Before I was in the military I really thought deployments were the way Hollywood portrays it. What do you think of when you hear the word deployment? What else do you have to go by if you don’t see or hear any other stories than what the news and Hollywood tell you. I quickly learned there are so many types of deployments, just within the Air Force, not to mention all the other branches of the military.
The Air Force is deploying people in so many different places all over the world. Not just Iraq and Afghanistan. And sometime the Air Force send people in big groups from one base and other times they pick and choose people to fill in where needed. And the Air Force and the Army made an agreement to help the war effort where they would take Air Force members and use their specific skills for an Army deployment.
I knew I would likely deploy within the first four years of being in the military. And it probably would have happened before the 2-year mark if our unit had not been assigned to help with the emergency relief effort. Which technically I did deploy for. I spent about two weeks in Florida helping with Hurricane Ike support. The Hurricane ended up going to Texas and only caused minimal damage, so there wasn’t a lot needed in the way of support from the Federal Government. The State has to ask the Federal Government for help before they can take action.
Once our unit was released from the emergency relief effort support tasking for deployments started coming. It was only a matter of time before it was time for me to go. I had my fingers crossed I would get a “good” deployment, like going to Manas, Kyrgstan or Al Udied.
Instead, not only did I get selected to go to Afghanistan. I also found out I would be on one of those deployments helping the Army out. I would deploy with the Army while serving in the Air Force. I got a taste of what it was like to be in the Army and I got a mission that was very different than a typical Air Force deployment.
Air Force Civil Engineers
As a Civil Engineer our job is to help maintain the base and we stay on the base and sometimes we go from larger bases to smaller bases to help the smaller bases with various facility type issue since each base overseas doesn’t have a civil engineering squadron.
In the Army, they have Civil Engineers too. But their Civil Engineers are focused on moving the Army forward. The Army has a very different mission from the Air Force. An Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron is focused on supporting the Flight Line. Supporting the flight line means supporting all the facilities required to make operations take place. Basically, we set up the Base, maintain and run the Air Field. The Army is often moving toward a destination or tactical spot. That makes our training very different. And with the current wars being fought in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq having large bases with infrastructure, including airfields, having Air Force Civil Engineering support was very important.
There are so many different types of deployments.
There is so much more to cover when talking about different types of deployment. I vaguely touched on humanitarian missions, but there is a whole lot more to it. There are also deployments for the Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard. I also don’t want to forget the many Civilian Government Agencies out on the front lines serving our country. Working to help with the war effort.
This series has people who have done so many different assignments. I hope you can learn about what we are doing and where we are going and have gone. No two stories are the same. Even if we went to the same place and had the same mission. All of us have a unique story to tell.
I’d love to hear what deployments have you experienced? Either personally or have just heard about. Comment Below. And if you have a story you want to share about a deployment you can fill out this survey or contact me via email (airmantomom [at] gmail [dot] com) with any ideas you have.
This is Day 2 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories series. If you want to start with day one click here.
Yesterday I talked about why I’m sharing deployment stories, tomorrow I will share my deployment story.