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Deployment Guide Benefits Families, Friends of Service Members

Returning service member hugs his mother
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Martinez

Your spouse walks in and gives you the news you’ve been expecting but secretly hoped wouldn’t actually come: His unit is deploying in two months. Sure, you knew this was pending, but finally having a deployment date triggers feelings that you’ve been keeping at bay for weeks. Now a wave of emotions washes over you: fear, stress, loneliness, anticipation and pride. It’s hard to make sense of it all.

— “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-deployment, Deployment and Reintegration”

Deployment is not a singular experience. As a family member or friend, the deployment of a loved one may draw you into emotions and challenges you’ve no experience managing. How do you prepare for a loved one’s deployment? How are you going to get through each day without being consumed with worry? What can you expect when she or he returns and for families, what impact will this all have on the kids? Each stage of deployment and reintegration presents unique challenges for families and friends of service members. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a resource to help you manage the emotional challenges of the deployment experience? “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-Deployment, Deployment and Reintegration,” from Blue Star Families and Vulcan Productions, helps you better understand what to expect from the deployment process and cope with the emotional toll of deployments and reintegration.

The handbook includes six chapters: pre-deployment, deployment, reunion, reintegration, caregiving and resources, and is designed to help military family members and friends navigate the deployment life cycle as it unfolds. Each chapter delves into emotions you might experience and highlights key topics and tips that address relationships, communication and self-care. With expert advice and insights from family members themselves, the handbook will help you:

  • Identify the stressors and feelings you may encounter throughout the deployment cycle
  • Develop skills to increase resilience
  • Improve your quality of life and satisfaction
  • Identify resources that may be useful throughout the deployment life cycle
  • Prepare for the unique challenges that service members and their families encounter during reintegration with the family and their community

Since 2001, deployments are more common and recurrent for military families. Everyone Serves provides information helpful to those who are experiencing increased levels of anxiety, fatigue and stress as a result of repeated deployments. Additionally, it features a section for veterans and their families transitioning to civilian life that contains information on employment, education and benefits. Health issues that commonly impact returning service members, including post-traumatic stress, depression, pain, substance abuse and sleep problems are also covered.

To access the interactive guide, videos, worksheets and checklists, and extensive resources to help you in any step of the deployment process, visit everyoneservesbook.com.

November is military family month. For a closer look at what families and friends who are separated because of military deployments experience, and how this handbook can be used to help guide you through the different stages of deployment, check out this blog series from Blue Star Families.



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