Operation HERO: A day in the deployed life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The Military Family and Readiness Center hosted Operation HERO, an interactive and educational mock deployment for military families, on the flightline at Keesler, March 4.

Over the years that Keesler has hosted Operation HERO, the goal of the event has been to educate military families on their resources.

“Back when I deployed in 2017 my kids went through this event,” said Master Sgt. Derek Cameron, 81st Force Support Squadron readiness NCO. “They were three and five years old, but they still remember it and talk about what they learned.”

Military families first walked through a mock pre-deployment fulfillment line and then interacted with expeditionary environment displays like the military working dogs, patrol vehicles, a Marine obstacle course, the Biloxi bomb squad and a C-103J Super Hercules static display. After the PDF line they proceeded to the reintegration area where support agencies like the chaplain corps, military and family readiness and health promotions briefed the families on how they support service members after deployment.

The event provided an opportunity for military families from the 81st Training Wing and 403rd Wing to network, exchange information and learn more about what deployed life can be like.

“It creates a bond between military kids and their serving parents,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Stearns, 81st FSS readiness NCO. “It can give them something to talk about in school, with their friends and creates an understanding of what’s happening when their parent is gone for long periods of time.”