Military News

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Army’s Army Hosts “Special Friends Ops” for Children of Fallen Soldiers

Kid-friendly military boot camp to take place at Fort Bragg’s Camp Mackall

Fayetteville, NC – December 6, 2011 – Children of fallen soldiers in Fayetteville/Cumberland County, NC, will get to enjoy an all-day military boot camp on Saturday, December 17, 2011. “Special Friends Ops” is being presented by the Army’s Army in conjunction with Fort Bragg’s Survivor Outreach Services and the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) program. Organizers are expecting at least 50 children and their families to take part in this unique, interactive event, where they will learn wilderness survival skills and have the opportunity to bond with each other and with other survivor families.

When a soldier is killed in the line of duty, the families left behind often have a difficult time coping and feel isolated from what had become their military family. Fort Bragg’s Survivor Outreach Services is dedicated to advocating on behalf of these families and reassuring them that they are a part of the Army Family for as long as they like.

The children of the fallen are a very, very special group of kids that we believe we can help,” said Janine West, Executive Director of the Army’s Army. “We hope our Special Friends Ops event for them is just the first of many to come.”

Special Friends Ops will be led by SERE instructor Gordon Smith, who spent 26 years in the Special Forces.

The SERE program provides Special Operations soldiers, including Special Forces candidates, Civil Affairs, Military Information Support and Special Operations aviators and crew, with training in survival, evasion escape and the Code of Conduct. Special Forces students train at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School for up to two years to become qualified to join Special Forces. SERE is one of the steps in this rigorous training.

Children attending Special Friends Ops will enjoy a day of interactive instruction and outdoor adventures. They will learn things like how to build a shelter out of surroundings in the woods, how to start a fire without matches, how to purify water, how to identify poisonous wildlife and primitive cooking techniques. Event sponsor and Army’s Army partner Outback Steakhouse will serve lunch and provide giveaways.

“Fort Bragg is committed to supporting our surviving families,” said Amy Melendez, Support Coordinator for Survivor Outreach Services. “We hope this event will allow children of the fallen and their families to relax and grow closer with one another, as well as with other survivors.”

Special Friends Ops will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on December 17 at Camp Mackall. There is no charge to participate. Families of the fallen interested in participating can RSVP to Amy Melendez at (910) 396-0384 or amy.melendez@us.army.mil. Questions about the event can be directed to Janine West at (910) 709-9671 or jlwest@armysarmy.com. For more information on the Army’s Army, visit www.armysarmy.com or www.brieffromthefront.com.

About The Army’s Army:
Fayetteville/Cumberland County is America’s first sanctuary community for the Military and their Families. The Army’s Army is the world’s only volunteer organization of citizens and businesses who have pledged their moral, physical and spiritual support to those in the military. We do everything we can to make soldiers, veterans and their families feel welcome, appreciated and safe. The Army’s Army is dedicated to “watching over those who watch over us©.” For additional information, visit www.armysarmy.com.

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