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Kudos for Operation KUDOS

Staff Sgt. Henry Edwards, 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, answers questions during a K-9 demonstration, Nov. 25, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Kids Understanding Deployment Operations demonstrated the phases of the deployment process, such as pre-deployment, sustainment and reintegration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

Staff Sgt. Henry Edwards, 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer, answers questions during a K-9 demonstration, Nov. 25, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Kids Understanding Deployment Operations demonstrated the phases of the deployment process, such as pre-deployment, sustainment and reintegration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Robert J. Volio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg recently held an event aiming to help children understand what their parents experience when they deploy, on Nov. 25.

Kids Understanding Deployment Operations demonstrated the phases of the deployment process, such as pre-deployment, sustainment and reintegration.

"Operation KUDOS is important because it puts focus on children to give them an understanding of the deployment process and the diverse career fields that make up the process," said Tech. Sgt. Brittany Spoutz, 30th Force Support Squadron readiness noncommissioned officer. "The goal is to help children understand what their parents experience, so then they can have more detailed conversations about deployments and family separations."

The children received a pre-deployment brief before splitting up into six groups, obtaining their orders and getting on a bus to depart for Cocheo Park. Upon arrival, the children received a mission brief from Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander. Afterwards, the six groups separated and took turns at each deployment station to learn the different downrange missions.

"The whole process shows the kids that deployments affect the entire family," said Spoutz. "Operation KUDOS also showed them that it takes a great effort from many people and organizations to ensure the mission is executed."

Once the stations were completed, the deployed children were treated to a K-9 demonstration. During the demonstration, a volunteer was selected from the audience to place simulated contraband into one of several bags, which would then be found by the military working dog.

"It's important for the children to understand the role that military working dogs and their handlers play in protecting their parents while they're deployed," said Staff Sgt. Henry Edwards, 30th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer. "By showcasing some of the different things that we're able to do, hopefully the children feel that their parents will return home safely at the end of their deployment."

Finally, each child had the opportunity to partake in an obstacle course that incorporated running, crawling, climbing, jumping and balancing. The deployed children were rewarded with a barbecue at the finish line.

"Children were able to be part of a team throughout the entire event," said Spoutz. "We wanted to teach them teamwork and to understand how important it is to have good battle buddies."