Story by SSgt Matthew Coleman-Foster on 09/17/2019UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
The Schriever and U.S. Air Force Academy Airmen and Family Readiness Centers co-hosted a mock deployment exercise geared toward military children at U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, Sept. 7.
Master Sgt. Peter Uson, Schriever AFB AFRC readiness noncommissioned officer, said the event, called Kids Understanding Deployment Operations, gives military children the opportunity to get familiar with the deployment process.
"This event helps [children] better understand and relate to their parents as they go through the different phases of a deployment," he said.
The event brought approximately 67 children from the Schriever AFB and USAFA military communities together to participate.
"This is the first time two bases have come together for a KUDOS event," Uson said. "Overall, KUDOS together was successful."
Uson said a big factor in the Air Force Academy hosting the event was the availability of resources to provide an effective deployment experience.
"As readiness NCOs we try to maintain good working relationships with each other and take advantage of the opportunities each base has to offer," he said. "When USAFA offered to host, we were really excited because it gave us a chance for us to see how KUDOS events are really done."
Children were assigned to three different groups and experienced a deployment line, K-9 demonstration, confidence course, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party display, and were provided lunch. The event culminated with a welcome home celebration where parents and USAFA athletes welcomed the "deployers" home with cupcakes.
Micah, 11, said the event gave him insight into the deployment experience.
"When I was a little younger, my mom and dad both deployed at the same time," he said. "I knew they were gone for work, but I didn't understand exactly what it meant. KUDOS helped me [understand] and made me think about joining the Air Force. I'd like to be TACP."
More than 50 volunteers, supported the event and Uson said it event would not have gone as well as it did without their support.
"Our chalk leaders, Fort Carson, medical, Tactical Air Control Party, and [base] security forces were crucial to the success of the event," he said. "It took a lot of preparation, and we started coordination for the event about four months ago."
Airman 1st Class Josh Dickens, 50th Force Support Squadron customer service, one of Schriever's volunteers, said it was a phenomenal experience to work with the children in his chalk.
"The way the event was set up and organized was impressive," he said. "Seeing the kids go through the obstacle course was fun and it was amazing to see them learn about the deployment experience their parents may have to go through. It was refreshing hanging out with the military children. They were full of life and excitement during the event."
Uson said he hoped children who participated in KUDOS went home with a better idea of what their parents go through during the phase of a deployment.
"There are a lot of processes and emotions involved when someone deploys, especially for families with children, so it is valuable for the children to see and actually experience it on their own," he said.