duckmoney wrote:Sorry if this has been asked before, but as a JAG, how much of your career can you expect to spend stateside or in non-combat zones where your wife could be with you? On the other hand, how frequent are deployments to combat zones?
This varies greatly depending on the branch and specific unit/assignment. My Air Force experience: I was deployed for seven months in my first assignment and will deploy again out of my second assignment, probably within the next 12 months. A lot for me is just luck - there were some last minute changes in my office prior to the deployment orders dropping that put me at the top of the list. My second assignment is to a specialized unit with a very high deployment/operations tempo, where deploying is guaranteed. I also know plenty of Captains on their third assignment that never got tasked while at base legal and likely will get through their fifth/sixth year without going overseas. A lot truly is luck of the draw.
"Combat zones" is a bit of a misnomer. Technically speaking, that is anywhere you will draw hostile fire pay, but generally JAGs are Fobbits that are going to be behind the wire at large air bases like Bagram and Kandahar. Is there a risk of indirect fire or IEDs? Absolutely, but we are not going out on patrol or manning a COP.
That said, there are also JAGs that find themselves in legitimate action - one of my JAG School classmates is the first AF JAG to be awarded the Army Combat Action Badge for his part in a firefight in the 'Stan. That is the exception to the rule but is absolutely within the realm of possibility.
If I had to come up with a general rule, I would say there is a very good chance of you deploying for a 179 day deployment once within your first four years. Again, this is just based on my time in the Air Force.
To be totally candid, back when I was still in law school, the prospect of deploying scared the crap out of me. It is too abstract to conceptualize without some experience in uniform. Trust me though, if you get the chance to go, it is an amazing opportunity and something you will not regret. You will never find a more dynamic or interesting way to practice law and serve your country.