How Often and Long Are Military Deployments?

how long is deployment

Being deployed overseas in the military can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It is a unique opportunity to serve one’s country and make a difference in the world.

A deployment usually means being away from family and loved ones, which can be difficult. Still, it also provides a chance to bond with fellow service members and develop lasting friendships. Depending on the mission, deployments can be dangerous, demanding, and meaningful.

It can be a time of personal growth and reflection and a chance to learn about different cultures and ways of life. It requires a strong sense of discipline, adaptability, and resilience. Military deployments require sacrifices but are essential to defending national security and maintaining peace worldwide. It takes a special kind of person to choose to serve their country this way; for those who do, it is an honor and a privilege.

Military deployment can mean different things depending on a servicemember’s job and what branch of the military they’re in. Typically, it means a scheduled time away from a standard duty station, generally outside of the U.S. This could mean eight months on a Navy ship, a year at a forward operating base, or a mere three months in a city with all the stores you’d recognize back home.

Servicemembers may sometimes serve in dangerous situations when deployed but remember they’ve been through intense training and are prepared for the challenges. The deployment cycle begins when a service member is notified and starts pre-deployment training, the actual deployment, and then reunion and reintegration. Every deployment cycle is a bit different.

Empire Resume will let you know how often you can expect deployment in the military and how long most deployments typically last.

Army Deployment

how long is deployment

As we mentioned, deployments vary based on what branch of the military you are in. We’ll go over a few of the various military branches and their typical deployments, starting with the U.S. Army. In the Army, soldiers deploy in large or small groups or, sometimes, individually.

Many soldiers do pre-deployment training at large centers like the National Training Center. Average deployment cycles include months of training at home base where soldiers take specialized courses. Soldiers with specialized skills may be deployed individually to smaller units. These specialized soldiers will have different training requirements based on their jobs and deployment location.

Deployment lengths for Army soldiers vary between 90 days and 15 months, but most deployments are between 6 and 12 months. The length of a soldier’s deployment depends on various factors, such as the location, mission type, active-duty status, conflict status, and personnel shortages.

Marine Corps and Air Force Deployments

how long is deployment

Most Marines are deployed on Navy ships and sometimes fly to their deployment locations. Marine deployments generally require about one year of training followed by up to seven months of actual deployment time.

However, many Marine Corps deployments may be scheduled for a year or more. The Marine Corps supports many missions, usually on short notice. Deployment types for the Marines include force readiness, supporting ongoing missions, humanitarian support, and training exercises.

Airmen in the U.S. Air Force participate in several types of deployments. Most deployments involve flying to locations, often to an overseas Air Force base, a joint base, or the base of another military branch. Airmen usually live on those bases, or they will stay in hotels.

Some Air Force units have a fast deployment cycle, but it comes with shorter deployments and shorter times between the deployments. Air Force deployments typically follow the average duration of other military branches (between 6 and 12 months). But Airmen also may do a series of two- to three-month deployments in a short period. The differences in deployment tempo are generally based on the Airmen’s job and unit.

Navy Deployment

how long is deployment

Navy deployments are obviously on ships and submarines, and service members spend months beforehand participating in various training both on and off the ship or sub. Ship and submarine deployments generally last six to seven months, though they sometimes stretch longer. The time out at sea is occasionally broken up by port calls where a ship stops at a town, and the sailors are allowed to go onshore and enjoy brief time off.

Sometimes, sailors deploy without a ship or sub and go to various locations for various duties. The pre-deployment training may become a regular part of their job, or they may also need to learn new skills.

These types of deployments may be with Navy units or joint military units, and occasionally, servicemembers may be assigned to a team in a different military branch. These deployments are called individual augmented jobs when assigned to a different military branch unit. Sailors deployed without a ship or a submarine may also leave for as little as a month or more than a year.

How Often Are Deployments?

how long is deployment

How often service members are deployed is also contingent on several factors. In the Army, soldiers are generally deployed once every two to three years. For the Air Force, an Airman’s base location changes as often as every three years.

On average, every 20 months an Airman will go on deployment. In the Navy, ships and a typical sailor will deploy overseas once about every 18 to 24 months. This will vary depending on the mission, and the type of ship the sailor is serving on. The vessels on deployment generally spend time visiting ports worldwide.

Deployments at a Record Low

The U.S. military is deployed worldwide and can be found in almost every country, with between 160,00 to 170,000 active-duty personnel stationed outside the United States. Outside of active combat, American military personnel are also deployed as part of peacekeeping missions or part of embassy and consulate security. About 40,000 service members are also assigned to classified missions in locations that the American government refuses to identify.

Despite these staggeringly high numbers, the number of active-duty U.S. military service members stationed overseas recently fell below 200,000 for the first time in at least six decades. The decline has happened in multiple countries, including South Korea. As of 2016, about 15 percent of the 1.3 million active-duty U.S. military personnel were deployed overseas, making it the smallest number and share since at least 1957.

The five countries with the most U.S. troops on the ground in 2016 were Japan, Germany, South Korea, Italy, and Afghanistan. Of those countries, Afghanistan was the only one in open conflict as of 2016.

Even though the numbers are lower, this doesn’t mean the deployment challenges are any less for U.S. servicemembers. Some of the many challenges of deployment include all the planning that must be done beforehand, separation from family, stress, and re-location. Returning home from deployment also brings the challenge of re-integrating with society and with the family. Some soldiers also face the unique challenges of coping with physical and psychological issues, such as PTSD.

Making the Best out of Deployments

how long is deployment

Military deployments are critical to maintaining national security and ensuring global stability. Military personnel are often deployed to respond to threats and crises worldwide, providing assistance and support as required. Armed forces are deployed for various reasons, including natural disasters, political unrest, and combat operations.

Deployments allow military personnel to serve their country, gain valuable combat experience, and develop essential leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Military deployments also deter potential adversaries, demonstrating that our armed forces are ready and willing to defend our nation’s interests.

Without military deployments, our nation would be vulnerable to various threats and challenges at home and abroad. As such, the continued support of military personnel and their deployments is essential to ensuring that our nation remains solid and secure.

Depending on what branch of the military you’re in, how often and how long your deployments are may vary significantly. It will also depend on what unit you’re in and how specialized your skill set is. From the Army to the Marines, each branch handles deployments a bit differently.

Military deployments can be a challenging experience for both military personnel and their families. However, there are ways to make the best out of the situation. Firstly, staying connected with loved ones through regular communication, whether through phone calls, video chats, or letters, is essential.

Lastly, accessing available resources such as counseling services and financial assistance can ease the burden of deployment. By staying connected and utilizing available resources, military personnel, and their families can make the most of their deployment experience, no matter how often or long they are deployed.

Once your service commitment has ended and you’re looking to transition into the civilian workforce, you’ll need a military resume that civilian hiring managers will understand. Being able to effectively translate military jargon to civilian friendly terms is what’s expected of you.

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has extensive experience writing resumes for professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer with a B.A. in Communications from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a Ph.D. in Finance.

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