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Air Force kids learn what deployment is all about


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OGDEN -- When a member of the military gets deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or somewhere else, it's often a sad and difficult time for families.

Deployment can be especially hard on children, but Hill Air Force Base held a special program Wednesday to help kids understand what their military parents are going through.

Nearly 700 children took part in Wednesday's mock deployment. The students from Hill Field Elementary School experienced a kid-friendly "processing line" to teach them about military deployments.

Most of the youngsters have parents who are in the military, so for the past nine years, the Air Force base has put on this educational program. Except for the candy treats, the kids get to see exactly what mom or dad goes through as they prepare to head off to a war zone.

"What's happening in our world is affecting our children on a daily basis, and trying to shield them from it is not the way for us to deal with it. So, by doing this, we give the children the opportunity to see what's going on with their parents," explained Tech Sgt. Jennifer Lyon, with the Readiness NCOIC at Hill Air Force Base.

A normal deployment processing line will take up to four hours; the kids got an abbreviated version of about 45 minutes. Still, they had to complete an official checklist and make sure all the equipment fit properly.

Teachers at Hill Field Elementary say they see firsthand how many of their students struggle when one of their parents has to leave. They say this program really helps.

"So when their parents say they have to go through the lineup, the kids can say, ‘Oh, I know where you're going. I know what you're doing.' So the kids don't have a fear of what's going on," said third-grade teacher Rindi Berry.

It's a field trip to Hill Field that's helping kids understand a bit better what mom or dad goes through.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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