HomeNewsArticle Display

Buckley's youth get a taste of deployment

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child gets his haircut at the beginning of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  This event ran the children through a shortened Basic Military Training and a simulated deployment.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child gets his haircut at the beginning of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. This event ran the children through a shortened Basic Military Training and a simulated deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Two children practice hand-to-hand combatives during the Basic Military Training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The event focused on providing the children with an opportunity to experience a simulated deployment.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Two children practice hand-to-hand combatives during the Basic Military Training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The event focused on providing the children with an opportunity to experience a simulated deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child crawls under simulated razor wire during the Basic Military Training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The event looked to promote teamwork, fitness and friendship to those who participated, according to Master Sgt. Michael Areniego, a volunteer chalk leader from the 460th Security Forces Squadron.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child crawls under simulated barbed wire during the Basic Military Training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The event looked to promote teamwork, fitness and friendship to those who participated, according to Master Sgt. Michael Areniego, a volunteer chalk leader from the 460th Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child is struck with amazement by a diagram during the technical training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The children were broken down into seprate jobs in order to complete thier primary mission later that day.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child is struck with amazement by a diagram during the technical training portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The children were broken down into separate jobs in order to complete their primary mission later that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child scouts ahead in order to protect her teammates during the mission portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The children were required to maintain thier own security forces while they attempted to secure each of thier many objectives.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child scouts ahead in order to protect her teammates during the mission portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The children were required to maintain their own security forces while they attempted to secure each of their many objectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child apprehends a "terrorist" after an ambush and intense firefight during the mission portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The children used water guns and water ballons to defend themselves while on the course.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A child apprehends a "terrorist" after an ambush and intense firefight during the mission portion of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The children used water guns and water ballons to defend themselves while on the course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A little girl holds up her handmade sign to welcome home her big sister at the end of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012.  The children who participated, completed a shortened Basic Military Training and a simulated deployment by the time they returned home.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A little girl holds up her handmade sign to welcome home her big sister at the end of Operation Future Forces Aug. 4, 2012. The children who participated, completed a shortened Basic Military Training and a simulated deployment by the time they returned home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Dressed in camo hats and colored bandannas, Team Buckley's youth listened closely as their chalk leaders barked out orders. The children were about to get a taste of the military life their parents experienced, starting with basic training.

First things first, the military-style haircut, a no-guard buzz cut that would end with all the males looking the same. A young boy from the crowd volunteered to undertake this rite of passage and hopped excitedly into the barber's chairs. As the clippers began taking chunks out of the boy's blonde hair, his smile slowly melted into a grimace as the realization of what was happening set in. All the other youth looked on, thankful it wasn't them in the barber's chair, but well aware that their day was just beginning.

The Buckley Youth Center hosted Operation Future Forces Aug. 4 to simulate the military experience and give them a taste of what a deployment is like.

"We want to give these kids an understanding of what their parents go through in the military," explained Lance Ellis, the event coordinator. "It really helps them build that connection to their family."

Team Buckley's youth got a chance to experience a shortened Basic Military Training, complete with volunteer drill instructors. They had to complete hand-to-hand combative training and obstacle course races, all while helping each other finish the events.

After the basic training portion of the day, the children boarded buses to deploy to Camp Rattlesnake, a simulated deployed location in the imaginary country of "Bucklistan".

"We want them to experience what we do in the military," said Airman 1st Class Kavin Lovelace, a volunteer chalk leader from the 460th Force Support Squadron. "Today they get the full feel of what we go through."

Once out in the field the kids were broken down into different jobs and sent to technical training school, just as many of their parents had done before them. There were medics, security forces, navigation, communication and combat journalist; all of them playing a vital role in the overall mission success.

"We bring these kids out here to promote teamwork, fitness and friendship," said Master Sgt. Michael Areniego, a volunteer chalk leader from the 460th Security Forces Squadron. "It gets them out of the house and is good for the base."

Buckley's youth then returned to their initial chalks, now filled to the brim with a multitude of little trained warriors, and loaded up into a two and a half ton cargo truck to set out on their primary mission. Driven a mile and a half away from Camp Rattlesnake and dropped with only their equipment and recent training, now the real challenge would begin.

The children had to overcome multiple objectives during their mission outside the fence.  First they had to decode a secret message before proceeding through a simulated minefield. Once cleared, they had to fend off a terrorist ambush in a water gun fight and secure their newly acquired prisoners. After that was complete, the children worked to disarm a bomb using only the diagrams available to them and then moved onto providing first aid wounded civilians. The final objective seemed to be the favorite one of the day, a simulated M-16 firing range using paintball guns.

"My favorite part was shooting the paintball guns," said Cord Bartlett, a participant in Operation Future Forces. "It was a lot of fun!"

Now with their mission complete, the children boarded the bus and prepared to return home from their deployment. Their parents waited at the youth center with "welcome home" signs and open arms ready to greet their little deployed warriors. As the bus pulled up and opened its doors, the kids jumped from the bus and rushed to the arms of their waiting parents. Cheers echoed across the youth center lawn and hugs engulfed the children, they were home and their day was done.

"I am very proud of him," said Maj. Kate McShane, Bartlett's mother from the 460th Medical Group. "He tried things today that he has never done before and has conquered his fears."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.