Planning in advance: Are You Ready?

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Two of the times that I have deployed, I was given less than a week's notice to get on a plane and head across the ocean to the desert. You need to make sure you're ready and your affairs are in order because you never know when the call will come.

Deployments have become a frequent part of Air Force life over the last 10 years and most Airmen know they will deploy; some as much as six months out of every year. Don't wait until a deployment tasking comes down to find out you have not taken the steps you need to do to be ready.

We are often reminded of the simple but important things we need to do such as keeping your Emergency Data on your vRED up to date, but what about the others? If you have children, do you have an emergency family care plan? The person who will take care of your children for a day or two may not be the same person who will take care of them for several months or longer. When was the last time you actually exercised the family care plan? Do you have your Will in case something was to happen to you? The list goes on.

Are you professionally ready? Do you have your bags packed with all of the equipment that you will need; not just the four uniforms you need to take to wear. Does your equipment still work? Is all of your training complete and current?

Trying to resolves issues from an overseas location with limited resources is difficult and can distract you from the primary mission you're there to perform. Have you ensured your family's ID cards will not expire so they can get on base to get the medical care they need? I've even been on a deployment where a member tried to work with a bank back home because of financial issues with his car.

Ensure you have a good plan and are ready whenever the call comes. Some things that you need to include in your plan may not be so apparent. If you have pets, what will you do with them? How will your bills get paid? What will you do with your apartment or the house you're living in? Make sure you have all of these details taken care of so you don't have to worry about them while you're deployed, and you'll be able to spend your pre-deployment days with friends and family without having to worrying about how your family will take care of themselves while you're away.

You should take some time to make sure you are ready because you never know when the call will come. In the military, we can expect to deploy and go on short notice TDY's; so we should be ready for those events. We also need to be ready for the bigger, unexpected life changing event such as a major car accident or a death because these too can happen at any time. Make sure you are ready for whatever happens with a little good advanced planning and some preparation.