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Dover Base Children Learn About Parent Deployments

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Having a parent deploy can be very difficult for children of military families. Wednesday Dover Air Force Base tried to make that a little easier on the kids of base personnel.

The base's Mission Support Group hosted the annual event called KUDOS and TUDOS. That stands for kids (and teachers) understanding deployment operations. Along with teachers from the base schools, air force kids get a chance to see what its like for their parents as they prepare to deploy.

Kids at KUDOS and TUDOS got many different experiences similar to what their parents have.

Ashlynn Phillips is 10 years old. Her father, Lt. Col. Michael Phillips, is deputy commander of the Mission Support Group.

"It's fun. I enjoy coming here, because my dad is in the military. I like to see what he gets to do," she said. "We've been trying on gear, and we've been looking at the guns."

Her mother, Kerry Phillips, says the goal here goes beyond fun.

"At the moment it's more about being fun. But they've at least experienced some of the things for later, for when there's an actual deployment. They understand it a little better," she said.

And this year the base has added some focus on social media - explaining to kids what they can and can't say about an actual deployment online.

"You can't say where your parents are going, when, how many - to keep them safe and to keep their parents safe overseas," Sgt. Nicole Hawley, who helped organize the event, said. "You never know who is listening."

Ashlynn says it can be tough when her father deploys.

"It worries me, because he's gone for a while. I don't get to see him."

But events like this help her and hopefully all of the kids participating.

In addition to the mock deployment, the event also is an opportunity for kids to get back to school supplies. Base schools start the new year on Monday in Dover.    

The teachers - the TUDOS part of the event - learn from it what it's like for the kids when a parent deploys. That can help the teachers open up a dialogue with a student whose parent is heading overseas.

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