News Search

Family day big success

  • Published
  • By Lindsay Logsdon
  • 178 FW/PA
     The 178th Fighter Wing celebrated its biennial Family Day Sept. 13. More than 1,500 families and friends were in attendance. Activities ranged from displays to hands-on crafts and games.

     "It's important for us to do Family Day. It's a fun part of the job for me," said Jane Esprit, Airman and Family Readiness program manager and Family Day coordinator.
More than 30 people from the wing volunteered to make the day a success as well as 10 Airman and Family Readiness program volunteers. The base received support from the community as well. Some of the off-base agencies that had displays and giveaways were the Tuskegee Airmen, Operation Homefront, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Red Cross and USAA.

     For the younger attendees there was Shaner the Magician, Heater the Dragon from the Dayton Dragons, Gordon and Pam Yanke from Spice of Life with his llamas, and the 178 FW's Saber Dog. Other children's activities included face painting, hand crafts and bounce houses.

     Master Sgt. Stephanie LaPlant, of 178th Operations Support Flight, and her daughter Kylie Getz worked the sand art and finger painting booth. Although she didn't get to see all of the Family Day events, she said, "All the kids really enjoyed the activities."

     In addition to the children's activities there was a cruise-in of more than 20 racing, classic and nostalgic cars and nearly 15 motorcycles. The cruise-in was coordinated by Master Sgt. Larry Cook and Tech. Sgt. Bill Claypool, both from the 178th Maintenance Squadron. Throughout the day attendees were treated to the music of several local bands and performers coordinated through Master Sgt. Ken Aikman of the 251st Communications Group. Servicemembers were also able to take their families through their work areas as well as show them static displays of not only 178th Fighter Wing aircraft, but also a C-130 Hercules from the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio.

     "I think it was a great opportunity for the 178th to demonstrate esprit de corps and show our families what we do here," said Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Stahl of 178th Public Affairs.

     For many attendees, the highlight of Family Day was the Battle of the Commands. The First Sergeants' Council organized the competition so that each of the 12 participating units had a team in the 11 different competitions. Games ranged from the traditional tug-of-war and pie eating contest to punt-pass-kick type contest and a home run derby.
"This year's attendance was better than years previous because we had the Battle of the Commands competition," said Jane Esprit. "It was a creative way for the units to compete and build some camaraderie. I was very pleased with the number of folks who participated, it was a good turnout. "

     The object of the competition was for each unit to accumulate the least amount of points. The overall winner was the 178th Logistics Readiness Squadron. There was a tie for second place between the 178th Maintenance Squadron and the 251st Combat Communications Group.

A separate but equally important award was the Esprit De Corps award. 

     "The Esprit De Corps trophy means that in spite of competition, a unit has that "teamwork attitude" to show that everyone is worthy of support," said Master Sgt. Daniel Crock, the 178th Fighter Wing first sergeant. The unit which showed "a common spirit of enthusiasm and devotion to a cause," was the 178th Fighter Wing Staff.

     "This was undoubtedly one of the best family days I have seen in my time at the 178th Fighter Wing," said Col. Mike Roberts, the 178th Fighter Wing commander. "It was made possible because of the volunteers who went above and beyond what was expected."