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Airmen haunted by little shadows

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Airmen across base were haunted by little shadows Feb. 2.

The shadows were children accompanying their parents to work, as part of Job Shadow Day, which was an opportunity for them "to observe Air Force careers in action by 'shadowing,'" said Doctor Ninetta Brown, 48th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer. "Students join their parents [at work] if it is permissible ... and the student has a true interest in learning about their parent's job."

Staff Sgt. Manny Rodriguez, the individual newcomer treatment and orientation monitor for the 48th Security Forces Squadron, brought his son, Dominick Rodriguez, 5, to work.

"The best part was watching his reactions throughout the day," he said. "As you can imagine the things that keep us occupied throughout the day are very different. It's funny to try and explain to him why I don't have story time at work."

On a daily basis, Sgt. Rodriguez manages his commander's physical training program for more than 400 security forces members. He also makes sure all incoming personnel are taken care of when they first arrive for duty at the squadron. Dominick had a little less responsibility on his big day at work though.

"He helped insert paperwork into sponsor packages," Sgt. Rodriguez said. "He handed paperwork to a postal clerk to open an APO Box for an incoming member and helped make reservations at lodging. He was very excited.

"He's a daddy's boy so he was very proud to come to work with me," he said.

Taking a deeper look into the subject finds the results of the program aren't limited strictly to understanding Air Force careers and enhancing parent/child relationships, but could positively affect the development of the child's psyche.

"In today's society, students watch TV and play video games and compare their life to unrealistic characters and events, thinking that this is how the world operates," said Doctor Brown. "[Job Shadow Day] gives students a realistic glimpse at the real world at hand.

"By receiving hands-on experience, students get to see and address questions related to real people and their career," she continued. "It's like knowing that I can do and be whatever I want too... because I have lived it through others."

Because the Airmen successfully lived through the haunting that day, the children were able to catch a little glimpse of adult life while peering from the shadows. Let the haunting continue next year.

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