It’s time to talk about the deployment binder again. A while back I wrote a post about all the reasons you need to make a deployment binder in the first place. (Psst…it’s important even if your spouse isn’t deploying!) I put mine together before my husband went to NTC and used that longer period of separation to figure out what worked and what I needed to change.
Of course now plans have changed and I am moving home while my husband is gone, so what I will need changes as well.
Luckily I didn’t have too many issues while my husband was at NTC, so the information in my deployment binder didn’t see a lot of action. That said, I felt a lot more comfortable because it was readily available if I had needed it.
What is in my deployment binder?
- Power of Attorney
- Account log-in information
- Bill due dates and amounts
- FRG Contact Information
- Red Cross Contact Information
- Marriage license/birth certificates/social security cards
- Husband’s mailing information and spare customs forms
- Medical records
Why are these things important in a deployment binder?
Power of Attorney
I am having a baby while my husband is gone so that baby will need to be enrolled in DEERS and Tricare. The power of attorney also allows me to get housing back at Fort Hood before my husband returns, register his car, renew my own ID if needed, etc. Basically it’s a permission slip to do all the things I usually need my husband (aka my sponsor) to do.
You may not be moving to having a baby while your spouse is gone, but there are a million other little reasons you need a power of attorney. They are free and quick to do. Keeping your POA in your deployment binder means you wont have to frantically search for it if/when you need it.
Account log-in information
Let me tell you about the time Hulu logged me out on the TV at home and my toddler had an epic meltdown because he couldn’t watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It wasn’t one of the accounts I knew the password for. Waiting for my husband to be able to tell me the password felt like the longest thing in the world.
Of course there are more important things in life, but when I was waiting for the Hulu password it sure didn’t feel like it! So be sure you have a list of all the passwords you might possibly need when your spouse is in a different time zone and possibly unreachable for days/weeks at a time.
Bill due dates and amounts
My husband and I just got a joint checking account for the first time ever. And we have been together for quite a while. Of course we are transitioning to that account as he is getting ready to leave, so there are quite a few auto-draft payments that will need to be changed over. It also means that there are bills we have each been paying so there are a few that I don’t know the dates and amounts of off the top of my head. If he isn’t available to pay those bills, that could be a bad thing.
In order to make sure everything gets paid on time, I have a list of our bills, when they are due, and how much they are. The deployment binder is a great place for this list because it is always easy to find.
If you already do the household bill paying this may feel redundant. However it can’t hurt to have as backup for the transitional phase when you are getting used to your spouse being gone. As I have mentioned before it is also a good list to make in case something were to happen to you. That way your spouse would be able to pay the bills while you weren’t able to.
FRG Contact Information
(I think it’s actually SFRG now?)
I know different branches call this different things. In the Army it is the Family Readiness Group. Now the Soldier and Family Readiness group. But we all know how well it has gone with changing the name of a DITY move and this seems to have caught on about as well.
Anyways I digress.
This is especially important if you are staying at your duty station. If you have an emergency your FRG should be able to help. They are also a great point of contact if you need information.
Even though I am moving home during deployment, I am making sure to keep the FRG contact information handy. You never want to have to use it, but it is a great comfort to have it handy if you do.
Red Cross Contact Information
Sure you know your spouse’s social security number. Probably better than you know your own. But do your friends know it? Or your family? I have the Hero Care app on my phone and a Red Cross contact information card in my deployment binder just in case. Again, you hope to never need it but it is far better to be prepared.
If something happens to you, you want your friends or family to be able to get in contact with your spouse as quickly as possible. The Red Cross is the way to get in contact, and having the service member’s information for them makes it a whole lot faster for them to find your spouse. You don’t want them having to search all the John Smiths at Fort Hood to find your John Smith.
Marriage License/Birth Certificates/Social Security Cards
These are things you just need sometimes. And it seems like you never know when those times will be. My deployment binder and PCS binder are the same, so all these documents live in it permanently. When I need them, I know exactly where they are.
Yup, another thing you never want to need but should have anyway. Ideally I will have one for my husband and for myself. If we don’t have time to get both done before he leaves, I at least want his in the binder.
It’s not a fun thing to do. We all know that. But it’s a lot less fun to add even more worry and uncertainty to a bad situation.
My husband’s mailing information and spare customs forms
Most of the time this will change at least once during a deployment. That said I can never remember it , so having it written down and stored safely is the way to go. I also keep my spare customs forms in the deployment binder. You never want to run out then have to try to fill one out at the post office. It’s just not fun!
Right before we leave I will be getting copies of my son’s medical records as well as my own. He will be due for his two year appointment shortly after we move and I will of course need to continue my prenatal appointments.
Even if you don’t plan on moving, this can be good information to keep handy. Should you need it for anything (like CYS registration) you won’t have to make a separate trip to the doctor’s office to get the records. As with everything else, there can also be unexpected circumstances where you need the medical records.
So that it is the current state of my deployment binder. I hope I have covered all my bases and we should be ready to roll!
Do you have a deployment binder? What did I forget?
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