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Ellsworth Celebrates Month of Military Child

Airman 1st Class George Green, an explosive ordinance disposal technician assigned to the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron, congratulates children participating in the Kid’s Deployment Line at the deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. The Kids Deployment Line was a part of the Month of the Military Child, and was planned by the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Airman 1st Class George Green, an explosive ordinance disposal technician assigned to the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron, congratulates children participating in the Kid’s Deployment Line at the deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. The Kids Deployment Line was a part of the Month of the Military Child, and was planned by the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Youth Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Tech. Sgt. Huy Nguyen, right, a senior weapons system controller assigned to the 28th Maintenance Group, and his family welcome his son back from the deployment center during the Kid’s Deployment Line event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. This is the first time the Nguyens have participated in this event with their oldest son, Kyle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Tech. Sgt. Huy Nguyen, right, a senior weapons system controller assigned to the 28th Maintenance Group, and his family welcome his son back from the deployment center during the Kid’s Deployment Line event at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. This is the first time the Nguyens have participated in this event with their oldest son, Kyle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Master Sgt. Jason Cast, the first sergeant assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, places children into a formation before they enter the deployment center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. Cast marched the groups of children participating in the Kid’s Deployment Line to and from the deployment center to simulate being deployed.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Master Sgt. Jason Cast, the first sergeant assigned to the 28th Security Forces Squadron, places children into a formation before they enter the deployment center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. Cast marched the groups of children participating in the Kid’s Deployment Line to and from the deployment center to simulate being deployed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Airmen from the 28th Security Forces Squadron let children fight them with a foam baton during the Kid’s Deployment Line at the deployment center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. The event was part of the Month of the Military Child, a Department of Defense initiative dedicated to recognizing and giving thanks to the children of U.S. military members for their courage and support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Airmen from the 28th Security Forces Squadron let children fight them with a foam baton during the Kid’s Deployment Line at the deployment center on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. The event was part of the Month of the Military Child, a Department of Defense initiative dedicated to recognizing and giving thanks to the children of U.S. military members for their courage and support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Airman 1st Class Deja Hunter, an aircrew flight equipment specialist assigned to the 28th Operations Support Squadron, paints the nose of a child going through the Kid’s Deployment Line at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. Airmen from the 28th OSS painted faces and brought flight equipment for children to try on and use. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

Airman 1st Class Deja Hunter, an aircrew flight equipment specialist assigned to the 28th Operations Support Squadron, paints the nose of a child going through the Kid’s Deployment Line at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 8, 2017. Airmen from the 28th OSS painted faces and brought flight equipment for children to try on and use. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Nicolas Z. Erwin)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --

Approximately 65 children of Ellsworth’s servicemembers participated in a kid’s deployment line as part of Month of the Military Child, April 8, 2017.

In 1986, the Department of Defense designated April as the Month of the Military Child in an effort to recognize and give thanks for the courage and support of the children of U.S. military members.

There are approximately 1,100 children at Ellsworth, and once a year the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Youth Center on base organize a miniature deployment line in the deployment center for children to gain a better understanding of what their parents may go through when they prepare to deploy.

Participants were divided into groups, or chalks, and went on a simulated deployment processing line at the base deployment center, they were also provided with their own gear like water packs, war paint and a backpack.

“As the children go through the deployment line, instead of paperwork, they got toys and candy,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Thomas, the NCO in charge of the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Ellsworth. “Everyone had their own thing to give to the kids as they went through the deployment line. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians, firefighters and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists were there for some interactive things that show when their parents are deployed, it isn’t the worst thing out there.”

When the children’s “deployment” came to an end, they returned to the Pride Hangar to find their families with posters welcoming them home.

“It may not last long, but they get so excited because it’s like they came home for real,” Thomas said.

 “This awesome event helps my son understand what I may go through when I deploy,” said Tech. Sgt. Huy Nyguen, a senior weapons system controller assigned to the 28th Maintenance Group. “Seeing Kyle get so excited to go through this [deployment line] was the best part. The entire event really let my son learn and have fun doing what dad does when I go away.”

For more information about Month of the Military Child, call the Airman & Family Readiness Center at (605) 385-4663 or the Child Development Center at (605) 385-2488.