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Operation KUDOS educates kids, prepares parents

Children wait in line to participate in Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations

Children wait in line to participate in Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 19, 2019. Operation KUDOS teaches children about the deployment process through fun activities put together by the AFRC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

A mother adjusts her son’s mask during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations

A mother adjusts her son’s mask during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 19, 2019. During the event, volunteers from the American Red Cross handed out superhero masks and backpacks full of snacks, coloring books, comic books, etc. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

A young girl holds up a shield that her mother created for her

A young girl holds up a shield that her mother created for her during the Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 19, 2019. During the event, the children were given 30 minutes to create a shield and a sidekick to use for the remainder of the day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

A boy lays in the boom operators pod and looks out of the boom pod’s window

A boy lays in the boom operators pod and looks out of the boom pod’s window during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 19, 2019. The KC-135 was used during Operation KUDOS to show the children what type of aircraft their parents typically deploy in. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

A girl is dressed in mission-oriented protective posture

A girl is dressed in mission-oriented protective posture during Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations at the Airmen and Family Readiness center on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, July 19, 2019. Children were given the opportunity to try on MOPP gear and do other activities to further enhance their understanding of deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

Team Fairchild Airmen showed 140 children from the base community what it was like to deploy through Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations, or KUDOS, at the Airman and Family Readiness Center on Fairchild Air Force Base, July 19, 2019.

 

 The Airman and Family Readiness Center taught children about deployment operations and what it takes to prepare for deployments through mock briefings, a KC-135 Stratotanker display, the 92nd Security Forces Squadron military working dogs demonstration and several other activities.

 

“My daughter’s here right now,” said Tech. Sgt. Keyatta Tolbert, 92nd Force Support Squadron Community Partnership and program office non-commissioned officer in charge. “[She’s learning] that it’s time consuming, it’s not just about the fun and games that they’re having, [she’s learning about] the seriousness of it, making sure that you have your ID on you at all times and that you’re staying vigilant.”

 

More than 60 volunteers and 18 units on base stepped up to make the event a success, which was intended to help ease conversations between Airmen and their children about the challenges of their family members deploying.

 

“Parents and guardians deploying is continuous and sometimes it’s a hard conversation have,” said Tech. Sgt. Caroline Martinez, 92nd FSS AFRC readiness NCO. “If they think ‘oh I went through a deployment, it was superhero themed, and it was fun’ that conversation will be a little bit easier to have.”

 

This event allows a free flow of information between Airmen and their children after they learn about the different aspects and steps to deployment, such as getting sized for mission-oriented protective posture gear, maintaining and practicing operation security with a mock ID card, and going through an agility course representing the physical strength Airmen need to maintain during deployments.

 

“I think that when you have a child gain understanding of the deployment process, even in this type of setting, they take it back to their families,” said Martinez. “It becomes that conversation that they’re comfortable having,”

 

In addition to easing the deployment conversation between Airmen and their families, it also puts Airmen at ease to see their children gaining an understanding of deployment operations. 

 

 “I’ve been deployed seven times; my kids didn’t understand where it was that mommy was going or what it was that I was doing,” Tolbert said. “This gives them an opportunity to say ‘hey, this is the processes and the steps that mommy takes,’ this gives them an insight to what their parents or family members are going through when they’re getting ready to deploy”