The National Guard is hoping to better prepare about-to-be-deployed troops — including members of the 442nd Military Police Company — for their long time away from wives, kids and the luxury of not getting shot at.
The Guard has begun implementing pre-deployment orientations for departing troops, including one for the 442nd beginning 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Westchester Marriott. The Marriott is at 670 White Plains Rd. Tarrytown, N.Y. 10591.
Soldiers and their family members will get face-to-face advice on tax -free combat pay, financial planning, child care, psychological services (yes, you need ’em), TRICARE benefits, legal advice and other things they should get squared away before they say goodbye.
Newsday will report about the event in Sunday’s newspaper, so look for pictures and interviews of soldiers there.
“It’s a big thing, especially for the families,” said Staff Sergeant Jason Diaz, of Hicksville, who has a wife and three kids. “They’re putting out a lot of information.”
The 442nd Military Police Company, which is based at the Jamaica, Queens Armory and which draws personnel from Long Island, the five boroughs, and upstate, also deployed to Iraq in 2003. But they had no pre-deployment orientation that time, and some guys got pretty distracted by the messes they had left back home.
That’s not a good thing when you work in a rowdy neighborhood like, say, Tikrit. War is no video game. If a pipe breaks in your basement while you’re out hunting bad guys, or your wife is sick and has no one to care for the kids, you can’t hit the pause button while you get things fixed.
The 442nd will head back to Iraq sometime in the first three months of next year. That plumber had better stick to plumbing.