Deployments are extremely stressful. Statistically speaking being enlisted military is the most stressful job in the United States and deployments alone are a substantial part of the stress. After all, nothing wears a person down more than being away from friends and family with the express concern of war breaking out looming over their shoulders. Certainly port visits do well to mitigate some of the stress, and work has more than enough distractions to keep the mind busy, but as the month’s pass and time flow forward, most members begin to feel the itch of sleeping at home in a warm bed. These feelings of homesickness are often strongest during the last quarter of the deployment when they’re almost home, but not quite there yet…

Depending on where a person is stationed or what branch they chose to join the last quarter of deployment has a different definition. Navy and Air Force typically experience the shortest deployment cycles (4 to 9 months) followed by the Marine Corps and ultimately the Army with their year+ long deployments although ships have been experimenting with 12-month deployments as well. Consequently, it can become easier for the extensive deployment branches to dismiss, those that spend much less time out in their field of expertise, but each deployment (unless it’s in a safe area) carries its own unique set of stressors which shouldn’t be dismissed… except some of the Air Force’s (4 months is chump change), however even they get struck by mortar rounds every once in a while.

As anybody who’s ever had to spend any time at a family reunion with relatives who’ve they never met before or are uncomfortable around (as in every single one) understands; military members spend prolonged periods of time in a location where they don’t necessarily feel welcome. By the end of deployment a substantial number of military member’s morale is low, they’re emotionally drained, disconnected from reality as the world they left back home continues to change without them, and bitter. But, the promise of returning home in such a short time gives hopes and provides the mental fortitude to continue their mission as one day passes signifies another moment closer to safety. Yet, the last bits of deployment can also be the most dangerous.

After surviving months out in the field and enduring multiple events which could have ended in tragedy the ultimate threat looms ever present… complacency. It’s easy for a member to relax or loosen their guard as they get closer to home and it can potentially have catastrophic consequences. It’s understood and drilled into the heads of those who serve that complacency is a deadly mindset and with good reason. Unlike, the members who are simply “guests” in a foreign land; the enemies of those countries are not just visiting and time is not a concern to them. They aren’t away from their families and certainly don’t fear being struck down when they’re safely bombarding from miles away. This is why soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors must constantly be vigilant, their vigilance ensures that any potential threats are noticed before they become dangerous and ultimately save lives by preventing unsuspected attacks. By maintaining a sense of urgency all throughout deployment lives are saved and the members can return safely home to their families.

But, as I stated earlier, simply because they reached the last quarters of deployment does not mean they can relax. Deployments are dangerous from beginning to end and don’t cease being stressful, simply because they’re near the end. If the members are to be kept alive, they must remain vigilant from the first quarter until the last day of deployment…

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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