Kids understand deployment operations
By Eric Brian, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 11, 2012
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.