Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

January 12, 2017 at 11:10am

Squadron of the year

Members of the 1st Weather Squadron pose for a group photo Jan. 6, 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

Airmen from the 1st Weather Squadron earned bragging rights after recently being named by the Air Force as the most outstanding weather squadron for 2016.

"I was ecstatic for the airmen here in the squadron," said Lt. Col. Troy Kirk, 1st Weather Squadron commander. "You don't always see the fruit of your labor and we work really hard here at the 1st Weather Squadron. This award is just a combination of all the hard work, dedication and awesomeness that the airmen do every day."

The Air Force Weather Squadron of the Year award recognizes a weather organization each year for excellent support to our nation's defense.

"I believe this is the squadrons first time winning this award," said Kirk. "This award is a hard one to get because there is a lot of awesome weather squadrons throughout the Air Force. We have six detachments in operating locations across the Pacific, Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii. We are all doing great things, so to win is just a great achievement and recognition for our squadron."

Kirk said that he knew the squadron accomplished a lot of great things the past year, so he wrote the AF form 1206 and submitted it to the major command.

The 1st Weather Squadron earned top honors for its continued support to JBLM's 1st Corps and its mission.

The squadron is globally engaged; 121 airmen were deployed in search of 54 contingency and training operations, while deployed, they executed more than 2,000 man days and were awarded 10 Army decorations.

They also oversaw 1st Corps Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise weather support. First WS airmen tailored 207 briefings in search of Republic of Korea operations plans and trained 450 joint forces personnel.

The squadron also guided 30-day support during Exercise Rim of the Pacific, the world's largest biennial maritime exercise conducted out of Hawaii, ultimately strengthening the alliance with 27 joint partners.

"We provide support for the 1st Corps staff whenever they deploy on real-world humanitarian disaster relief missions," said Capt. Nick Prosinski, 1st Corps Weather Team officer in charge. "We do annual exercises with both joint and coalition partners as well as support bi-lateral exercises."

Also, throughout the year, the squadron provided weather support during a joint United States/Australian exercise. During this exercise the squadron developed 38 updates, supported 200 aircraft, enabled joint capabilities, resulting in 33,000 troops certified.

Additionally, the 1st Weather Squadron was the lead support squadron of the U.S. Army Pacific Pathways. While supporting the USARPAC, 11 airmen spread across eight USARPAC, 11 airmen spread across eight nations trained 20,000 allied personnel.

Finally, the 1st WS drove the Denali rescue mission. During the rescue mission, airmen from the squadron identified a six-hour execution window amongst four days of severe weather, saving six lives.

Kirk said these are good times for his squadron.

"Winning this award speaks volumes about the type of airmen we have working here," said Kirk. "We do a lot of good work here. We are supporting the Army in every exercise that they do and our hard work was validated with this award."

January 5, 2017 at 11:59am

Enlisted nursing programs accepting applications

The Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Programs helps you finish your degree while the Direct Enlisted Commissioning Program is open to enlisted airmen with a nursing degree and license. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class R. Alex Durbin

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - The Nurse Enlisted and Direct Enlisted Commissioning Programs are accepting applications from active-duty enlisted airmen through Jan. 27, 2017, for the April selection boards.

NECP offers the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing at a college or university with an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment or a college or university with a "cross-town agreement." Applicants are required to attend school year-round in a resident-based program for up to 24 consecutive calendar months, to include summer sessions. Airmen selected by the NECP board will start school in fall 2017.

The DEC program allows airmen to commission into the Nurse Corps if they already possess a nursing degree and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX.

"Qualified, dedicated nurses are critical to the military and civilian communities," said Maj. Karen Jackson, Nurse Education program manager at the Air Force Personnel Center. "Candidates go through rigorous screening to identify those who are ready for the responsibility and highly likely to succeed in the school and career field."

To be considered for the NECP or DEC boards, applicants must be U.S. citizens with rank of senior airman or higher and no more than 10 years total active federal service (12 years for DEC) as of April 30, 2017. In addition, airmen must meet time-on-station and retainability requirements, possess current security clearances, be worldwide qualified and commissioned by age 42.

