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Kids understand deployment operations

A Security Forces Airman helps a child aim a rubber band gun at a plastic target during the Kids Understanding Deployments event at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 7, 2012. The event was designed to help active-duty and Reserve dependent children learn about the deployment process in a fun, interactive way.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Airman 1st Class Andrea Robb, 45th Security Forces Squadron, helps a child aim an "M-16" rubber band gun at a plastic target during Kids Understanding Deployment Operations Jan. 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. The event was designed to help active duty and reserve dependent children learn about the deployment process in a fun, interactive way. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Pararescueman Staff Sgt. Matt Williams fits a headset for a boy at the 308th Rescue Squadron demonstration Jan. 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Reservists of the 920th Rescue Wing provided key support for Patrick's second Saturday’s Kids Understanding Deployment Operations event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Pararescueman Staff Sgt. Matt Williams fits a headset for a boy at the 308th Rescue Squadron demonstration Jan. 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Reservists of the 920th Rescue Wing provided key support for Patrick's second Saturday’s Kids Understanding Deployment Operations event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Two girls run from beneath camouflage netting as part of a children’s obstacle course,
new for this year’s Kids Understanding Deployment Operations. More than 70 children participated in the second Patrick KUDOS to gain a better understanding of deployments in a fun and incteractive environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Two girls run from beneath camouflage netting as part of a children’s obstacle course, new for this year’s Kids Understanding Deployment Operations. More than 70 children participated in the second Patrick KUDOS to gain a better understanding of deployments in a fun and incteractive environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Face painted and ready to “deploy to Brazil in support of Operation Save the
Macaws” is 8-year-old Haley Cassidy, one of more than 70 children who participated in Kids Understanding Deployment Operations Jan, 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Haley is the daughter of Lt. Col. Joseph Cassidy, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Joseph Cassidy)

Face painted and ready to “deploy to Brazil in support of Operation Save the Macaws” is 8-year-old Haley Cassidy, one of more than 70 children who participated in Kids Understanding Deployment Operations Jan, 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Haley is the daughter of Lt. Col. Joseph Cassidy, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Joseph Cassidy)

Master Sgt. Sherri Ellison, 920th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Office, gave rubber ducks to child “deployers” to help remind them of friends and family, in the simulated deployment line in Hangar 751, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 7, 2012. Air Force Reservists of the 920th Rescue Wing provided key support for Patrick's second Kids Understanding Depoyment Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Master Sgt. Sherri Ellison, 920th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Office, gave rubber ducks to child “deployers” to help remind them of friends and family, in the simulated deployment line in Hangar 751, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 7, 2012. Air Force Reservists of the 920th Rescue Wing provided key support for Patrick's second Kids Understanding Depoyment Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

Riley Vannoy salutes Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander, upon completion of Riley’s “deployment to Brazil in support of Operation Save the Macaws,” as part of the Kids Understanding Deployment Operations event Jan, 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Riley is the son of son of Navy Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Vannoy, Naval Ordnance Test Unit, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lillian Cassidy)

Riley Vannoy salutes Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander, upon completion of Riley’s “deployment to Brazil in support of Operation Save the Macaws,” as part of the Kids Understanding Deployment Operations event Jan, 7, 2012, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Riley is the son of son of Navy Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Vannoy, Naval Ordnance Test Unit, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lillian Cassidy)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Children of Patrick community servicemembers had fun on base Saturday while learning about military deployments.

More than 70 children ages 5-12 attended the second Kids Understanding Deployment Operations, led by the 45th Space Wing. KUDOS included a tour of 920th Rescue Wing aircraft, 308th Rescue Squadron display, simulated deployment line, obstacle course, Security Forces K-9 military working dogs and fire department demonstrations, "M-16" rubber band gun shoot and more.

KUDOS' goal is to give children a better understanding of the deployment process in a fun and interactive environment.

Children completed a mock deployment to Brazil for "Operation Save the Macaws." They each received an ammo can, which contained a hat, face paint, compass and binoculars.

A former military training instructor, Master Sgt. Paul Lingard, 45th Medical Group, taught the children to stand at attention, and gave them reporting and saluting instructions.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander, then welcomed the children and later handed each of them a certificate upon completion of their "deployments."

"Parents accompanied the children throughout their deployment experience," said Tech. Sgt. Monica Gonzales, Family Readiness NCO at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Sergeant Gonzales is credited with spearheading the effort to bring KUDOS to Patrick in 2010, when she requested and received a grant for supplies from Air Force Space Command under the Year of the Air Force Family program. This year she worked with Tech. Sgt. Carla Johnson, 920 RQW, to put together the event.

"We did it on a reserve weekend so reservists could participate," said Sergeant Gonzales.

Agencies gave away items and information to the children, including rubber ducks, band aids, jelly beans, "immunizations," and play money as "pay." A "war-face" painter completed the deployment line.

Four groups of about 20 children each rotated between C-130 and HH-60 aircraft static displays, a fire truck, and a Pararescue demonstration.

Then the children watched a military working dogs demonstration, ran an obstacle course, and shot a Security Forces M-16 rubber band qualification, before receiving a big "welcome home" with food and drinks, hosted by Hunt Companies/Patrick Family Housing and AVET Project.

"Marsha and I participated in KUDOS and saw how important this was to the children of our Airmen, " said General Cotton.