How to Stay in Touch During a Military Deployment

Three Methods:Phone CallingLetters and MailVideo Chat

The servicemen and women serving puts their lives at stake to defend their country and families. Military deployments connect families in a more unique and stronger way than civilian relationships. Staying strong as individuals and keeping in touch with loved ones overseas may be a challenge, but it's very much doable in reality.

Method 1
Phone Calling

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    Draft a list of emergency numbers. Deployments extend for months, ranging from five to sixteen on average, so it is important to create a list including secondary and other necessary numbers if there is a case of emergency for their end.
    • Any prime cell phone or landline numbers
    • Your immediate family or closest residing relatives
    • Your work numbers
    • Their military unit and/or the American Cross may also be of help and assistance if one of you has an emergency.
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    Purchase a prepaid mobile phone in country. This can save a lot of money, especially when it comes to international roaming. Many companies offer an international recharge service to add minutes instantly to the prepaid phone and it can all be done online from the US or Iraq/Afghanistan. Pretty much anywhere your soldier is deployed.
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    Purchase prepaid calling cards. Each country has their own rates per minute for collect calls, and they can severely rack up even if each call is a few minutes.
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    Keep your cellphone charged at all times. It is very hard on their side to get some leisure time for a phone call AND have to calculate timezone difference. Acknowledge that you may get a call from them at 8 in the morning or 3 am.
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    Accept the downside of phone calls. A lot of places overseas, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, are spotty and can result in call drops. Remain strong and wait for them to call.
    • If a return call is not successful in a few minutes, then you must wait until the next time they can call back.

Method 2
Letters and Mail

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    Perform a "time test". Mail a letter as soon as they arrive to their official station. Have them notify you as soon as they get the first or initial letter so you both know how long it takes for mail to deliver.
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    Write handwritten letters as much as possible. There is nothing more like a handwritten note when separations occur.
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    Write about your day. Freewrite your letters like how you would draw a verbal conversation with them.
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    Allow kids to be involved at all times. Have them draw pictures of anything, including their family member overseas, the weather outside, how they're feeling, etc.
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    Invite children to write their own letters. Even a simple, "I love you" goes a long way to encourage moral and boost self esteem.
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    Organize your letters. Before sending them off, number your letters (such as "1", "2", etc) not just the current date. Letters may be delayed or arrive faster than others.
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    Play "calendar tag" with kids. Play this game to keep your family connected with countdown dates.
    • Print out at least two to three months worth in calendar form. Fold each paper in thirds, if necessary, to fit a business envelope.
    • Mark off day one and mail it immediately.
    • Have the deployed family member "tag" the day they receive the calendar and mail it immediately.
    • Continue tagging dates back and forth.
    • Keep the game updated as time goes on by storing the old months and inputting new and current papers in.
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    Send care packages. Maintain the packages around the deployed person's "wish list", such as magazines, bathroom essentials (toothpaste or hand sanitizer), etc.
    • Add anything in the box that you cannot fit into a standard letter envelope.
    • It is very important to know what is allowed and restricted in packages.

Method 3
Video Chat

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    Create accounts on free sites. The most popular sites to reach out to families are Google Hangouts and Skype.
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    Remember about time zones. Video chats are in real-time, so try to allow a leeway in your child's bedtime schedule as special treats.
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    Entertain each other with positive conversations. Leave all drama out of any chats and try to resolve them in person.
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    Stay emotionally strong when dropped. Just like any other transmit connections, a video chat may be dropped due to lost or slow connections.
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    Take screenshots of your chat. Capture your deployed family member smiling on the screen and keep it in a computer folder.

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military