Stay prepared for life, deployments – “Be O.P.”

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Dajuan L. Locke
  • 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – When the phrase “Be O.P.,” (short for Omnia Paratus, which means in all things prepared), was introduced to the 349th Air Mobility Wing as a charge, we had a choice to make.

Some would view Be O.P. as a catchy phrase for the wing commander to end his videos. Some might see it as a slogan to match the U.S. Marines, Sempi Fi, always faithful or always loyal. How do you view it and how can you bring personal meaning to Be O.P.? How can this statement have an impact on your life?

I encourage everyone to apply this statement to their careers and families.

The first area to prepare is with your family. This is an area we often think we have covered until it is time to go. What areas of your family’s affairs do you handle that your spouse or partner may not be aware of? Do they know all the passwords needed for your accounts? Do they know how to turn off the water main at the house or where the circuit breakers are located? Do they have your unit’s phone numbers? Do they know who the squadron’s key spouse representative is? Have you provided all the emergency and contact numbers they will need?

For my first deployment, I tried to cover every area I could think of to help my wife in my absence. Turns out, the most challenging part was preparing myself for my absence from them. During this deployment, my eldest son lost his first tooth, my daughter learned how to ride a bike and my youngest son was not comfortable around me when I returned. What I found most helpful was talking with others about the challenges of family separation and returning from deployment. In addition, for Reserve members, please take advantage of the Yellow Ribbon opportunities available to help with deployment issues.

What is common to us as service members is an unknown world to many of our friends, family, employers or even college professors. If you make them a part of your experience, it will give them a better understanding of why you need their support. It will also add a deeper meaning the next time they say, “Thank you for your service.” Don’t let the first time they hear about your service be the moment you are leaving.  It is important to develop a transition plan for the things you are responsible for prior to an activation or temporary duty. Help everyone be prepared for your absence. The better you prepare them, the more likely you are to receive their support.

Those of us who are Reserve members have the special responsibility of managing our military and our civilian careers. What does your employer know of your military career? Do they understand your annual tour requirements and the possibility of a deployment?  Do you take part in the employer appreciation opportunities when provided? Have you ever shared your military experiences with your boss and co-workers?

Letting people know you need help and why you need help will better ensure you get the support you need. This support will also ensure the Air Force mission is fulfilled.

To Be O.P. is going to look different for all of us as we serve and deploy. Preparation is the key to success. When you are prepared, your mind will stay better focused on the mission. Understand there are many important areas in your life that can benefit from “Be O.P.” So, Be O.P. and make it your own.