How to Survive a Combat Tour (Pre Mobilization)

Three Methods:Family First and AlwaysStart Counting DownPre-Mobilization

The War on Terrorism will soon reach the decade mark come September 11th 2011. The service members of our Armed Forces have done its share of sacrifices for our protection and freedoms.

Yet, for the new service members who recently enter service or for curious readers who are interested in a general idea on how our Armed Forces prepare for war, the article will provide an overview on what our men and women prepare to go into combat.

(This article will give a prospective of a U.S. Army unit. Due to security reasoning, the article will not provide specific unit information. All present units portrayed are fictional unless otherwise noted for historical purposes.)

Method 1
Family First and Always

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    The first rule of thumb is this: Embracing deployment is far easier than fighting it. Use your energy wisely.
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    For new Soldiers, pay close attention to your DD Form 93 Emergency Data Sheet and your Soldier Group Life Insurance (SGLI) form 8286-A. These forms are as important then your DD 214 Honorable Discharge paper because these forms will help The Army help you "in the event". Nobody wants to confront this possibility but you can never know when your death can happen. Your Unit Administrator (UA), the S-1 Personnel Clerk, your Soldier Readiness Team, and your Mobilization Readiness Team will assist you in formulating your forms.
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    For Soldiers with family, make sure your DD Form 93 and SGLI represents your wishes. By regulations, if you decide to place anything less than 100% of your $500,000 Life Insurance, your spouse must be informed of this in writing. Make sure you discuss this with your spouse of the less amount of insurance before they receive the letter from the Army. Do not blindside them.
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    For Soldiers who are divorced or will be divorcing their spouse-have it handy by the time you are notified of being deployed. You are still responsible for their well being even if you are physically separated by your former spouse. The Army is paying you Basic Allotment of Housing or BAH for the well being of your family that you are supposed to take care of. If you withhold that money from your former spouse and you have not legally divorce them, you will be subjected to a slew of Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)infractions and tons of bad karma throughout your career by being labeled a "Deadbeat Soldier". Bottom line-divorce her and pay child support or run the risk of losing your career.
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    For Male soldiers who have children out of wedlock-you must, within 30 days of the birth of your child, obtain your child's birth certificate along with a Court Ordered Certificate of Parentage or Statement of Child Support. This document will legally prove that you are the father of the child. Generally, all soldiers with children must be entered in to Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) for their children to obtain TRICARE Health Benefits. Without these things, the Soldier will not gain BAH nor Health Benefits for their children. Finally, be sure to provide a special Power of Attorney for the mother of the child so she can continue to process the child's benefits by providing the Social Security Number when it is made. Contact your nearest DEER/I.D. Card facility nearest you for more information.
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    Soldiers who recently gotten married or will get married- By Military Regulations, any changes of martial/family status must be reported to your unit and DEERS/ID Card, within 30 days to processes your spouse for Tricare Benefits. Ensure you have an original/certified notarized copy of your Marriage Certificate, a certified copy of your spouses Social Security Card, and a certified copy of their Photo Identification (ie. State I.D or State Driver's License). Yet the shortest and best way to place your spouse in to DEERS/ID Card is to have both of you in person to not only to processes them but, also have them get their ID Military Card. Again, contact your local DEERS/I.D. Card station for their hours. At certain places, you might have to make an appointment.
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    Single soldiers-ensure your wishes are taken care of by a responsible ADULT.Most single soldiers have their parents be their benefactors that will continue with the Soldier's wishes "in the event". Military regulations does states that any beneficiary of entitlements must be 18 years or older to receive full benefits unless the beneficiary has an Agent on behalf of the Soldier's estate. For more information, contact your Unit Administrator or ask the Mobilization Site for advice.

Method 2
Start Counting Down

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    The time to prepare is not on the day of Mobilization. It actually starts months prior to to Deployment Day (or D-Day). This is considered Pre-mobilization phase where command has a "Warning Order" for a possibility that the unit will be called on to duty. For Active Duty Soldiers, they have a short time frame since it's their full time job to be prepare at a moment notice. For Reservist/National Guardsmen, it will take longer for them to prep for mobilization or MOB.
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    Pre-mobilization separates the "Go's" from "No-Go's" The phase usually starts with a Military Physical and Records check. The Military Physical is a comprehensive check to see if you are able to withstand the rigors of deployment. Depending on what Military Occupational Skill or MOS you have, if the job depends on good health, the Military doctors will ensure that if you have a medical condition, you will not be deployed. The Records check consist of making sure your military records are up-to-date and that your Family Care Plan is active and functioning. Also, if the you are getting close to Expiration of Tour of Service or ETSing, the Army Career Counselor will be knocking on your door to see if you want to re-enlist. Depending on the length of Mobilization, will depend if you will be deployed. If you ETS before the end of deployment, chances are, you will not be going or you might extend your enlistment to the end of deployment. So be aware of this before going.
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    When you wear that uniform, always wear your game face on.This is helpful for National Guardsmen/Army Reservist since we always seem to separate themselves from military and civilian. It can be hard to do when Reservist units get deployed when that the person who you used to call you Johnny from your work at the civilian office is now Sargent Smith during deployment-get use to it from day one of orders. Also, Active Component does not have that rapport luxury that Guardsmen/Reservist have so they may feel resentful towards "fraternization". They will call you out for it. So, be mindful of Military Bearing (or in civilian terms-respect of stature).
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    Attempt to include your family in military functions and Family Support Group functions.I see attempt since some wives do not want anything to do with the military. It is their right yet, the helpfulness of the Family Support Group or FSGs can be helpful for young wives or wives who need moral support of those lonely days and nights. No family should be an island. Including your children will help understand why you must leave for a period of their lives. A Unit functions has fun things like live demonstrations, static displays of military vehicles and even the great army foods they serve. (as long as they don't serve Meals Ready for Eat (MREs)
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    Stay away from irrational behavior.Basically, don't act stupid. Many soldiers, young and old, have the belief that once they have mobilization orders at hand, they have the ability to be immune from stupidity. They want to drive 100+ MPH and flash their Military CAC card and act as if they have a get out of jail card. Last thing a commander wants is a person who has drama baggage looming at the end of the deployment. So, smart commanders will not deploy those drama king/queens. Mobilization to a combat zone must be focus on the mission. If a soldier's mind wanders around because the law is waiting at the end of the mobilization tunnel, because he forgot to pay child support throughout their deployment, that soldier is a risk to the unit. So, stay away from trouble and don't make trouble.

Method 3

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    The Day of...Everyone loves a ceremonies. On the day of the order of mobilization will be the last day the soldiers and families will be together. On this day, families must be strong mentally as will as the Soldiers. Kiss them So-long and let them depart knowing that their family is taken care of. They're be crying. To soften the blow, let it flow. Soldiers-let your family run their course now, so let your spouse start taking care of children. Not only does being overbearing counter-productive but it provides a negative precedence to the one who will be in charge.
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    Have young children involve in the deployment process. For Soldiers who have young children above 5 years old, don't let them be excluded in being part of the deployment process. Kids need to be informed also of this major disruption in their lives. Ask yourself this question: How would you react if one day, your child waves their hand and just go out the door without telling you where they are going or when they come back? Set some time before you actually leave in telling them why you are going and when you should come back.(PLEASE DO NOT TELL THEM ON DAY OF!) Assure your children know that they are not the reason why you'll be leaving. Finally, provide them with responsibilities while you are going. It's always nice to tell your daughter to make sure to help out Mom in the kitchen or your son to dad take out the trash

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Categories: Careers in the Military