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Buckley youths "deploy"

A Buckley youth dines on the military’s finest, a meal ready to eat during a mock deployment Oct. 3.  The children who attended the deployment were able to taste MREs, dress in protective suits, drive a ordnance disposal robot and practice military first aid. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

A Buckley youth dines on the military’s finest, a meal ready to eat during a mock deployment Oct. 3. The children who attended the deployment were able to taste MREs, dress in protective suits, drive a ordnance disposal robot and practice military first aid. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Michaela and Austin Gromer  check out the stickers and goodies they received in their “deployment” bags during the Buckley Air Force Base youth mock deployment, Oct 3.  Though the deployment was Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event, it was truly joint as children from all four services, including active, guard and reserve, attended.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Michaela and Austin Gromer check out the stickers and goodies they received in their “deployment” bags during the Buckley Air Force Base youth mock deployment, Oct 3. Though the deployment was Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event, it was truly joint as children from all four services, including active, guard and reserve, attended. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Master Sgt. Joseph Siddall, 460th Medical Operations Squadron, a volunteer troop commander briefs his chalk during the Buckley Air Force Base Youth Mock Deployment, Oct 3.  Youths started the day with a deployment briefing in the base chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Master Sgt. Joseph Siddall, 460th Medical Operations Squadron, a volunteer troop commander briefs his chalk during the Buckley Air Force Base Youth Mock Deployment, Oct 3. Youths started the day with a deployment briefing in the base chapel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Army 1st Lt. Bryant Ronald, Helicopter Pilot, explains how the military uses helicopters during the Buckley Air Force Base Youth Mock Deployment, Oct 3.  This event was held to help children understand what their parents see and experience during a deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Army 1st Lt. Bryant Ronald, Helicopter Pilot, explains how the military uses helicopters during the Buckley Air Force Base Youth Mock Deployment, Oct 3. This event was held to help children understand what their parents see and experience during a deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Master Sgt. Joseph Siddall, 460th Medical Operations Squadron, a volunteer troop commander and Buckley Youth salute during reveille, Oct. 3 at Buckley. The day became still for the only quiet moment of the day, as all the children paid respect to the flag during a Mile High Honor Guard demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Master Sgt. Joseph Siddall, 460th Medical Operations Squadron, a volunteer troop commander and Buckley Youth salute during reveille, Oct. 3 at Buckley. The day became still for the only quiet moment of the day, as all the children paid respect to the flag during a Mile High Honor Guard demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

With the Wingman concept already grasped, Buckley youths assist each other with their protective suits during Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event Oct. 3.  Youths had the opportunity to try on protective suits, learn military first aid as well as tour helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

With the Wingman concept already grasped, Buckley youths assist each other with their protective suits during Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event Oct. 3. Youths had the opportunity to try on protective suits, learn military first aid as well as tour helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Senior Airman Erika Brooke, 460th Space Wing, a volunteer troop commander, helps one of her “Airmen” get into his protective gear during the Buckley Youth Mock Deployment Oct. 3.  The Youth Mock Deployment was Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Senior Airman Erika Brooke, 460th Space Wing, a volunteer troop commander, helps one of her “Airmen” get into his protective gear during the Buckley Youth Mock Deployment Oct. 3. The Youth Mock Deployment was Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Senior Airman Ricardo Rivera, 460th Security Forces Squadron, paints Alex Wilson’s face during the youth mock deployment Oct. 3. The 460th Security Forces Squadron also provided a military working dog demonstration for the 58 children who participated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

Senior Airman Ricardo Rivera, 460th Security Forces Squadron, paints Alex Wilson’s face during the youth mock deployment Oct. 3. The 460th Security Forces Squadron also provided a military working dog demonstration for the 58 children who participated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

A Buckley youth drives the explosive ordnance disposal robot in one of the several “hands on” events at Buckley’s Youth Mock Deployment Oct 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

A Buckley youth drives the explosive ordnance disposal robot in one of the several “hands on” events at Buckley’s Youth Mock Deployment Oct 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

A youth mock deployment participant attempts to play reveille during a Mile High Honor Guard demonstration Oct. 3.  58 children from the Buckley Air Force Base community “deployed” as part of Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event, a youth mock deployment.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)
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A youth mock deployment participant attempts to play reveille during a Mile High Honor Guard demonstration Oct. 3. 58 children from the Buckley Air Force Base community “deployed” as part of Buckley’s first “Year of the Air Force Family” event, a youth mock deployment.(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. J. LaVoie)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For its first "Year of the Family" event, Team Buckley "deployed" 58 children to Camp Rattlesnake on Buckley Air Force Base during the base's first youth mock deployment Oct. 3.

The mock deployment was an effort by the 460th Force Support Squadron to help Buckley youths adjust to having a parent deployed.

"With the on-going real-world deployment schedule, children have many questions about what happens when their parents are involved with a deployment or exercise," said Thomas Cox, 460th Force Support Squadron youth programs. "This program helped them understand what their parents encounter."

The children had the opportunity to take a tour of a Blackhawk and Chinook Helicopter, drive an explosive ordnance robot, learn military first aid, see an honor guard demonstration, dine on meals-ready-to-eat for lunch as well as other activities.

"I couldn't be happier. It was one of the best events in youth programs in over a year. I do believe the kids benefited," said Mr. Cox. "Several parents e-mailed saying children feel more comfortable with (deployments)."

Maj. Beth Peters, 460th FSS, whose son, age 9, attended the event, also believed the event went well.

"It was an awesome experience for him. He thoroughly enjoyed it," she said. "For me as a parent, it was good to let my son experience what I experienced while I was gone."

In the case of Major Peters, the event spawned further conversation about deployments with her son. Additionally, Military Family Life consultants were available throughout the day to address any concerns children had about deployments. The mock deployments went so well, the 460th FSS plans to make it an annual event.
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