Despite positive outcome, deployment challenges couple
By By 1st Lt. Anna-Marie Wyant, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs , 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 10, 2016
BALTIMORE, Md. -- -- A deployed Air Force reservist who used his limited free time overseas to finish requirements to become a schoolteacher learned some lessons of his own about how separations caused by military service affect GIs and those closest to them.
Prior to his six-month deployment to the Middle East, Master Sgt. Gregory Hicks of Travis Air Force Base, California, was a teaching aide in a post-secondary program for students with special needs. Now he’s about to begin his first semester as a high school teacher.
When he wasn’t working his daily 12-hour shift or resting, the 21-year Air Force veteran was focused on preparing to pass three intensive state exams that would allow him to become a certified teacher in California.
He balanced work, physical fitness, communicating with his family, and studying to reach his goal, finding ways to make the most of his time by exercising his body and his mind simultaneously.
“I would put my books on the treadmill and do 30 to 45 minutes and study there (before work),” Hicks said during a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program training weekend July 30-31 in Baltimore.
Hicks, an air transportation journeyman at the 82nd Aerial Port Squadron, also studied for an hour or two before bed each night while deployed. He eventually felt prepared to pass the exams, which he did while still overseas. He completed the paperwork to receive his certification, leaving him excited to go home and begin a new career.
But returning from deployment would prove to be a difficult transition for Hicks and his family. While he was moving forward with his career, things had changed at home. Despite being excited about her husband’s return, Teresa Hicks admitted that she had grown accustomed to her daily routine without him.
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