Upon successful completion of their degrees, airmen who pass the NCLEX and receive their nursing licenses will be commissioned. Both DEC and NECP candidates will then attend Commissioned Officer Training and the Nurse Transition Program, and move to a final assignment location.

For complete application instructions and requirements, visit myPers. Select "Active Duty Enlisted" from the dropdown menu and search "NECP" or "DEC."

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers.

December 22, 2016 at 11:26am

Rainier Wing rated high

The 446th Security Forces Squadron trains to enter a building during an Active Shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing recently underwent a Unit Effectiveness Inspection conducted by a team from the Air Force Reserve Command's Inspector General Office Dec. 1-6.

The Rainier Wing was rated "Effective" and scored "Highly Effective" for the Major Graded Area of Improving the Unit, which is the highest rating a wing can achieve for any graded area.

"As one of few AFRC wings to earn a Highly Effective grade for Improving the Unit, I cannot tell you how proud I am of each and every citizen airman who helped make this inspection a resounding success," said Col. Scott L. McLaughlin, Rainier Wing commander.

During the Capstone event, the 41-member AFRC IG team assessed the Commander's Inspection Program as Effective. The team's Executive Summary Report stated leadership at all levels emphasized the importance of the program, making it truly effective, reliable, and mature.

Prior to the UEI, inspectors assessed Management Internal Control Toolset communicators. As part of the UEI capstone event, inspectors conducted Airmen-to-IG group and individual sessions with Airmen and civilians.

"Inspectors are looking at units through the MICT communicators well before inspections and it's a great tool for airmen to be able to communicate issues to their functional manager," explained Maj. Eric Hodges, 446th AW Inspector General, director of inspections. "Units can upload documentation that supports their responses to communicator questions, which allows the inspectors to virtually assess the program using the MICT system."

The IG team assessed unit morale to be average overall with unit members expressing enthusiasm and support for their mission and leadership, according to the UEI Executive Summary.

As part of the inspection process, the 446th Security Forces Squadron underwent an active shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 4.

The exercise was intended to both ensure the readiness of first responders directly involved and to heighten safety and awareness around the wing.

The exercise called upon participation and resources from several key squadrons such as the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, which provided medics to respond to simulated injuries.

December 22, 2016 at 11:19am

Commander mentors new flight commanders

Col. Leonard Kosinski (right), 62nd Airlift Wing commander, talks to Team McChord flight commanders during a flight commanders course, Dec. 16, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Team McChord's newest flight commanders recently attended a leadership course hosted by McChord leadership. The course was held Dec. 16 to help prepare new flight commanders for their new leadership positions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The quarterly course provides briefings from a variety of base agencies and open discussions from squadron commanders and McChord leadership to include the 62nd Airlift Wing commander.

"This is a great opportunity to impart any experience I have to offer to officers at the flight commander level," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "I want to take questions and ask about any concerns they may have."

Kosinski spoke to the airmen on their second day of the two-day course and shared his history in the Air Force and personal experiences as a commander. He discussed his time at the Air Force Academy, his flying experience, his challenges while deployed and the different aspects of command he experienced as he progressed in rank.

"You have to be able to see your folks from the bottom up as well as the top down," said Kosinski. "It's not about everything being perfect, but recognizing when your people have challenges and ensuring they have the resources needed to overcome them."

The flight commanders attending the course also got to voice their concerns and questions to Kosinski.

"Talking to the commander was great. It was open and honest feedback," said Capt. Matthew McPhail, 7th Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot. "He has been a commander from the flight to the wing level so it's great to get his perspective and experience."

Kosinski was asked about how he handles making hard decisions as a commander.

"When making tough decisions you want to get a consensus and get a relevant perspective," said Kosinski. "Empathy is a skill set that we have to develop to understand others perspectives."

Kosinski also shared the importance of leaders knowing their airmen.

"The best command is where you're closest with your folks," said Kosinski. "The most important thing is taking care of your airmen and knowing your people."

