I’ve been getting a lot of questions about deployments lately. What to say or do for the soldier before he leaves seems to be two most asked questions. So here goes…
What to do for your soldier before he deploys?….Look, the best way to approach this is to try to put yourself in his shoes. Look at where he is headed, how his life will change, the “normal” things he won’t have access to anymore, the environment, not seeing you or any other family members for a long time…..the list goes on and on. He won’t be able to come home and take his boots off. He doesn’t get a cold beer in the evenings. He may have a can of coca cola but no ice. He probably has to walk a little ways to get to the bathroom, not to mention in complete uniform no matter what time of day it is. No comforts that we take for granted…no heating and air control, no comfy bed, lousy food, no long hot showers, etc. So, what do you do for him before he deploys??? Make him as comfortable as possible. If he wants to spend the weekend kicked back watching movies and taking naps, tell him to go for it! Eat out at his favorite places. Go on little weekend trips. Take tons of pictures! Have cookouts on the weekends too so him and his buddies can sit back and relax. Keep in mind that this is no time to be selfish. He won’t have all these freedoms for a year. You will.
What to say to him?…My best advice to is to reassure him that you love him. Tell him that you will be thinking of him each and everyday. Make plans to send him care packages full of goodies. Let him know you will be right here when he gets back. Don’t talk about the dangers he will face. Don’t dwell on the time apart. He probably won’t want to talk about those things. If he wants to talk about that stuff he will, but don’t force it. Write a letter and sneak it in his bag too. And make sure to write letters during the deployment too. A handwritten letter holds a lot more than a phone call. Reassure him that you and the family will be ok. It’s important that he not worry about his home and family while he’s gone. He’s gonna have so much on his mind and will need to stay focused.
All in all, just live in the moment. Have fun. Don’t stress too much (I know that’s hard as hell to do). This is his job. Deployments are rough but they do end. Tell him how you feel and let him know how important he is. Take the time to send him things that remind him of home. Don’t bog him down with drama from home. He calls or gets online to escape the deployment. Those few minutes of a phone call or online chat are his little vacations. Make him laugh and reassure him that things are alright.