Family Members Get a Taste of Deployment During Operation KUDOS
By Master Sgt. Madinah McKinney, 61st MSS
/ Published August 28, 2007
Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Los Angeles Air Force Base's 2nd Annual Operation KUDOS (Kids Understanding Deployment Operations) mock deployment was held on Fort MacArthur, Aug. 18. Sixty-one children participated in this year's event.
The morning kicked off at 9 a.m. with the children processing through a deployment line. They were greeted by the 61st Mission Support Group's First Sergeant Master Sgt. Joseph Beaver who asked them readiness questions such as "Did you make your bed this morning?" and "Have you done everything your parents asked you to?" Other stations on the line consisted of personalized dog tag, camouflage T-shirt and bag and "government travel card issue;" simulated shots; and a chapel briefing. Give-away items were provided by local Army, Air Force and Coast Guard recruiters, and the base Health and Wellness Center.
Once through the line, the children proceeded to the briefing room where they were greeted by the 61st Air Base Wing Commander Colonel Joseph Schwarz. The colonel welcomed the group and discussed the important role their parents and other military members play in our national defense. He also talked about what they had experienced in the processing line and what was in store for the rest of the day.
The group then proceeded to the parade field where equipment and vehicles were on display. The participants also got a taste of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). A new addition this year was an obstacle course. The children were physically challenged by navigating around Bosu balls and performing a low plank walk, low crawl and frog jump.
Following a lunch of hot dogs, chips and drinks, they were ready to deploy on a humanitarian mission. Two buses, provided by the County of Los Angeles, transported them to nearby Cabrillo Beach. Once at the beach, the children armed with gloves and trash bags picked up debris. What would a day at the beach be without getting your feet wet! Water play was part of the deployment portion of the event. Once Cabrillo Beach was litter-free, the group prepared to return home.
The children returned to Mac Hall where they were "welcomed home" by family members who were cheering and holding signs. Colonel Nannette Benitez, 61st Mission Support Group commander, formally welcomed them home and presented to them with certificates of participation. The celebration concluded with music, cake and punch.