The Deployment Effect

Make no mistake: deployments can cause problems for those who are not deploying, said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh in his exit interview with Air Force Magazine. Welsh will be retiring next month after 40 years of uniformed service, the last four as Chief of Staff. Airmen are highly motivated on deployment because “they see the need, they see the mission, they know they’re making a difference,” Welsh said. These airmen leave behind jobs at their permanent bases that still must get done. Therefore, the airmen at home are frequently just as busy as they were in the war zones, and airmen cannot be expected to work on a combat-type schedule permanently. “When they go home and they have frustrations at home, it’s different. They shouldn’t have to work as hard when they’re at home as when they’re deployed,” Welsh said. “They shouldn’t feel like they have the same strains, the same resource shortages.” Airmen need a battle rhythm that includes downtime, time for family, sleep, and school.