Zack McLernon was just about settled into his new job when he got the call to deploy again.
A surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, McLernon returned from a yearlong deployment to the Middle East in late 2018. Six months later—two into his LMI tenure as a human capital consultant—another yearlong deployment abroad was on the horizon. He will leave LMI later this month, returning no earlier than October 2020.
“Any time with family is good time”
A duck to water notwithstanding, McLernon expects to step away from CRF after this deployment, temporarily at least. He’d like to serve next at the Pentagon, which he’s never done, and “give my family a break.”
McLernon says his wife, Amanda, has been “a saint” through his deployments; they make the best of the time apart when video calls permit.
“It’s more finding time to talk to my daughter and maintain that relationship,” he said of Arya, who will turn six and start kindergarten while he’s away. He hopes school will be a welcome distraction but knows better.
“My absence is going to become more obvious as time goes on,” he said. “That is still a concern that I have.”
For the next two weeks, McLernon is using LMI’s unlimited leave policy for dedicated family time. They drove through the Shenandoah National Park to see the fall foliage before he left in 2017. He mentions a visit to the National Zoo and museums around Washington, DC, as possibilities this time. Ultimately, it won’t matter where.
“The way I look at it,” he said, “any time with family is good time.”