by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
4/13/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The
deployment process for most Airmen on McChord Field is routine. They
proceed through the deployment processing line, get their equipment
issued, are verified current on all of their records and then start
their journey off to their deployed location.
Statistics show that military members with families often struggle
during the deployment, especially when it is the first time Mom or Dad
are gone for that long.
In an effort to help JBLM families understand the deployment process and
to help with that struggle, JBLM hosted the Kids Understanding
Deployment Operations event, April 11 at McChord Field.
More than 200 children, ages 5-12, of Soldiers and Airmen participated
in the KUDOs event in which they processed through the deployment line,
got equipment and gear issued to them, boarded a bus and transported to
and back from a special deployment location on McChord Field.
Five different chalks, groups of children, processed through the
deployment processing line in which they received helmets, dog tags,
t-shirts, special paperwork military members receive on deployments,
water bottles and other equipment.
From there the children, by themselves and without their parents,
boarded a military 44-passenger bus and were transported to their
special deployed location, which was Hangar 9 on McChord Field.
Once off the bus, they were greeted by Col. Chuck Hodges, JBLM
installation commander, who welcomed them to their deployed location and
gave them a small brief on what to expect.
Immediately inside the hangar the first thing they did was to get camo
paint on their faces, from there they went to different statics around
the hangar which included explosive ordinance disposal, the 22nd Special
Tactics Squadron, a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and the JBLM Fire
While in the hangar they had a chance to watch a small K-9 dog demonstration and participate in a bag drag race as well.
To finish off their process, volunteers served them a free lunch from the Pacific Northwest United Service Organizations.
As they finished their meals and right before boarding the bus to depart
their deployed location, they were met by Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd
Airlift Wing commander, who thanked them for their service and for being
a part of this deployment process. He presented each of them with a
small doll that they could use when their Mom or Dad deployed in the
The buses then drove them back to the deployment processing line and the
children were met by their parents who greeted them with welcome home
signs as if the children were returning from a true deployed location.
"This event was a huge success and we met our goal in helping children
understanding what their parents go through when they deploy," said Tech
Sgt. Nalopa Hansen, KUDOs lead coordinator. "This was a great event for
the first time here at JBLM and we look forward to when we can do this