HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Grade-school children put on their parents' combat boots Monday for Hill Air Force Base's annual "Kids Deployment Day."
More than 700 military children from the Top of Utah went through the rigors of a deployment processing line, doing the same things their parents do when answering the call of duty.
Children from Hill Field Elementary School were given a field trip to the base Monday morning and early afternoon, while children from other schools across the Top of Utah participated later Monday night.
All of the students, except for a handful from Hill Field, has either a mother or father serving active duty in the Air Force.
The children, ranging from kindergartners to sixth-graders, received dog tag issues, gas mask fittings and aircraft tours.
The children also enjoyed military working-dog demos and entomology exhibits, all of which helped them see exactly what their loved ones would likely encounter while deployed.
"This really is a hands-on way for these kids to experience what their parents go through," said Master Sgt. Terri Davis, one of the event's organizers.
"It gives them a better idea of what exactly Mom and Dad do for a living."
Davis said the mock deployment was hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, and not only gives children a chance to see what military members experience right before they deploy, but also educates them on how to cope with the temporary loss of a parent.
"It's a good opportunity for parents to sit down with their kids and talk about deploying and what to expect," she said. "Then when deployments do come, it won't be a surprise."
Senior Airman Daniel West and Tech. Sgt. Devin Datus, with Hill's 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, showed the kids a fully functioning bomb suit.
"Most of the kids have never seen anything like this, so they seem to be pretty interested," West said. "We show them how it works and some of the cool things about it, and they have a good time."
For most of the students, the biggest draw was the military working-dog demonstration.
"It was fun to see the dog attack the bad guys," said Hill Field kindergartner Gabriel Peralta.
Hill Field third-grader Brandon Haynes was impressed with a display of machine guns that airmen use in such places as Afghanistan and Iraq.
"It's cool to see what they really use out there."