All boots were on the ground recently as Operation Kids geared up for a day in the life at Luke Air Force Base. Children sampled military chow and were issued military IDs, and military gear. The mission was to take some of the mystery and fear out of the deployment process for kids with active duty parents.
Operation Kids is a simulation of what mommy and daddy go through when they’re deployed.
Operation Kids, held late last month, welcomed busloads of children ages 5-14 for an all day event at the base. The children spent the day living like service members – eating “chow” in the field, doing military drills, hiking, etc. They were divided into groups of pilots, mechanics, medical personnel, transportation – just like the different services their deployed military parents perform.
The “troops” were sent off to “battle” at the start of the day with a rousing speech given by General Scott L. Pleus, Luke AFB Commanding General, who spent the better part of the day participating in Operation Kids and was present to welcome the “troops” home at the end of the day. All activities were led by active military personnel!
Sun Lakes VFW Post 8053 Ladies Auxiliary sponsored a booth and provided drinks and snacks for all the kids, all families present and all of the Luke AFB military and civilian personnel who participated, and distributed a goody bag to each departing youth.
Michael Skinner was in charge of coordinating the event. He knew he could count on VFW based on past experiences. “When I went to Iraq a couple of years ago, our group went through the entire trip from Arizona to Bangor, Maine, unnoticed,” he explained. “But when we got off the plane, the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary met us with open arms. So I felt they were the best group to partner with.”