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.