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Hello Marine Families members! In case you don’t know me I am Demonta “Monty” Quailes your Assistant Executive Director. I am also your Master Gunnery Sergeant, Retired. As a retired Marine with more than 24 years of military service, I can help you figure out things dealing with your Marine. I still find that I have to find new ways to explain Marine Corps “things” to my mother even after all these years. Although this is written in Marine speak don’t be discouraged if you have a family member that is a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Coastie. I am familiar with all branches of services, but for this discussion I am going to focus on the Marine Corps. If you want to know more about the other services I can discuss those as well.

Some of you have expressed that you would like to know the difference between deployment, being stationed overseas, and training evolutions. Deployments may seem like it has a straight-forward definition. I have found that a lot of family members consider a Marine deployed when they leave the United States. The truth is that Marines are assigned to permanent duty stations and go on training evolutions outside of the United States. When you are talking to a Marine, generally we consider a deployment when we leave in support of operational requirements which are not always combat-related. An example of a noncombat- related deployment is going on a MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit). Deployments are when units or individual augments travel away in support of operations generally overseas. So here is where we get tricky in the use of the term deployment. We also have deployments for training, deployments in support of exercises, and deployments in support of humanitarian/ disaster relief efforts. Deployment in support of operations are the ones in which most Americans are familiar. These are deployments to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Deployments for training can be done inside the United States. An example is an artillery unit going from Camp Lejeune to Fort Bragg to ensure the unit is efficient in using the artillery weaponry and meeting the goals expected of an artillery unit. Deployments in support of exercises can be conducted locally at the permanent duty station or in another country. Generally, exercises can span from a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes during disasters in foreign countries we get the call to provide assistance. More commonly noted are the aid we provide to countries hit by tsunamis, earthquakes, or typhoons.

It should be noted that we have permanent duty stations is the location where the unit resides on a regular basis. We have quite a few duty stations overseas such as Okinawa, South Korea, Germany, and Bahrain to name a few. Although some of these places seems far away and scary because of the turmoil in that country. We have established bases and agreements with the host countries that keep everything in suitable living standards for our Marines.

So when your Marine tells you that he or she is leaving to go do something. How do you know if it is a deployment or not? You can sometimes gauge it on the time there will be gone and if they can tell you the location. Short stints like a few weeks are probably not a deployment in the sense of operational support and really long stints like years are probably duty station change. Sometimes your Marine can’t say when or where they are going for Operational Security (OPSEC) reasons. So although your Marine may be deployed you are now more educated on the different types of deployments. 

If you have specific questions pertaining to this subject please feel free to contact Master Guns @

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