Military children learn about deployment through Operation KUDOS

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaseyann Cornwall

Numerous Tinker Air Force Base organizations hosted 110 children of military service members on April 20th for Operation Kids Understanding Deployment Operations (KUDOS).

KUDOS is a program designed to provide military children ages 7-18 with a comprehensive yet fun understanding of the deployment process their parents undergo before deploying. The program was structured as a fun and educational activity to build resilience and security among military kids, ensuring they are better equipped to handle the emotional aspects of deployment.

"Operation KUDOS is a valuable program that helps children gain a deeper understanding of deployments,” said Master Sgt. Bradley Ford, Tinker Military and Family Readiness Center Superintendent and project officer for Operation KUDOS. “By immersing them in a simulated deployment environment, we demystify the process and empower the children with knowledge and resilience.”

The 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Installation Deployment Readiness Cell and Personnel Deployment Function played a pivotal role in the event. They guided the children through a simulated processing line, mimicking the experience of briefings, receiving mobility gear and immunizations in the form of candy.

“We are living in a pretty amazing time, if you think about world events today,” said Col. Abby Ruscetta, 72nd Air Base Wing and Installation Commander during her deployment briefing. “We need to be ready to go. Today is a great opportunity for our kids to see what their parents will experience as they prepare to deploy.”

Once prepared, children received a farewell from loved ones as they boarded trucks. Once they arrived the forward deployed area, in this case, the 507th Air Refueling Wing’s flight line, children drove by a static display of a KC-135, toured a C-17 Globemaster and E-3 Sentry aircraft before taking part in activities including fire truck tours, military working dog demonstrations, an obstacle course, camo face painting and more.

Once complete, children returned to the Tinker Youth Center where families held a "Welcome Home" party to celebrate the return of their children from deployment.

KUDOS not only provided children with a glimpse into the logistical aspects of deployment but also fostered a sense of camaraderie and support within the military community. Parents expressed gratitude for such initiatives that not only educate but also emotionally prepare their children for the challenges associated with military life.

As we wrapped up the Month of the Military Child, Operation KUDOS stood out as a shining example of the military’s commitment to supporting military families and ensuring children are well prepared and supported throughout their parents' deployment journeys.