Children of the 126th answer the call to duty for a day

  • Published
  • By Mr. Travis Barker
  • 126th Family Program Coordinator
This past June, children of the 126th Air Refueling Wing got to participate in an annual event called, "Kids on Guard." It was the sixth annual Kids on Guard Day, and it continues to be a favorite every year. What originally began as a simple "bring your kids to work day" has blossomed into a full day of events and activities for children ages 5-18. This year the Wing had 108 children participate. Children were placed into age appropriate flights and each child was issued a brightly colored shirt to identify their specific flight. Participants processed the Personnel Deployment Function (PDF) where they registered, received a Kids on Guard ID card, Operation Military Kid dog tags, and a water bottle to carry during the day.

After the PDF, kids were introduced to their troop commanders who would safely walk them from station to station within the 126 ARW compound. First stops included all participants and consisted of a group photo at the KC-135 static display and a military working dog demonstration by Security Forces personnel. After these initial stops, flights were split and each followed their respective schedules to take them through the remainder of the day. Activities included Medical Readiness, Civil Engineering/Fire Department, various Security Forces displays and activities, a military confidence course, and a tour of a KC-135. In addition to the regular activities, all children nine years old and older got the rare opportunity to take off and land a KC-135 in the flight simulator.

For lunch, the children were treated by a fantastic group of volunteers from the USO Mobile Operations team. The USO provided food and drinks for all participants and volunteers. The kids were also given fun animal patterned sunglasses that were worn by many throughout the day. The capstone of the day, as it has been every year, was to plant a new tree. This year was a special year as two trees were planted in front of the new deployment processing center slated to begin operations this August.

At the end of their "deployment," the children all received bags with information about Operation Military Kid Camp opportunities and a lot of educational military information and family booklets. Participants received age-specific books donated by Operation Homefront. The children were able to immerse themselves in the Wing to learn, meet new friends, and have fun. Kids on Guard made it possible for each child to see what their parents do and learn about the mission of the 126th Air Refueling Wing. The weather was perfect, the kids had a great time, and hopefully they all learned something new - all in a day's work!