Are you ready for your deployment?

Are you ready for your deployment?

There are several things we military families go through to prepare for a deployment. One thing we excel at is waiting in lines, especially if you've been deployed at least twice. In the Air Force these are called "Deployment Lines" and lots of agencies come to you rather than you having to drive all over base to find them. One agency that is always there is Base Legal. They have everything you need for a quick will, living or otherwise, and most importantly the Power of Attorney. This is the most important item in the whole line for reasons I shall detail below...


Here's a true story that first introduced me to the "+Power of Attorney".
There I was at work, minding my own business, when the First Sergeant came down to find me. I needed to move my Airman's personal goods out of his house ASAP as I was just informed that his room mates had moved out and left him footing the bill. How was this all the sudden MY problem? Well, when you're all grown up and move away from home, mommy and daddy aren't there to come help you cart you crap away! But imagine the rest of your career after your supervisor has to remove your household goods while you're deployed all because you didn't get a simple piece of paper... the Power of Attorney!
How about another little gem...
Sgt. Snuffy was deployed and failed to shutoff his cell-phone. His "significant other" would take care of that for him, right? (Here's my personal opinion so don't get too bent over it but... if you're not his wife, I could care even less about you) How about she decided to start seeing someone else, using his phone, car, etc., and there was nothing I could do about it because they were still a "couple" while I had no Power of Attorney to do anything about the situation, i.e. shutoff his phone!
Those are true stories and just a hint of what I've experienced in my career specifically related to the POA (Power of Attorney). It gets a nickname now because it's too long to print. Anyway, I'm going to give this to you in two-parts. The first will be for the married folks.

PART ONE

Married Folks and the POA

If you have a solid relationship, read MARRIED, not dating, then you should be able to leave a POA for your spouse and they can handle everything. SOME agencies require specific POA's so check with banks, lenders, etc., before leaving town to make sure you're setting your family up for success. This goes along with preparing, in general.

Having your paperwork in order is a no-brainer anyway. God forbid something happen to you +United States Army folks while y'all are gone for over a year and you didn't leave one little paragraph stating at least "I leave everything to my wife and my comic book collection to my little brother".

PART TWO

Single Folks and the POA

The first example happened to me more than once. I had some guys deploy who were pretty sure that the dudes they were moving in with weren't going to bail on them. They'd been buddies for a while, partied together, why would they be jerks? Well, people change, especially when money's involved. My best 17-years-of-service-advice is this...  Always have a "Battle Buddy". I mean someone you can trust whether in the same town, a preacher at the church you went to when you grew up, someone. You may be in love with him/her now and "they'll wait for you" but leave a POA naming another ADULT as your executor. If something should happen to you and you want to leave your death benefits to the person you fell in love with on Spring Break, go ahead, but that's what WILLS are for, not POA's.

Bottom line for the single folks is leave a POA or even two for people you can trust, not your "friends".

Another important part of being prepared for deployments, or even a short-notice TDY, is making sure your family is prepared. I'm not talking about paperwork here. I mean does your spouse know how to change a light bulb, call Triple-A if stranded, patch a drywall hole, etc.? Recently I was replacing a faucet in my mother-in-laws house and my oldest boy came in to see what I was doing. He's 9 so he's quite capable AND curious which makes for the perfect learning opportunity. I described what I was doing as I lay on my
back loosening the faucet and stopper valve and told him to "come down here and try it out" to which he was more than happy to oblige. I had the large ford wrench lying on my chest and he thought, "hey, big tools, cool!" A short time later we had replaced the sink and guess who knows the difference between a flat-head and phillips-head screwdriver, adjustable pliers, and ford wrench? Yup, me... and my son.

He wouldn't have learned that anywhere else, except for maybe at +Cub Scouts some night. But even then, it's not really using them. The point is, take every opportunity to make everything a learning opportunity. It's easy for me to use the masculine example here so excuse me while I do. I mean no disrespect to the female constituency of our fighting forces, but, if I'm putting together a bookshelf, so is my son. If I'm changing a tire, so is my son. Don't get me wrong, if my 10-year old daughter is within ear-shot, she's helping, too, because I don't believe in helpless women. You won't see my daughters stranded on the side of the road waiting to get picked off while trying to flag down help. In fact, I would bet that +AAA has a road-side "school" that goes over the basics of driving "emergencies" like flat tires. It would certainly be worth looking into. Or (rabbit trail here) here's a link to +DriversEd.com that outlines some essential items for an emergency roadside kit. Finally, get a little pink toolbox. Seriously, they have little pink toolboxes at +The Home Depot with just the right tools to do all the "light work" until we get home.

At any rate, preparing for deployments isn't just paperwork. It's about trust and bestowing that trust upon someone with everything you own, literally. It's also about making sure that your family is able to carry-on in your absence. Not just in your un-timely death, but even the two-week TDY that got extended beyond pay-day.

Another way the Air Force is committed to helping families is by offering "Mock Deployment Lines" for spouses and kids. Typically we bring our family to the same Mobility Processing Center and they are "walked through" a processing line like they're
about to deploy. Kids get dog tags, face painted, tons of paper to color and throw away (just like me) and it truly does help the family transition. Think about it for a second, do you remember your first deployment? Was it a whirlwind? Was your job actually easier than the paperwork and process to get you there and home again? That took months, maybe even years, of preparation to get you to that point so imagine how your family feels when you come home frustrated about something they can't relate to. This program helps!


Remember... Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance


#AirForce #PowerOfAttorney #POA #SpringBreak
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