KUDOS program gives kids a taste of deployment

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The 726th Air Control Squadron hosted the families of currently deployed airmen for a Kids Understanding Deployment Operations day, known as “KUDOS” Oct. 21, here.

With their parents being deployed, this event helped teach the kids what their parents do while downrange.

“You could hear some of the kids say, ‘that’s what my daddy does,’” said Master Sgt. Martin Castillo, 726th ACS 1st sergeant. “Just seeing the kids connect with what their parents do is what made this event so great.”

The event gave children a chance to walk through a simulated deployment line to see what their parents experience before deploying and understand why they have to be away from them.

The deployment line included a mission brief, going through finance, medical, Meals Ready to Eat tasting and an obstacle course.

Perhaps the most significant activity for these families was when the children had a chance to get their pictures taken. What the kids didn’t realize was their pictures were going to be put on a pillowcase and sent to their deployed parents. Additionally, the children received a pillowcase in their goodie bags with a picture of their parent to take home.

“My son on the last deployment, he slept with that thing every night.” said Jennifer Thorsen, a key spouse involved in setting up and running the event. “It didn’t matter if it was dirty or not, he loved it.”

With the success of the event, the 726th plans to make KUDOS a recurring program for future deployments down the line.