Operation Hero returns March 4

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Farrar
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The Keesler Military and Family Readiness Center is planning Operation Hero, a deployment simulation event for children of military members, March 4. The experience allows military families to better understand the deployment process and gain knowledge about agencies and other resources available to them.

Tech. Sgt. Shelton Sherrill, 403rd Force Support Squadron Military & Family Readiness non-commissioned officer, is among those organizing the event.

"Children will have the chance to go through a deployment line with paperwork getting signed, medical forms, getting qualified on certain training, and other simulations," said Sherrill.

Representatives from the 403rd Wing and the 81st Training Wing will process children through an administrative line, similar to a deployment line. The event includes professionals from logistics, personnel records, medical, dental, legal and Wing leadership.

After the children go through the line, they will be transported to the flightline to tour a 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron C-130J aircraft as a static display.

“They will actually get to go on the aircraft as if they were deploying,” said Sherrill. “When they exit the aircraft, children will be greeted with ‘welcome home’ signs held by family members to simulate returning from a deployment.”

Following the deployment simulation, the event will feature music, a bounce house, an 81st Security Forces Squadron K-9 demonstration, local Police department vehicles, an 81st Civil Engineer Squadron fire truck, an obstacle course, and other activities.

The event also includes lunch, T-shirts, and gift bags for participants, but Patricia Jackson, director of the 403rd Wing Military & Family Readiness Center, says there’s something more valuable than free stuff.

“We want kids to get the experience to start a dialogue with their parents because they can ask their parents questions,” she said. “Dialogue is the best thing that we want them to get from this event.”

Operation Hero is March 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility.  Airmen interested in registering children and family members for the event can reach Jackson at 228-376-8253 or by email at Patricia.Jackson.11@us.af.mil for more information.