Deployment Mindset

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
As part of an expeditionary Air Force, Airmen can expect at certain points in their career to be tasked for a deployment in support of overseas operations.

Airmen must prepare themselves, and their families, mentally, physically spiritually and financially - to handle a long-term separation.

"I encourage Airmen to put themselves in another person's shoes," said Michael Summers, 28th Bomb Wing Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century representative and unit deployment manager for Bomb Wing staff. "If you get a deployment tasking, there is a co-commander somewhere out there who needs you. What do they need you to do to ready yourself for filling the role they need you to fill?"

Mr. Summers said psychological and physical health, spiritual well-being and especially training are essential factors when gearing up for a deployment. He stressed the importance of Airmen understanding the process of fulfilling their individual and personal responsibilities, like financial management, before they leave.

"It's essential for all Airmen to take full, personal responsibility for their deployment, and hold themselves accountable for knowing and fulfilling all of the combatant commander's requirements at the specific location they will be going to," said Mr. Summers. "Until they do, the role of the UDM will remain somewhat enigmatic."

According to Mr. Summers, in the past decade the deployment process has become more extensive than "just pack your bags and make the flight out." There is more of a push toward pre-deployment training requirements locally and throughout the country - most of which are required within 30 days of the deployment.

"This only exacerbates the pre-deployment stress and impact on the Airmen," he said. "Not to mention all the family preparations which now have to be considered by Airmen facing long-term deployments."

While the pre-deployment checklist may be stressful to Airmen, Mr. Summers said he is committed to making the process as painless as possible.

"Deployment is what this Air Force is all about," said Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro, 28th Bomb Wing commander. "Get ready and stay ready, the call will come."