Month of the Military Child

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Barbara Olney
  • 174th Attack Wing

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Families and friends came together to recognize 14 military children during a Month of the Military Child appreciation ceremony with the 174th Attack Wing, April 2, 2022 at Hancock Air National Guard Base.

The Department of Defense designated April as the Month of the Military Child to appreciate and recognize military children.

“Today is all about recognizing our children that serve alongside of us,” Col John Meili, commander 152nd Air Intelligence Squadron, said. “Children’s support for their service member parents is admirable and noticed.”

Spouses of the 152nd Air Operations Group arranged the event at Hancock Field during a scheduled drill weekend with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon presenting a proclamation for the event to the assembled families.

“This is recognizing the sacrifice you all make when you share your parents’ unique abilities to help protect and serve us,” McMahon said. “Your moms and dads are very special.”

Michelle Bishop-Utano, a key spouse organizer understands the impact that deployments have on families. She volunteers her time to help organize events in hopes to bring families together. The event had many activities for families to do together from coloring to painting, gifts and snacks!

“We try to do things together to bring the community together as much as possible,” said Michelle Bishop-Utano, a spouse and organizer of the event. “It’s definitely a sacrifice for the kids when the service member is away.”

The event highlights the military kids of the 152nd Air Operations Group, recognizing their unique contributions supporting parents who deploy for ongoing military operations around the state and around the world, Bishop-Utano said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul directed all state landmarks to be lit purple on April 4, 2022 in a state proclamation in another recognition of the Month of the Military Child.

“The lives of military families are challenging, and each April we must take a moment to recognize our nation's military children and appreciate them for the daily sacrifices they make in support of their parents' service to America," Hochul said in a statement.

In 1986, then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established the Month of the Military Child for the Department of Defense. The effort is meant to highlight the important and critical role military children play in communities and the sacrifices they make.

The 152nd Air Operations Group was initially established in 1947 as the 152nd Air Control Group. The unit was first stationed at the White Plains Armory and eventually moved to the Roslyn Air National Guard Station on Long Island. In 1984, the 152nd moved to Syracuse.

The unit’s original mission was as a Group Headquarters for tactical radar units in the northeastern U.S. The 152nd Air Control Group was called to active duty during the Korean War and the Berlin Crisis.

In 2000, the unit’s federal mission was changed to augmenting the Air Operations Center at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany for the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE).

The Air Operations Center provides for planning, direction and control of assigned air forces. They also direct activities of forces made available and monitor actions of both enemy and friendly forces. 152nd AOG is recognized as lead Air Reserve Component AOC augmentation unit. The 152nd Air Operations Group has both a federal and a state mission.