A Simulated Deployment Experience for Children, 6-15 Years Old
Next month (October) Operation Kids will gear up for a day in the life at Luke Air Force Base. Children will sample military chow and will be issued military IDs. The mission: 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,” said assistant Arizona MAP chairman Vincent “Vinny” Rigo.
When: Saturday, October 25, 8am – 3pm
Where: Team Luke & Camp Thunderbolt, Bldg. 400 & ATSO
Registration: Oct. 4th, 9am-1pm, Oct. 8th 9am-2pm, Oct. 15th, 8am-Noon @ A&FRC, Bldg. 1113
• Priority given to children who have a parent currently or projected to deploy •
Operation Kids in 2012, welcomed four buses of children ages 5-14 for an all day event at the base. The children spent the day living like service members. Rigo and his Post, Pat Tillman Memorial Post 40, Avondale, Ariz., were asked by Luke Air Force Base to partner with them to host Operation Kids. Similar programs had been held at other bases, but Luke Air Force Base wanted the help of the VFW. Members of VFW Post 40 applied for a MAP grant and helped secure the remaining funding for the event through fundraising.Members of the Ladies Auxiliary spent two days stuffing gift bags filled with VFW rulers, pencils and folders describing the VFW’s scholarship opportunities.
Tech. Sgt. 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. “There was a lot of positive reaction to Operation Kids on the base,” Rigo said. “They didn’t know the VFW did things like this.”