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Operation JET deploys base youths

By Lilly Flores-Janecek | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Aug. 17, 2007

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — When Tech. Sgt. Greg Fox from the 37th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Lackland AFB deploys in a few weeks, his 10-year-old son Zack will have a true grasp of the process leading up to his father's departure, thanks to Operation JET.

The young man was among 167 Team Lackland children who participated in a mock deployment program called Operation JET, or Junior Expeditionary Team, at Kelly Field Annex Aug. 10.

"I understand what they have to do now," said Zack Fox. "I know it's hard for them, but I had fun today, especially holding the guns."

The participants also went through a deployment line for briefings, finance information, immunizations and chapel services.

At the fictional Camp Independence, the children were exposed to gas masks, artillery, snakes that could be encountered on some missions and aircrafts.

"It's pretty cool actually. You get to do different stuff like what your parents did. It's kinda cool," said 10-year-old Cameron Johnson.

A few community leaders who helped sponsor the event that cost about $3,000 also participated in Operation JET.

"The idea of helping children understand and experience what their parents do when they are deployed is very important," said Barbara Gentry, USAA senior vice president of community affairs and new honorary wing commander. "They say deployment impacts us also. So we were very happy to work together with groups that put this on today."

Tech. Sgt. Dan Krautheim, 37th Mission Support Squadron family readiness NCO, who coordinated the event, said several Team Lackland members were involved in the project, including the Airman and Family Readiness Flight, 37th Services Division, 37th Security Forces Squadron, 59th Medical Readiness Field Hospital, 342nd Training Squadron, 37th Civil Engineer Squadron, the Base Fire Department, 319th TRS and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy.