Preparation key to a successful deployment

  • Published
  • By Major David E. Dutcher
  • 374 LRS/CC
Whether at home station supporting 11,000 assigned military personnel, family members and a critical flying mission or deployed in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Yokota Airmen continue to excel.

As we prepare to deploy nearly 500 Airmen to the Central Command area of operations to continue the fight against terrorism, we need to ensure that not only those deploying are ready, but that their work sections and their families are also prepared to carry on during their absence.

Deployers, are you fully prepared to deploy for the next 120, 179 or 365 days? You've been working with your unit deployment managers to complete training, you've picked up your unfiroms, and your orders are all set to be cut. Are you ready to head out the door? Possibly not. To truly be primed and ready you need to take care of three requirements.

First, prepare yourself to deploy.

Read the reporting instructions for the area to which you are deploying. Know what bags you need to deploy with and which ones will be pre-positioned and awaiting pick up when you arrive in the AOR.

Know which weapon you are required to deploy with as some of you may deploy with more than one. Have you completed your physical health assessment, dental examination, and combat arms training? Have you completed your physical fitness test so you're covered during your deployment? s your training in the law of armed conflict, and anti-terrorism and force protection current? Is your will current? Do you require any powers of attorney during your absence? Many of these items can be taken care of during the scheduled deployment processing line. Others require you to take action on your own time to complete required on-line ancillary training. Make sure you take the time now to accomplish each of these actions so you aren't caught unprepared days before you depart.

Second, prepare your squadron for your deployment.

Every Airman fills a critical role within their squadron and each one of you will be missed greatly. The void left by your deployment can run deeper, however, and even hurt your unit if you haven't prepared those around you to step up in your absence.

With the wing facing a unit compliance inspection weeks after your return from this deployment, it is your responsibility to set your fellow squadron members up for success. Are you responsible for a report that no one else does? Train a replacement! Are items you've been working still open and not in compliance? Close them out or leave a "way ahead" plan so your fellow squadron members can complete the action in your absence. Are you sponsoring someone in and now need someone else to shoulder that responsibility? Make sure your supervisor knows.

When you do get downrange, immediately contact your squadron. Send them an e-mail address and phone number. Let them know how they can get in touch with you for questions, emergencies, or to send care packages. And send back pictures! Nothing builds morale faster then seeing teammates downrange succeeding in their mission!

Third, prepare your family for your deployment.

You should have already updated your will or obtained powers of attorney at the legal office. Have you also checked to ensure your Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance is current and accurate? Do you have a friend or neighbor to help your family members while you're gone? Do they have good contact numbers to reach the first sergeant and your commander? If not, make sure all are written down before you depart. Take care of your family now so that you can concentrate easier on your mission once in the AOR knowing that they're well provided for.

Team Yokota is proud of you for your commitment to the mission both here in Japan and in at your deployed location. Take care of yourself, your squadron and your family so that your deployment will be as worry free as possible. We look forward to welcoming you back home . Safe travels!