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111th ATKW leadership serves up holiday spirit, sustenance

A 111th Attack Wing officer serves one of the Wing’s technical sergeants the holiday meal held in the dining facility (DFAC) at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., during this month’s regularly scheduled drill (RSD), Dec. 3, 2016. The intention of having officers and senior enlisted serve the holiday lunch is to build bonds between leadership and Guardsmen, strengthening the relationships within the ANG family. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Timi Jones)

A 111th Attack Wing officer serves one of the Wing’s technical sergeants the holiday meal held in the dining facility (DFAC) at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa., during this month’s regularly scheduled drill (RSD), Dec. 3, 2016. The intention of having officers and senior enlisted serve the holiday lunch is to build bonds between leadership and Guardsmen, strengthening the relationships within the ANG family. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Timi Jones)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. --  The 111th Attack Wing's senior leadership took part in an annual tradition by serving up the holiday meal at the dining facility (DFAC) here during this month's regularly scheduled drill (RSD), Dec. 3.

This is something 111th ATKW leadership looks forward to doing every year.

"I send out the spreadsheet and they jump [at the opportunity for] volunteering," said 111th Force Support Squadron Services Superintendent Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Paul. "They enjoy it. They make it like a competition with whose lines are better."

Traditionally, the holiday season is a time for togetherness, family and food. The intention of having officers and senior enlisted serve the holiday lunch is to build bonds between leadership and Guardsmen, strengthening the relationships within the ANG family.

Col. William R. Griffin, 111th ATKW vice commander, spoke about the interaction that takes place along and across the serving counter during this annual event. He explained how it represents more than just serving food; it's about fostering esprit de corps among all ranks.

"If I know ya, I know ya. If I don't, I may be like, 'Hey, who are you?'" Griffin said. "We do it and we actually enjoy it. We laugh, we yuck it up and have a good time."

Airman, noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and senior NCOs laughed and joked with commissioned officers as they moved along the dual serving lines. The jovial banter appeared to create an opportunity for officers and enlisted to interact in a different light.

Master Sgt. Kevin Watson, 111th Attack Wing Recruiting Office supervisor, said he was blown away seeing the dynamic effect of having Wing leaders partake in the unconventional role. "I knew it was happening, but I didn't expect this," he said. "It really epitomizes putting troops first. It was refreshing and motivating to see."

Not only was having officers behind the service counter novel, but according to Paul, many active duty bases don't allow officers to dine at the DFAC.

"The DFAC itself is supposed to be for enlisted to come enjoy a meal without the intimidation of officers being around," she said. "So [the tradition] started with them serving because they're usually not even in here--period."

Griffin went on to talk about how this event can also build new relationships between Airmen and their leadership.

"It shows people that we're just regular guys. It breaks down a barrier a little bit," Griffin said. "The idea is for people to come here, feel good about what they're doing, knowing their time is valued and that we're all on the same team."