Tyndall Kids

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Do you have what it takes to be in the Air Force? Saturday hundreds of area kids got a chance to see if they have the right stuff, and it was not a routine military exercise.

From ID tags to cammo paint and battle dress uniforms, the kids got the chance to see what life feels like for American men and women preparing for deployment overseas.

Msg. Ken Tate said, "It's real important so that they understand what the price of freedom is, what their parents sacrifice in the means of training, being away from home."

This is the first program of its kind to be held at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Mathew Granville, a student, said, "It's fun because we get to go around pretending like we're actually doing the things that our parents do."

They call it the Jr. RAPPTOR Program. Kids from age six to 16 got a close-up look at the Air Force when going through the motions of a mock deployment.

Sarah McCann, a student, said, "I think it's pretty cool because I get to see what my dad does everyday."

But it's not everyday that you get to sit in the cockpit of a C-130. These kids got a real taste of military life in more ways than one.

Kevin Polliday with Civil Air Patrol said, "We got to eat MREs, and I thought they were good, contrary to what some people say."

Most of these folks have parents that are either deployed or have deployed recently or they're going to be deploying in the near future. It’s trying to give them a better understanding of what their parents may go through, or what they themselves may want to go through one day.

The program's name, Jr. RAPPTORS, is actually an acronym that stands for Real Air Patriots Planning On Readiness, and by the looks of it they definitely are ready.