HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
For children of military members, a parent deploying can be a time of uncertainty and confusion.
More than 100 military children waved goodbye to their parents as they started the process of their mock deployment.
The day started with the children receiving a protocol and mission commander briefing. Following the briefing they were divided into three groups, called chalks, and sent to different stations.
At the first station the children were given a checklist, dog tags, a backpack, snacks, fake money, a mock power of attorney and mock immunizations. In addition to their deployment gear, each child received a complimentary t-shirt and hat for their participation in the event.
At the second station volunteers assisted in applying camouflage face paint, and the kids really began to blend in.
At the third station children received information from combat arms and maintenance Airmen and from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives Airmen. The children were given the opportunity to use a special tool to locate a controlled radiation sample.
Upon completion of all three stations, it was time to travel to their “deployed” location. The children, full of excitement, filed onto several buses to be transported to the RED HORSE Compound.
Shortly after their arrival, they received a deployed mission commander briefing, followed by a military working dog demonstration. The kids cheered the MWD’s name over and over as they watched Bob and his handler simulate an attack scenario.
Following the MWD demonstration, the children were divided into their chalks again and sent to three more stations.
The first station consisted of an auditorium where the children listened to music and were encouraged to engage in physical training. There were also medical demonstrations where the children were given tourniquets and carried around on a stretcher.
At the second station, the children received lunch and were given the opportunity to spend their fake money at a mock army and air force exchange service. They were given stickers and the option to purchase either a toy grenade or a toy truck.
The third and final station consisted of numerous RED HORSE heavy equipment static displays. They were given the opportunity to explore the interior of the equipment. Additionally, there was a firetruck present and the children were given coloring books and firefighter helmets.
The day ended with the buses transporting the children to the Commando Hangar where they were welcomed home from their “deployment”. They children were greeted with signs and hugs from friends and family upon arrival.
“The ultimate goal of Operation KUDOS is to better equip military children with the skills and knowledge they need to understand when their parent deploys,” Master Sgt. Brooke Scott, a readiness non-commissioned officer with Hurlburt Field’s Military and Family Readiness Center.
Over 30 organizations and about 70 volunteers donated their time and resources to assist with Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations. Operation KUDOS is an educational tool designed to allow children to experience what it’s like to prepare for deployment. Hurlburt Field hosts operations KUDOS annually with the hope of giving military members and their families piece of mind while the member is deployed.