Advanced Party vs Main Body
Watching your husband leave on deployment is never fun, but if you had a choice, would you rather they leave early on advanced party or a couple weeks later with the main body? Do you want them to stay with you longer before… or return sooner on the back end of the deployment.
It would probably depend on what was going on around the time they were scheduled to leave and return. Holidays, birthdays, summer vacations, etc. But in most cases, we don’t get to decide, right? If we could, I’m so indecisive, I’d most likely have a panic attack just thinking about all the possibilities and trying to decide which was best.
Advanced party is a smaller group that leaves first. In most cases a couple weeks ahead of the main body. They ‘set up camp’, transition with the group they are replacing, and prepare things for the rest of the troops to arrive. Usually, the bonus with being on advanced party is that they also get to return first. Technically, they are all gone for the same amount of time, just leaving and coming home sooner than the main body.
Main Body is the majority of the troops leaving for deployment. They also return from deployment a few weeks after advanced party.
Those of us who have been through a deployment know the jealousy we have for those advanced party spouses…. getting to welcome home their husbands before all of us main body mamas (completely disregarding the fact that they had to say goodbye to them before we did). You know you were super happy for them, but at the same time you wanted to cry and stomp your feet and scream “It’s Not Fair!” Because that last month of deployment is the longest and worst month of your life… and you live and breathe for their return.
Now of course with all things military, everything is subject to change. So you can never be guaranteed who/when on the return. Many uncertainties and variables will be out of your control to decide that. So in the end, it’s really a wash as you can see in the handy dandy visual I share below.