How do you count down deployments and mark deployment milestones? Military deployments can be counted in days, in weeks, or in months. For our family deployment countdown, I prefer weeks, because the numbers are less intimidating than days. But in my head I count in months. This means you’ll have big deployment milestones to celebrate every four weeks. What’s a good way to celebrate deployment milestones as you reach them?

Since deployments have only 7 or 9 or 12 months (haha, I say only sarcastically, because I know it feels like an eternity), I think that means every month deserves its own special celebration! Whether or not you have kids, whether or not you live near other spouses in the unit, everyone should have some way of celebrating another month down. This makes deployment just a tiny bit more fun, and gives you something to look forward to.

Here are some ideas for celebrating deployment milestones on your own:

  • Enjoy ice cream or a special desert
  • Shop for a special outfit or accessory or shoes
  • Plan a trip to visit family (or invite them to visit you)
  • “Treat yourself” to a little gift, some time away from kids, or something you’ve been saving for

Need fun ideas for a visual deployment countdown at home? I’ve got you covered with creative deployment countdown ideas in this post. 

Grab a friend to celebrate another month down in deployment:

  • Get together for coffee, lunch, or dinner at your favorite place
  • Pick a local destination like a hiking trail, museum, or somewhere you’ve wanted to visit, and cross it off together
  • Plan a major road trip, vacation, or “bucket list” item for a memorable celebration
  • Sign up for a special event, like a race or competition

Need inspiration for your own deployment Bucket List? Check out the Ultimate Deployment Guide which you can download here.

Prepare for deployment using the Ultimate Deployment Guide.

Or celebrate deployment milestones with other military spouses in the unit:

  • Host a special countdown activity. (Lots of ideas are on my other blog post about planning a Girls’ Night.)
  • Coordinate a potluck party for all the spouses and kids. You can reserve community centers on base for free, and have everyone contribute some food or supplies.
  • Plan a Bunco night. It’s a simple game anyone can learn on the spot, and usually has a cheap buy-in (like $5) so there’s prize money to win at the end of the night.
  • Have a unit event. Talk to your FRG, FRO, or Ombudsman to see if the unit has any special events planned. Some units receive funds to help host events for families, so they can get good rates for something simple like a bowling night on base, or something fancy like a ‘Halfway Through Dinner Cruise.’

Don’t forget to celebrate each month’s deployment milestones with your deployed spouse!

  • Send a care package each month to help them count down and have something to look forward to.
  • Every month, take a picture of yourself and send it to them. Wear the same outfit each time, if you want to show off your weight loss. If it is your homecoming outfit, even better! They’ll get to spend months thinking about that outfit and you wearing it. 🙂
  • Write about a date you want to go on or a place you want to visit when they come back. Include a description or brochure, if you have one. A fresh, creative idea each month will give your service member lots to look forward to during post-deployment leave.
  • Send ‘Open When’ letters. These could be for any time or mood, but also write some for deployment milestone, like ‘open when three months have passed,’ or ‘open when we get to March.’ Then your service member can celebrate with you, even if there is no other communication.

“Open When” letters can be fun and inspiring for everyone, but who writes them to the military spouses who remain home during deployment? I did! My book, Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses, is a collection of letters written to YOU to support you and inspire you through the many common challenges of military life. You can find it on Amazon, or order an autographed copy here

author with Open When book

Do you have a favorite tradition to count off deployment milestones each month? Is it with your kids, or your friends, or your spouse? Please share!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.