The approximately 7,000 airmen at McChord Field - divided among active, reservists and Air National Guard - are frequently deployed and constantly in demand for various missions that require transporting soldiers to and from different locations.
The nature and frequency of these missions, of course, makes it hard to collect them all in one place to celebrate their accomplishments and service.
From 5-9 p.m. Monday, June 29, at Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, the Air Force Association will present the Airmen Appreciation Night Barbecue Bash that will do just that.
"This is our way of saying, ‘Thank you for your service; we think you are amazing,'" said Amy Tiemeyer, president of the Air Force Association and military liaison at America's Credit Union.
Last year was the event's inaugural, held at Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St. Tiemeyer said it was a great turnout, with more than 500 airmen and their families, plus dignitaries, in attendance.
This year's event will be much the same, featuring face painting for children; balloon animals; karaoke; and various vendor booths.
Mayors from different Pierce County communities will be in attendance, including Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Commanders from each airmen unit will also have the opportunity to speak and give their thanks.
Catering the evening event is the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association.
"From the early morning hours on Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway, a dozen or more competition cooks will be stoking the fires to prepare championship pulled pork sliders and luscious baby back ribs as the main course for that evening," said Pat Maddock, vice president of the PNBA. "Our competition chili cooking brethren will join in, too, providing some of their award-winning creation."
Maddock said for years the PNBA has operated a program called Feed the Troops. Organization members throughout the region raise funds for and hold a wide variety of events with the goal to provide competition-quality barbecue to servicemembers and their families, Maddock said.
"This is a great group of people," Tiemeyer said. "They are definitely donating both their time and resources."
Various organizations will bring side dishes and there will be free beer and wine.
The Airmen Appreciation Night Barbecue Bash is free to all active, Reserve and Air National Guard airmen and their families.
Event sponsors are Harborstone Credit Union, America's Credit Union, Lakewood Rotary, USAA, Quinault Beach Resort & Casino, Grand Canyon University and Titus Will.