1 a : to extend (a military unit) especially in width b : to place in battle formation or appropriate positions
2: to spread out, utilize, or arrange for a deliberate purpose<deploy a sales force> <deploy a parachute>
3: to move, spread out, or function while being deployed<the troops deployed along the front> <the parachute failed to deploy>
World War II saw the largest deployment of American military forces in history. Hardly a household existed without a relative or neighbor overseas. In those days, the man was usually the head of the household, and the wife managed the home and most family matters. When the husband “signed up,” it meant departing from the home, the job, the community, leaving the wife and children to take over the responsibilities of the “home front.” Soldiers had to do their best to assure that pay and benefits included family members, but it must be said that neither pay nor benefits of most World War II soldiers went very far. Soldiers also had to worry about the farm, the family business, and family finances while focusing on waging war.
Citizens today worry about and pray for the military men and women in far away places, but are too often unaware of the needs of the family left behind.
Deployments take many forms. They can be for a few weeks or as in Great Wars as much as two or three years. They can take a soldier overseas or across the country. They almost always mean absence. The soldier goes off to duty; the family stays home.
Toddlers grow into elementary students and adolescents; middle schoolers become teens; high schoolers go off to jobs or college. It is not uncommon for a soldier to return from deployment to see a one or two-year-old son or daughter for the first time.
Those left behind live their lives and cope without their deployed family member, which means that work life and habits change, causing adjustments all the way round when the service member comes home. Children still need to go to school or day care or to the doctor; their at-home parent still has to go to work, to the store, and manage the home. Life must go on.