An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Osan recognizes its 'littlest patriots'

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan joins bases around the world this month in recognizing a group of military supporters that is sometimes overlooked - the military child. 

Established by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the Month of the Military Child recognizes the contributions and sacrifices made by even the littlest of patriots. 

"They're a special type of child," said Mrs. Wiyada Lee, Osan Youth Center director. "They have to relocate a lot, start over and make new friends every three or four years. This is a time to honor them and let them know how special they are." 

The children said they appreciate the activities planned this month, but they also enjoy everything the military offers them year-round. 

"The youth centers are fun," said 10-year-old Jade Julien. "I like all the parties they have here, and the bouncy castles they have at the O'Club sometimes." 

Peter Armour, who got to Osan two months ago from Tinker AFB, Okla., said he feels there's a lot for kids to do here. 

"It helps that they have things to do like the bowling alley and the youth center," said 12-year-old Armour. "Sometimes I feel like I'm still in America." 

Both children said it's different living overseas and moving often, but there are positive aspects. 

"There are more things to do in the U.S., like zoos, and we can drive farther from our home," said Julien, who has lived at Offut AFB, Neb., and Eglin AFB, Fla. "But traveling I get more friends and get to spend more time with my family. You get the experience of different schools and different areas." 

Mrs. Lee said it's those differences between stateside living and being overseas that inspire the youth center and other organizations to do what they do. 

"We try our best to bring things they are used to (in the U.S.) to Osan," she said. 

With this in mind, organizations here are having different activities throughout the month for children like Julien and Armour. The Child Development Center, for example, is having different dress-up days, including T-shirt Day April 13 and Mismatch/Inside-Out day April 20. The Teen Center is hosting a keystone banquet and dance April 13 from 7-11 p.m. and a block party April 14 from 6-10 p.m. 

The Youth Center is also hosting a variety of events, said Mrs. Lee. 

"We are having a camp for school-age children from April 9 to 13," she said. "The camp is 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and parents can drop the children off for up to 10 hours." 

The camp will offer different activites, including arts and crafts, a trip to the base pool and a still-to-be-determined field trip. Free lunch and snacks are also available. 

A free Military Child Celebration/Cook-out will also be held at the Youth Center on April 20. 

"This is for children and their parents," said Mrs. Lee. "There will be hot dogs, cake and ice cream, as well as face painting and parent/child contests." 

Month of the Military Child is also in line with April's Resilient Warrior initiative - "Strong Families." 

A strong relationship between an Airman and his or her child is important, said Brig. Gen. Joe Reynes, 51st Fighter Wing commander. If the whole family knows what to expect from life in the military, the Airman is even more "Ready to Fight Tonight!" 

"Families are a very important part of many members of Team Osan. They provide stability and encouragement," said Brig. Gen. Reynes. "The military child is sometimes unclear why their mothers or fathers are gone for long periods of time, while deployed or to the Republic of Korea. Educating them about the great things you do everyday, and keeping them informed and involved with your everyday lives, is a way to help them understand."