes what you need to do to personally make you feel more prepared embarking on this deployment. Some wives like to get a gun, buy pepper spray, have a security system installed, or make sure their car is in great working condition. Do whatever you need to do to feel more prepared and safe while your spouse is away.
Angelique is a proud Army wife and happily married to her husband, Ray. After being PCS’ed from one side of the country to the other, Ft. Bragg, NC, is currently home. She has a degree in Counseling and a career background in Corporate Human Resources. She is an advocate for animal rights and enjoys supporting military and environmental causes. She is an accomplished flute player of 23 years and in her spare time she enjoys crafting, decorating, genealogy, traveling, watching horrible B rated movies, and is obsessed with anything pertaining to Disney. She and Ray are the proud pet parents of two dogs, Maddie and Ringo.
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