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Public Service a Good Career Option, Hicks Says

Pentagon personnel brought over 8,000 of their children to work today, in the annual "Bring a Child to Work Day," an event celebrated across America.

Service members holding flags and a ceremonial rifle stand before a large group of people.
Honor Guard
The Pentagon Honor Guard displays flags to begin the “Bring a Child to Work Day” event at the Pentagon, April 25, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 240425-D-XI929-1005

Public service is a good option for today's youth after graduation, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told thousands of kids and their parents who had gathered in the courtyard, where multiple entertainment booths and displays were set up. 

The Defense Department is one of the largest employers in the nation, and as such, offers a wide range of employment — from writing policy or computer algorithms to handling military working dogs, flying aircraft or even becoming an astronaut, she said.

Two sailors raise their right hands as they look at each other in a space capsule.
Capsule Commitment
NASA astronaut Navy Capt. Victor Glover Jr., right, provides the oath of reenlistment to Petty Officer 2nd Class Gerald Castro in a test capsule aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego during recovery training for NASA’s Artemis II mission in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 26, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Connor Burns
VIRIN: 240226-N-UY363-1099C
An airman directs a military working dog as it climbs steps of an obstacle course on a training field.
Pup Patrol
Air Force Senior Airman Gracia Bolainez and military working dog Azur run an obstacle course during training at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 29, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Alexis Pentzer
VIRIN: 240306-F-LE520-1062M
A service member  looks at a monitor  during prototype pilot training.
Prototype Pilot
A service member uses a pilot training prototype as part of the Defense Innovation Unit’s participation in the annual Interservice Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 28, 2023. The event brings together stakeholders from industry, academia, government, military service branches, and allies and partner nations around the world.
Photo By: Devon Bistarkey, Defense Innovation Unit
VIRIN: 231128-D-GG979-1014
"We hear so many stories about you, and we can't help but be proud of you," she said, referring to the children. 

"As a parent myself, I can say with confidence that you and your generation are going to change the world," she said. 

Parents here today are especially excited to show their children where they work and what they do and the positive impact they have in making the world a safer place and protecting America's freedom, she said. 

Hicks also thanked the parents for the love and support of their children. 

A woman stands and speaks into a microphone attached to a lectern on a stage with someone seated behind her.
Hicks Remarks
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks provides remarks to open “Bring a Child to Work Day” at the Pentagon, April 25, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 240425-D-XI929-1007

One of the highlights of the day was a mock media briefing in the press briefing room, where Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder took questions from the children. 

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with our young guests about the important role of a free and independent press, and DOD's responsibility to ensure our fellow citizens have access to timely, accurate information about our nation's military," Ryder said. 

Every year when the Pentagon hosts these briefings, the children ask excellent and insightful questions, and this year was definitely no exception, he said. 

Children sit in a briefing room with adults.
Kids Briefing
Children and their parents listen to a mock briefing for "Bring a Child to Work Day" at the Pentagon, April 25, 2024.
Photo By: Joseph Clark, DOD
VIRIN: 240425-D-WM747-1011

"I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them ultimately become journalists and come back to the Pentagon someday as full-fledged members of the Pentagon press corps," he added. 

"While there's a natural inclination to attribute the power and strength of today's U.S. military to the incredible technology and machines within our inventory, the reality is that our people are the decisive factor and our most important asset," Ryder said. 

"Bring a Child to Work Day" affords an opportunity for the department to show the children the vital work their loved ones do daily throughout the U.S. military, defending the nation, he said. 

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