The 8 Steps of Counting Down to Deployment



Anticipating a deployment is at once stressful, exhilarating, and boring as hell. Here are the 8 basic steps:

1. Announcement


Photo: US Marine Corps Land Cpl. Katelyn Hunter

The announcement comes down from the Pentagon that your unit is headed overseas at some point. Everyone will respond to this differently. Newer troops will walk with a swagger as they think about becoming combat veterans. Actual combat veterans will sigh heavily.

2. Keeping it a secret (while telling everyone)


Sure, operational security and all that. But you have to tell your family. And your best buddies need to know. Also, those guys at the bar won’t buy you drinks just for sitting there. Is that hot girl over there into deploying troops?

3. First stage of training


Photo: US Army Capt. Lisa Browne Banic

“Time for pre-deployment training! Time to become the most elite, modern warriors in the world!” you think for the first 15 minutes of the first training session.

4. The rest of training


“Oh my god, how much of this is done via PowerPoint?” Also, your weapon will be completely caked in carbon from those blanks.

5. Culmination exercise


Photo: US Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

Suddenly, it’s exciting again. Pyrotechnics, laser tag, a bunch of awesome pictures that can become your Facebook cover photo so those girls from high school can see them. Someone in your squad can edit out the blank firing adapters.

6. Packing (and packing, and packing …)


That brief adrenaline rush at the final culmination exercise will not last. You will realize you still have to clean and pack the gear to go home. Then pack the connexes to send to country. Then pack your bags to go into other connexes. Then pack the …

7. Pre-deployment leave


Finally! After months of hard work, a brief rest before more months of hard work. Also, a chance to “not” tell more hometown girls that you’re deploying.

8. Getting on the plane (or ship or whatever)


Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julio Rivera

Time to go somewhere really “fun” and live there for a year or so. But hey, only [balance of deployment] left until redeployment.

classedit2 David Nye – Staff Writer at We Are The Mighty

David is a former Fort Bragg paratrooper who deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.


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  • Leon Suchorski

    Back in the 60s, when I was in the Marines, by the time that you got done reading that list, we were already half of the way there. What takes so long these days?

    • Wtf

      Justification of the over abundance of leadership. Plus all the power point so the leadership cya’s. Then mob, where you get demoralized and your platoon SGT. Let’s everyone know the afghanis are more important than we are. Then you deploy. And then they take away your side arms, while you have inside threats on your fob, because some dipship had an ND. I forgot another good part. You arrive at the fob, have nowhere to sleep (but leadership does) then get shoved into tent with 12-16 people. Leaderships tent 2-4. Ahhhh the good times. Love and miss the guys but thank God I’m out of this agenda pushing military.

      • Leon Suchorski

        Heck, if necessary, we just dug big holes in the ground for 4 people, and sand bagged it over to protect it.

  • Leon Suchorski

    Back in the 60s, if the rumor came down that we were going, and they did say to go, that meant that we had 48 hours to BE wherever in this world that they wanted us, with every stick of equipment that belonged to our over 600 man outfit. And that meant that we were to be flying missions in that 48 hours time. We took that time limit seriously, even if they wanted us to move half of the way around the world.

  • Navyjag907

    During Vietnam almost everybody in the Army deployed as an individual. Generally, that meant you knew no one on the plane, no one when you got in-country, and no one at your new unit where you were an FNGuy. Lonliest feeling in the world.//Later, when I switched services, I deployed on my carrier to the Med for eight months. You took your home, job, berthing, and shipmates with you. Great idea! Whoever thought it up should get a prize. Much easier to face things surrounded by your Navy family.//Finally, I deployed in the Gulf War on a hospital ship. The crew went from 50 to 1200 overnight with people coming from commands along the West Coast with merchant marine guys to run the ship.
    A little confused at first but a great crew. We came together in the month it took to get from Oakland to Bahrain. Wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.//If it weren’t for the deployments, the military would bore us to death. They give you something to dread, endure, look back on, miss, lie about, and urge you on to the next one. It’s so much better than being a sand crab (civilian).