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Operation KUDOS deploys children to “Neverland”

Sandi Meikel, American Red Cross volunteer, gives a military child a simulated Meal Ready to Eat during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington , July 20, 2018. Operation KUDOS is designed to give children a visual understanding of deployments and provide families an opportunity to bond during an otherwise stressful life event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Sandi Meikel, American Red Cross volunteer, gives a military child a simulated Meal Ready to Eat during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington , July 20, 2018. Operation KUDOS is designed to give children a visual understanding of deployments and provide families an opportunity to bond during an otherwise stressful life event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Fairchild Airmen assist military children make mock dog tags during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted operation KUDOS, which presents deployments in a fun way to decrease separation anxiety children go through during their parent’s deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Fairchild Airmen assist military children make mock dog tags during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted operation KUDOS, which presents deployments in a fun way to decrease separation anxiety children go through during their parent’s deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Henry Strozier, military child, gets his face painted during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted operation KUDOS to expose children to deployments and prepare them to become more comfortable having that conversation with their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Henry Strozier, military child, gets his face painted during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted operation KUDOS to expose children to deployments and prepare them to become more comfortable having that conversation with their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

A group of military children compete in a game of tug-of-war during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. For the first time in 10 years, Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations for military dependents between ages two to 13 to explain what their parents experience when going on deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

A group of military children compete in a game of tug-of-war during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. For the first time in 10 years, Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations for military dependents between ages two to 13 to explain what their parents experience when going on deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Ethan Regan, a military child, dons mission-oriented protective-posture gear during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. For the first time in 10 years, Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted Operation KUDOS for military dependents between ages two to explain what their parents experience when going on deployment . (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

Ethan Regan, a military child, dons mission-oriented protective-posture gear during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 20, 2018. For the first time in 10 years, Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted Operation KUDOS for military dependents between ages two to explain what their parents experience when going on deployment . (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Members of Team Fairchild received the rare opportunity to deploy on a top secret mission.

After going through a deployment line, receiving an intelligence briefing on threats and adversaries, and training with Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape specialists, military children were prepared to deploy for their classified mission to “Neverland.”

For the first time in 10 years, Fairchild’s Airman & Family Readiness Center hosted Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations for military dependents between ages two to 13 to explain what their parents experience when going on deployments.

“Exposing children to deployments can help them become more comfortable having that conversation with their parents,” said Tech Sgt. Caroline Martinez, Airman & Family Readiness Center readiness NCO in charge. “We present it to them with a fun theme. This [year’s] theme is Neverland; we brief them about threats, which might be pirates or crocodiles, and make sure they pack their fairy dust!”

Operation KUDOS is designed to give children a visual understanding of deployments and provide families an opportunity to bond during an otherwise stressful life event.

“Their parents chose to serve; they didn’t,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Horn, 92nd Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant. “Parents get sad about leaving their families and kids can confuse that with fear. This invaluable experience can remove that fear and spark new questions kids might have about deployment.”

Along with Operation KUDOS, the AFRC has many programs to support Airmen and their families during deployments. For more information, contact the Airman & Family Readiness Center at (509) 247-2246.

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After processing and preparing for their top secret mission, children board their ship, a KC-135 Stratotanker, setting their course to fight and win a battle against evil pirates and crocodiles.