Flight commanders attending the course agreed that the course was useful and talking with Kosinski was beneficial.    

"I think that this provided me with a better idea how I can help airmen of different career fields," said Capt. Ryan Crossman, 62nd Medical Squadron, aerospace physiology. "Regardless what our job is, we all work with people and we are all responsible to take care of the airmen under us."

December 22, 2016 at 11:15am

Honor guard graduates recognized

Airmen from the McChord Field Honor Guard hold rifles while standing at attention during a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Members of the McChord Field Honor Guard were recognized by McChord leadership for their service during a change of responsibility ceremony Dec. 13 at the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The ceremony was held to recognize the airmen who have completed their service in the McChord Field Honor Guard and their replacements as they were initiated.    

Unlike previous graduation ceremonies, this ceremony was the first that allowed McChord leadership to honor both incoming and outgoing airmen.

"We were trying to do something for the airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Justin Nolan, McChord Field Honor Guard NCOIC. "This reinforces to new trainees the importance of this mission."

The change of responsibility ceremony allowed the new honor guard graduates to showcase their newly acquired skills to leadership. During the ceremony, the incoming flight performed facing movements with outgoing flight members and received rifles from them that symbolized the transfer of responsibility.

"This change of responsibility is very symbolic and significant, said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "To the outgoing flight: Thank you for your service and a job very well done."

McChord Field Honor Guard members are trained for weeks in movements and procedures before becoming ceremonial guardsmen.   

"To the incoming flight: I want to thank you for what you are about to do," said Kosinski. "I know you are trained well and ready for the challenge."

The McChord Field Honor Guard serves at ceremonies such as performing military honors as well as presenting the colors across the Pacific Northwest for active-duty, retirees and veterans.

"This was nice to get recognized by leadership," said Senior Airman McArther Posey, McChord Field Honor Guard ceremonial guardsman. "It's nice to know they care enough to do this for us." 

December 16, 2016 at 10:10am

Airmen gain valuable experience at Rainier War

Staff Sgt. Brock Wranik, 62nd Operations Support Squadron loadmaster, looks on as a formation of six C-17 Globmaster IIIs prepare an airdrop over Rainier Drop Zone near Moses Lake during the Rainier War exercise Dec. 7. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD - The states of Washington and Arizona played the parts of hostile nations Dec. 7, during the latest iteration of Rainier War, the semi-annual large-formation exercise hosted by the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  To complete the exercise, 62nd AW airmen were joined by members of the 446th AW, the Reserve wing at JBLM; as well as members from the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard.

What made this version of Rainier War unique is that Air Force members teamed up with soldiers from JBLM's 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion and the 7th Infantry Division to carry out the exercise.

Teaming up with the Army in this exercise provided added time restraints that aircrews needed to plan for, said Capt. Wade Hetrick, 62nd Operations Support Squadron director of wing tactics.

"It also meant we had to get many other base agencies involved, which made this a total base exercise, instead of just an Operations Group exercise," added Hetrick, who was the lead Air Force planner and the instructor of record for the exercise.

The exercise was a parallel operation, with three C-17 Globemaster IIIs transporting the 51st ESB to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, as well as a six-ship formation of C-17s, which re-supplied 7th ID soldiers at Rainier Drop Zone and the airfield at Moses Lake, both "hostile" areas in Washington.

In addition to Washington and Arizona's roles as hostile nations, the exercise scenario had the state of Idaho stand in as a friendly nation - a nation that was quickly being overrun by ISIL-type forces.

Immediately after airdropping supplies to troops at Rainier Drop Zone, then delivering equipment to Moses Lake via air-land operations, the focus turned to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.  In the scenario, Mountain Home was an abandoned airfield in friendly territory which had to be taken over and reinforced before the quickly-encroaching enemy insurgents could get to it.

"It was very challenging to lead a large formation," said Capt. Ashley Deming, 7th Airlift Squadron chief executive officer, who was acting as the student mission commander for the six-ship airdrop formation. "Being in charge of the timeline execution and having to deconflict issues as they came up was very challenging."

