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Patrick kicks off Month of the Military Child

Children swear in to serve during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9.  KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Children swear in to serve during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9. KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Families navigate the Banana River in kayaks during  the 45th Force Support Squadron's second annual “Play for a Day” event for 45th Space Wing families at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. April 9. The event kicked off Month of the Military Child and included a variety of activities to introduce the military community to many of the squadron’s services available at Patrick. While families enjoyed giant inflatables, boat rides, cartoon character visits and food at the base marina and golf course, children also had the opportunity to go through a “deployment line.” (Courtesy photo by 45th FSS/released)

Families navigate the Banana River in kayaks during the 45th Force Support Squadron's second annual “Play for a Day” event for 45th Space Wing families at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. April 9. The event kicked off Month of the Military Child and included a variety of activities to introduce the military community to many of the squadron’s services available at Patrick. While families enjoyed giant inflatables, boat rides, cartoon character visits and food at the base marina and golf course, children also had the opportunity to go through a “deployment line.” (Courtesy photo by 45th FSS/released)

Children don chemical warfare gear during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9.  KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Children don chemical warfare gear during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9. KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Children deploy from the base marina during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9.  KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Children deploy from the base marina during “Kids Understanding Deployment Operations,” held in conjunction with Play for a Day at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla, April 9. KUDOS helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployment. The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off “Month of the Military Child with these events for 45th Space Wing families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Thacker/Released)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The 45th Force Support Squadron kicked off "Month of the Military Child" with their second annual "Play for a Day" event held on Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., April 9.

The event included a variety of activities to introduce the military community to many of the squadron's services available at Patrick. While families enjoyed giant inflatables, boat rides, cartoon character visits and food at the base marina and golf course, children also had the opportunity to go through a "deployment line."

"Growing up as a military child, I know first-hand the sacrifices our children make from PCSing and leaving behind good friends, to being without mom or dad, while they are deployed.  It's not easy, but military kids are flexible, adaptive and most importantly resilient," said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th SW commander. "The events held here over the weekend helped bring our community closer together and showed our kids what it looks like when a parent is preparing to deploy. Talking about it at home is one thing, having them go through their own version helps provide invaluable perspective. Our team did a phenomenal job putting the event together and the kids had a great time."

According to the Department of Defense, the average child in a military family will move six to nine times during a school career, an average of three times more frequently than nonmilitary families.

"Play for a Day gave our base community a well-deserved opportunity to relax and unwind with their fellow Shark families--that is vital to the success of our mission," said 2nd Lt. Leah Vincuilla, 45th FSS community services flight deputy chief. "The fun in the sun was the least we can do to serve our Airmen and families who sacrifice so much."

"Kids Understanding Deployment Operations," held in conjunction with the event, helped children of military families gain an understanding of what their parents go through before deployments.  The children walked through different stations representing tasks a military member goes through before leaving. They were provided t-shirts, dog tags, mock deployment papers and a deployment boat ride on the Banana River.

Event participants also enjoyed recreational activities at the 45th FSS Outdoor Recreation facility were a variety of equipment is available for rent like kayaks, standup paddleboards, water bikes, Segways and more.

Additionally, families were introduced to local area opportunities for entertainment with a travel expo hosted by Patrick AFB's Information, Tickets and Travel office at the Play for a Day event. Vendors from Disney, Universal, Brevard Zoo and others participated.

To learn more about Month of Military Child events at 45th FSS facilities visit www.gopatrick.af.mil, for more information.

For more information on the Month of the Military Child, see the Department of Defense Special Report at http://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0416_militarychild.