News>380th EFSS features July 4 food, fitness, fun
SOUTHWEST ASIA - Members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing compete to fill a water balloon the fastest during a carnival July 4, 2012. The 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron offered several activities to service members here to celebrate America's birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - Members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing participate in a team swim competition July 4, 2012. The 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron offered several activities to service members here to celebrate America's birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - Albert Piper, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron contractor, pitches to a batter during a home run derby July 4, 2012. Piper is from Yorktown, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Barr, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron patrolman, takes a swing during a home run derby July 4, 2012. Barr is deployed from the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - Members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing enjoy a barbecue dinner July 4, 2012. The 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron offered several activities to service members here to celebrate America's birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Paula Daniels)
SOUTHWEST ASIA - U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Williams, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing flight safety NCO, right, prepares to catch Airman 1st Class Edmund Schram, 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron egress technician, left, after his turn at Dizzy Bat July 4, 2012. Williams is deployed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and Schram is deployed from Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
7/6/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Though there weren't any rockets' red glare lighting the sky over the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing for July 4, they were lighting up a big projection screen on the wing pavilion stage.
The fireworks "show" was one of many events the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron offered to help service members celebrate America's birthday.
"Fourth of July events, along with any other events, are very important because we are directly responsible for providing the base's morale," said Master Sgt. Jessica Fehsal, 380th EFSS recreation supervisor, who is deployed from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. "It's important to take care of the [troops'] morale, that way they can go out and accomplish the mission."
Airman 1st Class Erica Porter, 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron aviation resource manager apprentice, participated in the events.
"It's been really fun," said Porter, who is deployed from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. "It gets your mind off being deployed and makes you feel a little bit more at home."
The events focused on fitness, food and fun and were planned by the recreation and fitness sections. They included a 5-kilometer run, team swim event, Army vs. Air Force softball game, barbecue dinner, carnival games, the fireworks show, and more.
The Army vs. Air Force game however, was the idea of Army Lt. Col. David Baxter, 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment commander.
"He said, 'It would be really nice if we had a softball game and a barbecue,' so we thought what a perfect opportunity on the 4th of July so you get a little piece of being at the ballpark, eating a hot dog," said Master Sgt. Lauralee Okoniewski, 380th EFSS fitness supervisor, who is deployed from Scott AFB, Ill.
Though the dining facilities here are primarily responsible for providing more nutritional sustenance, they were more than happy to provide the traditional holiday fare including hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and more.
"It's the holiday," said Master Sgt. Mario Cano, 380th EFSS dining facility manager, who is deployed from Edwards AFB, Calif. "Everybody loves food, so that's what we provide, that little taste of home here."
Another reason Cano wasn't concerned with the holiday meal is because he knows service members here are well-fed at any other time. The Air Force recently began a program that helps the DFAC plan meals focused on overall fitness and health.
"It ties into the whole-person concept," said Cano, a California native. "We want to make sure we're providing meals to sustain not only their fitness but their well-being as well."
Fehsal and Okoniewski also know their centers are paramount to troop morale and welfare on a daily basis.
Without the recreation team, Fehsal said the wing could not offer opportunities such as the learning resource center, movie theater, swimming pool or community activity center, which offers movies, billiard tables, morale computers, morale telephones and more.
"We really do work hard in taking care of everybody," said Fehsal, a native of Bozeman, Mont. "They appreciate that, the opportunity to come out here and relieve some stress and improve their morale."
For Okoniewski, the mission is no different here than at home station.
"I have a personal trainer on our staff," said Okoniewski, a Walnut Ridge, Ark., native. "We do fitness assessment tests. We help people with programs to help them enhance their capabilities. Our mission is to keep people fit to fight."
Whether a holiday or any other day, the 380th EFSS staff is here to ensure service members are taken care of so they can support the base.
"I like taking care of the Airmen," Fehsal said. "[I like] taking care of everybody so they can go out and accomplish the mission and do what they need to do to keep everybody safe."