Some of those issues Deming had to deal with were enemy surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft sites along the route.  Those threats meant that the formation had to execute high-speed, low-altitude ingress tactics in order to avoid enemy radar detection.

"Flying that fast and low and maintaining formation integrity, avoiding popup threats, and safely guiding the formation away from those threats can be really challenging," Deming said.

After the exercise was complete, Deming reflected on what she was able to take away from the exercise.

"I have a better understanding of how to manage a dynamic mission and how to plan for dealing with contingencies when things don't go as planned."

According to Hetrick, Deming's experiences gained from the exercise have a tremendous value, since the exercise was planned to closely mimic current real-world events that the aircrews could encounter on future missions.

At the conclusion of the exercise, Col. Stephen Snelson, 62nd AW vice commander, addressed the aircrews, telling them to share what they learned with their fellow airmen.

"Take these lessons you learned today and pass them on to your peers and onto future assignments," said Snelson. "Do not let this experience die with you."

December 15, 2016 at 1:03pm

Exercise on McChord puts crisis readiness to the test

The 446th Security Forces Squadron trains to enter a building during an Active Shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Dec. 3. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 446th Security Forces Squadron collaborated to plan and execute a comprehensive active shooter exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sunday.

The exercise was intended to both ensure the readiness of first responders directly involved and to heighten safety and awareness around the wing.

The exercise called upon participation and resources from several key squadrons, such as the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron that provided medics to respond to simulated injuries received during the active shooter scenario.

The exercise was primarily planned by 446th Airlift Wing Inspector General Inspections in conjunction with the 446th SFS. Together, planners sought to achieve several key training objectives.

Among the most vital purposes of the exercise was to validate the efficacy of the shoot-move-communicate training to include the use of reasonable force. During the exercise, quick response forces reacted and had to make split-second decisions about the level of force that was necessary to engage.

Keeping in line with valued partnerships, many of the actors used during the exercise were young recruits of the 446th Development and Training Flight, providing them with an opportunity to see firsthand how citizen airmen train and fight.

"Never underestimate the value of this kind of training," said Master Sgt. Anthony Ebio, 446th AW IGI planner. "It was great to see that our airmen applied this training without the need for guidance. Anything that can prepare you for real-world situations is so valuable."

Another important objective of the exercise was to validate medical first response within a mass casualty situation. The 446th ASTS arrived during the scenario to provide triage and use their skills to assess what kinds of care was most appropriate for each victim.

The exercise also provided an opportunity to partner with the 446th AW public affairs shop to train their understanding of the combatant command release authority of deployed forces.

The public affairs team trained on crisis communication and practical real-world questions enabling them to determine how best to respond during an active shooter scenario.

"Forty minutes of real exercise training like this is worth 40 hours in a classroom," said Senior MSgt. Joel Eyster, 433rd Airlift Wing IG, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. "There's so much you don't get in the classroom setting that you can learn so quickly out here from firsthand experience."

December 15, 2016 at 12:16pm

2016 Team McChord Operation Cookie Drop

Team McChord volunteers fill boxes with cookies during Operation Cookie Drop, Dec. 8, at McChord Field. More than 500 boxes were delivered to dorm airmen while the rest were distributed throughout the units. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

To a lot of people, the holidays mean more time to spend with family, but for airmen living in the dorms, spending time with family isn't always an option.

Team McChord volunteers and supporters collected and packaged cookies Dec. 8-9 at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center for first sergeants to deliver to airmen in the dorms.

Homemade cookies of all types and sizes were boxed Dec. 8 by volunteers and delivered to airmen Dec. 9 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

For more than a decade, the annual Operation Cookie Drop has continued to grow. This year, more than 10,000 cookies were collected from members of Team McChord and the surrounding communities.

"The holidays is a hard time of year for the airmen," said Chika Kosinski, wife of Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "It's difficult not being with family for the holidays, and for a lot of the airmen it could be their first Christmas away from their families. We just want this little gift to cheer them up during this holiday season."

