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Gilbert's 10 rules to surviving a deployment

U.S. Air force Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert, 407th Air Expeditionary Wing, public affairs, participates in an all women journalist seminar held at the Itallian Proviscial Reconstruction Team camp to enhance the journalistic skills of Iraqi women prior to their national election Jan. 26, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Darrell Habisch/released)

U.S. Air force Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert, 407th Air Expeditionary Wing, public affairs, participates in an all women journalist seminar held at the Itallian Proviscial Reconstruction Team camp to enhance the journalistic skills of Iraqi women prior to their national election Jan. 26, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Darrell Habisch/released)

NAS FORT WORTH JRB, CARSWELL FIELD, Texas -- A deployment is stressful enough--being away from family and friends, new surroundings, austere environments or just the unfamiliar territory can give us the feeling of apprehension. Any of these factors can make or break a deployment experience, making it a life time memory or a short lived disastrous event.

It is also said that we make our deployment experiences what they are, whether good or bad. I have established rules to live by during my numerous deployments around the world and would like to share them with you. I hope that they can enhance your experience anywhere.

Rule #1 (most important to me)
I will do my best and God will take care of the rest.

Rule #2 (most important to some)
Have Fun!

Rule #3 (really important)
Do not talk about work or the people who irritate, annoy and or disgust you at work when you are not at work. This will only fuel your annoyance. Relax during this time.

Rule #4
Remind people of rule number three when they vent outside work. If they persist, raise your hands, look up to the sky and walk away. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Rule #5
Practice good hygiene! Take a shower daily and wash your clothes. You never know when someone will give you a hug or give you an Iraqi greeting.

Rule #6
Do for yourself what you can do. Stop asking other people to do your work. Doing more for others is even better, just know your limitations.

Rule #7
Don't be a freeloader. It is better to give than to receive. Leave things better than you found them.

Rule #8
Take time for yourself. Spiritual and mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Learn to sit still in the quietness of your soul.

Rule #9
Do not annoy others with your whining. Do not be the object of rule number three.

Rule # 10 (final rule)
Keep in touch with your family back home. They worry about you too!