Heroes of Tomorrow

Written by: Senior Airman Caleb S. Kimmell, Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Bell, 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs augmentee, teaches kids how to capture imagery and edit footage during Operation Hero at the Community Complex Center at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Jan. 20, 2023.

Team Minot families and their children rallied at Minot AFB’s Combined Community Complex Jan. 20 to learn about a variety of Air Force career fields as part of an event called Operation Hero. Airmen from 20 different agencies within the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing showcased their duties, conducted demonstrations, and provided interactive experiences to 210 participants.

Volunteers representing the career fields in attendance educated family members on their daily responsibilities, workplace challenges, and how they support the overall mission.

The event was led by Master Sgt. Christian Bird, 5th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of the Military and Family Readiness Center. He showed his commitment to Operation Hero as he went booth to booth helping every participant.
“Operation Hero is an event focused on military children,” said Bird. “We focused on how to interact with children so they can experience what their parents do, so the kids can be heroes themselves.”

Airmen representing 20 Air Force specialties were present at Operation Hero. The Air Force offers more than 130 enlisted career choices in four specific aptitude areas—electronics, mechanical, administrative, and general.

“We’re showing the kids what we do with all this equipment,” said Airman 1st Class Joshua Kennedy, 5th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmissions systems specialist. “It’s important to share what we do, that way we can try to pass on what we know to other people who may be joining the career field.”

The Airmen who participated in Operation Hero were thrilled to have the opportunity to share their career with families from the base. Security Forces Airmen from both wings equipped children in helmets and body armor while elaborating on the tools they use every day. Services Airmen assigned to the 5th FSS provided materials to decorate desserts while children learned about healthy eating habits. Military Working Dog handlers showcased the capability of their canine counterparts with a bite attacker scenario. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen assigned to the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron let children wear a bomb suit helmet while operating a remotely piloted bomb defusing robot.

“I like doing these because I like to teach people what I know,” said Senior Airman Libio Rodriguez, 5th CES EOD apprentice. “I get to show off my tools, what I’ve learned, and how awesome this career can be.”

Operation Hero educated families about the different careers in the Air Force. The event aimed to teach families and their children about the many different paths they can take if they want to pursue a career in the Air Force.
“It’s a lot of work, but the reward is seeing the smile on the kids’ faces and hearing comments from the parents saying, ‘Thank you,’” said Bird. “Our job as FSS and the MFRC is to take care of families.”

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