This was the second year that the Operation Cookie Drop has been a big base wide event and it showed in the more than 10,000 cookies collected.

With the magnitude of cookies the Operation Cookie Drop received, Operation Cookie Drop has spread not only to Airmen in the dorms, but to the squadron and groups as well.

"We started with the Airmen in the dorms," said Master Sgt. Jason Torres, 627th Logistic Readiness Squadron first sergeant. "But, because of the great support from the local community, we were able to   deliver cookies to other units around base."

Chika said the aim of Operation Cookie Drop is not only to make being away from home on the holidays easier, but to say thank you to the Airmen.

"This is just a small token of our appreciation," said Chika. "This event is so much more than cookies, it is about keeping a beloved holiday tradition going that strengthens the bond between service members and the community."

December 12, 2016 at 5:31pm

Close Air Support Detachment operated at McChord for 25 years

In this 2015 photo, Close Air Support Detachment flight chief Master Sgt. Dave Knesek stands by a sign that once marked CAS Det 1, which operated at McChord Field from 1990 until 2015. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Paul Rider/Released

For a quarter century, the Close Air Support Detachment at McChord Field hosted aircrews and maintained visiting aircraft from near and far. Its small team welcomed military personnel from the U.S. and abroad to the Pacific Northwest, aided with homeland security and counterdrug operations, and facilitated training for thousands of service men and women. Before the unit was deactivated late in 2015, the detachment consisted of a long-serving trio of Air Guardsmen: flight chief Master Sgt. Dave Knesek, aircraft supervisor Senior Master Sgt. John Kennedy, and ground support equipment supervisor Tech. Sgt. Stephen Werner.

On Jan. 8, 1990, the Air Force approved a Tactical Air Command proposal for a Close Air Support detachment to host Air Force fighter units and Army ground maneuver units. The detachment was to serve the northwestern U.S. "year-round, handling deployments up to three weeks in duration, and providing opportunities for realistic training exercises for the Army," TAC Commander Gen. Robert Russ wrote to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Larry D. Welch. "Aircraft, aircrews, support personnel and spares would be provided by the deploying unit and Active/ARC units from all services would be encouraged to participate."

CAS Detachment 1 was activated July 1, 1990, followed by the formation of the DET 1 Aircraft Generation Flight in February 1991 to provide maintenance services. "We owned every building you see north to south," Knesek said from the former CAS DET facility on the edge of McChord Field. "We were the lead group to get it going." BB Bredeson was the first DET superintendent, followed by Jim Phillips and John Kennedy, according to retired Lt. Col. Henry Bomhoff, who oversaw the CAS team from the Air Guard's Mission Support Group for several years.

DET 1 was responsible over the years for thousands of sorties. For its first five years, it averaged 1,250 sorties per year, according to a 1996 fact sheet.

There were repeated attempts through the early to mid-1990s to establish an A/OA-10 unit at McChord to support training needs for the Army and Army Guard, according to records provided by Knesek. Before that, in the late 1980s, the Washington Air National Guard had expanded its air support capabilities to include the 111th Air Support Operations Center, raising hopes among Guard leaders for a full A-10 unit, wrote Dan Voelpel in a 1988 article in the Tacoma News Tribune. The A-10 plans fell through, but the 111th continues to this day, and the CAS DET lasted until 2015.

Shortly after the launch of the CAS DET in 1991, Mount Pinotubo in the Philippines erupted, shutting down Clark Air Force Base on Luzon Island. Some military personnel and retirees who had been living or stationed in the Philippines made their way back to the U.S. via McChord, along with their pets. "Planes would land with crates of animals. Retirees signed in at the tower. For a few days we worked C-130s out of here with animals on board," said Knesek.

The CAS DET served A/OA-10 crews, as well as F-15 crews from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland and F-16 crews from the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson. "We had to stay current on all the airplanes," said Knesek. At Knesek's retirement Jan. 10, Lt. Col. Johan Deutscher, commander of the 194th Mission Support Group, described Knesek's "huge, huge passion for aviation."

