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Goodfellow hosts local youth for annual Operation K.I.D.S.

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Harris Hillstead
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The 17th Training Wing hosted Operation K.I.D.S. (Kids Investigating Deployment Services), an annual immersive experience aimed at providing local youth with a glimpse into the life of a military deployment, April 27.

Over 120 children attended Operation K.I.D.S., an all-day experience where families, specifically local and military children, can get an inside look at what a deploying member goes through before, during and upon return from a deployment.

“Op K.I.D.S. is a fantastic event that not only lets the local community on the base to see what we do here at Goodfellow,” said Master Sgt. Eric Knepper, Operation K.I.D.S. event coordinator. “But it is also a very cool opportunity to show these kids what their parents go through during the deployment process to help dispel fear and some unknowns that the kids may experience during their loved one’s deployment.”

The event began with thorough pre-deployment preparation, where the participating youth were briefed on the mission objectives and equipped with essential gear such as identification tags, canteens and all necessary documents. Under the guidance of Goodfellow volunteers, the children learned about the importance of readiness and preparation during the first phase of Operation K.I.D.S.

The next phase of the event was the deployment portion, which simulated life at Forward Operating Base Sentinel. The children experienced some of what deployed life can be like, including fighting a simulated aircraft fire, learning the basics of hand-to-hand combat, first aid, simulated weapons training and riding in a humvee. In addition to all of these activities, the children also participated in a foam dart gun battle, allowing them to put some of their newly learned skills to the test and learned some of the vital roles that K-9 units play in ensuring the safety and security of deployed personnel with a military working dog demonstration.

In the final phase of Operation K.I.D.S., the children returned home from their simulated deployment, greeted by their parents with pride and cheers. The event not only provided an educational experience for attendees but also served as a reminder of the sacrifices made by military families during deployments.

“This is an important event for a few reasons,” said Col. Timothy Dalby, 17th Mission Support Group commander. “We send joint service members on deployments every year, and events like this help start family conversations, build family resiliency and introduce their kids to the helping agencies for families of deployed service members.”