Children experience 'deployed life' with Operation K.I.D.S.

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The scene is all too familiar for those who wear the uniform and have to leave, sometimes at a moment's notice, to perform their duty somewhere other than home.

The rigors for those left behind — the families — can be challenging, for sure. Adults can make sense of it somehow, some way, but understanding the what and the why behind a parent’s departure can be difficult for the sons and daughters who only know mom or dad is leaving.

VIDEO | 01:09 | Sheppard Air Force Base hosts Operation K.I.D.S.
Operation K.I.D.S., or Kids Investigating Deployment Services, helped provide some insight, and a little entertainment, for the youngest who serve as almost 70 children participated in the event at Sheppard AFB on April 9, 2022. It was the first event hosted by the Airman & Family Readiness Center in a couple years.

Master Sgt. James Martin, readiness NCO at the A&FRC and a security forces Airman by trade, said he has been deployed and sent on other temporary duties throughout his career, and he has seen the effect it has on family members. The ability to cope with the different stressors that come with a deployment can be hard for those at home.

“I think for them, just getting a taste of being recalled and then walking the deployment line and seeing what a military member goes through, it can help them cope better; maybe understand what a parent goes through when they have to deploy short-notice …,” he said. “I hope it helped them kind of understand what a parent goes through, because it’s stressful for a parent that’s deploying, too.” 

The day started at 9 a.m. with a telephone recall of those who signed up for the kid-sized deployment. Their first assignment was to arrive at Bldg. 1025 to process through a deployment line. The deployers then got a chance to experience some of the tools of the trade seen in a deployed environment such as aircraft; munitions; an explosive ordnance disposal truck with a bomb suit and robot; and a Sheppard Fire Department Rosenbauer Panther Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting vehicle.

Perhaps a favorite of the miniature military members was the demonstration by the 82nd Security Forces Squadron military working dog team of Senior Airman Jacob Arnette and his partner, Tony. The duo displayed Tony’s ability to quickly bring down a belligerent person, played by 82nd SFS Airman 1st Class Baryden McKee.

Martin said the event was a success, as seen by the reaction of the children in attendance. He said he was happy for the A&FRC, USO and other organizations to come together to put on the event.

“I love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces running around and playing,” he said. “It’s just awesome.”