Civilian agencies such as the FBI, Washington State Patrol, and counterdrug agencies also made use of the DET. "We did an amazing amount of counterdrug work," said Knesek.

Politicians and foreign militaries used the DET. "We had Al Gore recover on echo ramp. We had the Filipino Air Force train with us. We had German F4s come out to train," said Knesek.

Following the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001, the CAS DET stood up an alert facility. F-15s from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland were stationed at McChord for nine months, said Knesek.

Without the CAS DET, "we wouldn't have been able to protect the homeland the way we did after 9/11," said Deutscher.

Around 2009, the DET started working with special operations units, hosting the Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey and the Army's OH-58 Kiowa, said Knesek.

Knesek, Kennedy and Werner took pride in serving whoever showed up at McChord, said Knesek. "Our motto since day one was whether you were a one-striper or a four-star, you'll be treated the same way," said Knesek. "I even bought lunch for a kid just out of basic training who was coming through."

"What really made Dave stand out was his care for the many troops who came into McChord," said Brig. Gen. John Tuohy, assistant adjutant general for the Washington Air National Guard, at Knesek's retirement Jan. 10.

Operating on a small budget, the CAS DET found ways to save money and maximize hospitality. "We saved the government millions of dollars," said Knesek. "Everything we had we found. We asked the marines coming in for toilet paper and they asked for printer toner," said Knesek. "We used to charge optional ‘landing fees' for end of deployment functions, like food. The F-16 guys from Texas made awesome tacos. We held barbeques in the alert bays."

The CAS DET team was flexible and took on unusual tasks. They turned a bread truck and trailer into a communications vehicle equipped with ultra-high frequency and very high frequency radios to communicate with fighter planes during the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle. When an F-16 blew a tire at Naval Air Station Whidbey, they went to make the repair.

"We had our one job with fifteen to twenty additional duties on top of it," said Knesek. "We did it with three people."

December 2, 2016 at 10:12am

Team McChord hosts Hearts Apart dinner

Senior Master Sgt. Jess Houk (left), 62nd Comptroller Squadron superintendent, serves food to airmen and their families during the Hearts Apart dinner Nov. 17 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

The McChord Field chapel staff, the 62nd Comptroller Squadron and Team McChord Leadership hosted a Hearts Apart dinner Nov. 17 at the McChord Chapel located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The dinner was hosted for airmen and their families who are recently, currently or soon to be deployed or assigned to a temporary duty assignment.

Different from previous deployed spouse's dinners, the Hearts Apart dinner was the first of its kind on McChord.

"Why this was called Hearts Apart instead of deployed family dinner was to open it up to encompass all of the airmen and the families that have gone TDY and on short deployments throughout the year," said 1st Lt. Elizabeth Keenan, 62nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis flight commander and Hearts Apart dinner coordinator. "We want this to be all inclusive."

The dinner was attended by more than 50 airmen and their families who were provided a catered meal by.

"This was less formal than other events and was really just about enjoying your family," said Keenan. "It was as simple as families not having to worry about cooking dinner and spending some extra time with their loved ones."

The dinner kicked off with participants ordering a meal from leadership, who in return delivered meals to their table.

"I've been here ten years and I've never had the opportunity to come to one of these," said Charlene Ybarra, spouse of Tech. Sgt. Brandon Ybarra, 4th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "This makes me really feel loved and appreciated."

Tailoring to children of different ages, there were a number of games for children to participate in. Games included spin art and other carnival games. Children were also given free cotton candy and popcorn.

"I thought this was great. The kids had a blast," said Ybarra. "There was a lot of activities for them to do and it was nice that they could do it all together."

In addition to games for children, parents were entered into a raffle for a variety of gift packages.

"People really liked the raffle prizes and everyone really enjoyed themselves," said Keenan. "This is really important to show that we care about family members and we know what a big part they play."   

For more information on McChord Field Chapel sponsored events, contact the chapel at 253.982.5556.

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