Events

October 26, 2012

Operation KIDS makes impact

Airman 1st Class William Riddle, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, helps Colin Cool, 13, son of Lt. Col. Bert Cool, 56th Mission Support Group deputy commander, into a bomb suit during Operation KIDS at Luke. EOD showcased their bomb suit and other tools of the trade.

It happens to most military families. Mom and dad sit down with their children to explain there is a deployment coming up and one or both parents have a lot to do to get ready. Children generally don’t see all the things parents do to prepare or how they live once they’re deployed, but the Luke Air Force Base Airmen and Family Readiness Center hopes to change that by offering a day camp once a year called Operations KIDS.

The fifth annual Operation KIDS took place Saturday and was geared to help children understand the kinds of things parents do when preparing to deploy.

“Operation KIDS is a simulated deployment experience for children,” said Tech. Sgt. Nicole Eisenbarth, A&FRC readiness NCO. “Two hundred children participated in a three-phase deployment process.”

Preparation for the day began at registration a few months prior.

Airman 1st Class Michael Bawmiller, 56th Security Forces Squadron security patrolman, applies camo paint to the face of Anna Jameson, 8, daughter of retired Maj. Stacy Jameson.

“The registration is an event in itself,” Eisenbarth said. “We have eight career flights the children can be in like medical, explosive ordnance disposal, infantry and others. When they arrived we made it seem like they were going to a recruiter and entering the Air Force. The children were briefed by a representative from each career field and chose the one they wanted.”

Of the careers available, four were Air Force and four were Army. Some career flights filled up quickly so not all the children got the career they wanted.

“This year we partnered with the Army to make it more of a joint environment,” Eisenbarth said. “The EOD, pilot and infantry flights filled up first, so some children made a second choice.”

On the day of the event, after checking in and joining their flights, each child began at station one, out-processing.

“The children started the day by going through a deployment line simulating what their parents do in preparation to leave,” Eisenbarth said. “They went to various stations like legal, the chapel and the military personnel section, during a simulated out-processing.”

Then, just like their parents do, after out-processing they waited to catch a flight to their deployment. The children boarded the “plane” (a bus) and were transported to the Luke ability to survive and operate area where there were activities in which to participate.

“I really liked the archery, the gun shooting and learning the survival tips,” said Breanna Lewis, 14. “This helped me understand what my parents do because it puts you in that environment, and it informs you.”

Col. Nathan Mooney, 56th Mission Support Group commander, and Col. Robert Webb, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, greet children coming off the bus during Operation KIDS.

In the ATSO area, deployers had the opportunity to shoot air soft guns, complete a mind and body challenge, help the Red Cross, and get in and explore many of the vehicles used by emergency services and overseas.

“This year was different from the last couple of years,” Eisenbarth said. “This year we partnered with the Army, and they brought out their vehicles. We also had the Red Cross who helped children understand their roles and how they help. Finally, we had ‘Operation Military KIDS’ come out, which is a group that certifies children on using a GPS. They got to find things around the camp using GPS coordinates.”

Having worked hard during their deployment, the children boarded the bus and headed home. As they pulled up they were greeted by Col. Robert Webb, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; United Service Organization; and members of the community.

“When they return they received a grand greeting,” Eisenbarth said. “Their photo was taken as a group and they received a personalized letter of participation.”

Participants of Operation KIDS return from a mock deployment. The event was Saturday at Luke Air Force Base and gave children of military members a glimpse deployment life.

This day helps not just the children but parents as well.

“This was our second Operation KIDS, and it was so much better this year,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Gamilla, 56th Operations Group training management NCO-in-charge. “This year it moved smoothly, and I liked that we didn’t have to do everything. We could pick and choose the events we wanted to participate in.”

Plenty of work went on to make this day possible for the children, especially in the A&FRC.

“We had our first meeting about Operation KIDS in April,” Eisenbarth said. “It takes a lot to coordinate and run this program, but it is worth it.”

The children also had something to say about the event.

“I like the dogs,” said Aiden Gamilla, 5. “But I really liked everything.”

Operation KIDS will skip 2013 and happen again in 2014. For more information on Operation KIDS and other family programs, call A&FRC at (623) 856-6550.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lightening-within-five

Lightning over Luke …

The F-35 Lightning II isn’t the only lightning striking over Luke Air Force Base. This strike, about five miles west of the Luke flightline, was captured on camera at 1:12 a.m. Aug. 12 at the jet engine test cell.
 
 

Program smooths change from military to civilian life

It can be difficult to find work in today’s economy, even more so for families that are moving to a new area or families that are transitioning from military to civilian life. One program available to veterans is the Workforce Investment Act, which can help veterans have a smooth transition to civilian work. The 56th...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 
 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Commander’s call Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a commander’s call Monday in the Luke Air Force Base theater at 7 a.m. for Airmen, 9 a.m. for NCOs, 11 a.m. for senior NCOs, 1 p.m. for civilians, 3 p.m. for officers and 5 p.m. for those not able to make another...
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Commandant challenges students to be best

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School commandant, briefs students Aug. 12 about the active-shooter exercise Aug. 15 at Luke Air Force Base. Poisson asked ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin