435th Air Ground Operations Wing provide 'boot camp' for youngest warfighters
VILSECK, Germany — April is the "Month of the Military Child" across the Department of Defense, and for a high-speed group of airmen stationed in Eastern Germany that meant it was time to go back to boot camp, this time at the local child development center.
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children read a map during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service members' children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
4 photos: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children read a map during the child develo
Photo 1 of 4: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children read a map during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service members' children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter) Download full-resolution version
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Crabill, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, leads a group of children on a run during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
4 photos: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Crabill, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, leads a group of children on a run during the child developmen
Photo 2 of 4: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Crabill, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, leads a group of children on a run during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter) Download full-resolution version
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Truman Smith, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children figure out a land navigation clue during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
4 photos: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Truman Smith, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children figure out a land navigation clue during
Photo 3 of 4: VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Truman Smith, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children figure out a land navigation clue during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter) Download full-resolution version
VILSECK, Germany — Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, has a captivated audience as he shows children his special watch and other tools he uses for his job during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
4 photos: VILSECK, Germany — Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, has a captivated audience as he shows children his special watch and o
Photo 4 of 4: VILSECK, Germany — Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, has a captivated audience as he shows children his special watch and other tools he uses for his job during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter) Download full-resolution version
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children read a map during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service members' children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Crabill, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, leads a group of children on a run during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child.(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
VILSECK, Germany — Air Force Senior Airman Truman Smith, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, helps a group of children figure out a land navigation clue during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)
VILSECK, Germany — Senior Airman Joseph Schermetzkr, 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron Tactical Air Control Party member, has a captivated audience as he shows children his special watch and other tools he uses for his job during the child development center's "Boot Camp Week" at Rose Barracks, Vilseck Military Community, Germany, April 7. Members of the squadron participated in the "Boot Camp Week" which gave service member's children an opportunity to experience some military norms such as physical training, first aid, land navigation and tactical vehicle familarization in support of the Department of Defense's Month of the Military Child. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tony R. Ritter)

VILSECK, Germany — April is the "Month of the Military Child" across the Department of Defense, and for a high-speed group of airmen stationed in Eastern Germany that meant it was time to go back to boot camp, this time at the local child development center.

Tactical air control party members whose normal mission is to direct combat aircraft onto enemy targets in a combat zone took time out of their rigorous training schedule to volunteer several hours April 5-8 to put on a "Boot Camp Week" for the children at the CDC on Rose Barracks.

These members of the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron, stationed in the Vilseck Military Community are a geographically separated unit belonging to Ramstein's 435th Air Ground Operations Wing. The TACPs' latest mission was to facilitate and assist with the three to five year old's training schedule which involved physical training, first aid, land navigation, tactical vehicle familiarization and even a graduation ceremony.

"The CDC director called the squadron and asked us if we'd be interested in getting involved with this year's boot camp, so of course we jumped at the opportunity to support some of local kids," said Staff Sgt. Andrea Byers, 2nd ASOS knowledge operator. "We started on Monday, getting the kids involved with some PT which included stretching, jumping jacks, push-ups, and even some running."

The 2nd ASOS team mapped out a land navigation course using colorful maps and hidden camouflage eggs with helpful clues inside. They also helped to bring in various military vehicles for the kids to explore and get an idea of some of the equipment their military parents might work with on a daily basis.

"We thought this Boot Camp Week would be a wonderful opportunity for our kids to gain more awareness of what mommy and daddy are doing everyday when their away from home," said Hilsi Gomez, Rose Barracks CDC director. "With the service members' busy schedule and an increasing number of deployments, this is just one more way to help our children feel more connected with that military parent and more a part of their life."

This is exactly what the month of the military child is all about -- recognizing the sacrifices made by some of the smallest in stature, yet biggest military supporters.

And for the group of the airmen involved, many of them had no children of their own, but quickly discovered the unique challenges and joy of working with kids.

"I was excited to volunteer for this week and, as I have no kids of my own, I was a little surprised at how challenging it could be to train with three to five year olds." said Senior Airman Truman Smith, 2nd ASOS TACP. "It's been a great experience interacting with them. There have been plenty of laughs, lots of fun and hopefully they even learned a few things along the way."
 

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