Three-day bash to shower Airmen with free prizes, food and gratitude

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Does the term "Airman's Bash" sound vaguely familiar to Airmen who were stationed here last year? That's because the social extravaganza was previously referred to as the "Dorm Bash," and this year the event organizers extended the invitation beyond dormitory residents to all E-4 ranks and below and their families, including those belonging to other military branches stationed at Hill Air Force Base, in honor of the Year of the Air Force Family.

The event will also honor enlisted heritage by incorporating a Tribute to Military Families, which will include certain military guests and their families dressing in period-style uniforms and casual wear of war eras ranging from World War I until Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This year's bash started with an opening event yesterday with a barbecue which included an invocation by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Carl Wright, 75th Air Base Wing chaplain, and a visit by 75th ABW Commander Col. Patrick Higby and Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler, Ogden Air Logistics Center and 75th ABW command chief.

"The chapel is and has been a major contributor for this event," said Chaplain (Capt.) William Brown, 75th ABW chaplain. "We have also had great support and guidance by base leadership in planning this as well."

Brown said the Base Chapel provides $2,000 of the event's $3,000 budget and the rest of the funding comes from the Hill Top 3, First Sergeant's Council and the Wing Activities Committee.

"Team Hill and the local community were also integral contributors to this event," Brown added. "The event started years ago by one chaplain and one Airman, and that is how the chapel got involved. Now it involves many other organizations and has evolved into this three-day bash."

The event now extends over a three-day period "to incorporate as many schedules as possible," said event organizer, Master Sgt. Anthony Beasley, of the 75th Communications Group.

Tonight's event will include a Madden 2010 Football Tournament video game competition complete with a cash prize. Free food and beverages will be served to Airmen and their

families at Friday's block party starting at 5 p.m. in the parking lot next to the softball fields by the Warrior Health and Fitness Center with special guest OO-ALC Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Busch. There will be a local DJ and a live band and a bounce house and face painting for children. Event organizers have also collected high-value items to give away as door prizes, such as a LCD high-definition TV, motorized children's toy vehicles, snowboard and a $250 gift certificate to Wal Mart.

"All spouses who show up will receive a special gift to say 'Thank you for all that you do,' because they really are the backbone of the military family when the military member is deployed," Beasley added.

In addition to thanking military spouses for their sacrifices, Beasley said the senior leaders here use the event to publicly recognize and thank their enlisted troops for their everyday efforts. "We want to show our Airmen how much they are appreciated. They have signed up for the ultimate liability clause and every day they go to work to perform a mission without hesitation."