MacDill AFB students prepare for family deployments

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE - 76 fifth graders from MacDill Air Force Base's General Clarence Tinker Elementary found out what deployment really means for them and their families Tuesday morning.

They were walked through a mock deployment preparation service, led by servicemen.

They were briefed on Qatar, where they would presumably be headed, found out what kind of equipment they needed, and learned all about the service.

Most of them in a show of hands have seen one or both of their parents deployed at one time or another.

10 year-old Jack Martin knows first hand.

"It's pretty tough, I can't see them from six months to a year. It's tough without them being here," he said.

His classmate 11 year-old Gabrielle Greenley said he father is currently in South Korea.

It wasn't fun because most of the stuff that I did was really with him. That all went away so I have to do most of my time with my mom and my sister," she said.

Vice Commander of MacDill, Kelley Martin says the toughest job for her service members is trying to maintain a family.

"They put up with deployments, they put up with long hours, they put up with so much, and we ask them for so much, and in many regards its thankless," Martin says.

And while a lot of our troops are beginning to head home, a deployment is one neither the kids or their loved ones want to go through.

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