Comradery, credit for local military during appreciation event

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria J. Allmond
  • 111th ATKW
Local news affiliate Fox 29 Philadelphia held its sixth annual Fox 29 Salutes the Military event here Sept. 26, providing an opportunity to not only give thanks to military members, but also provide a platform for fostering joint-branch interface.

Sealing off an entire city block between 3rd and 4th streets and Market Street, the event showcased each military branch, including active-duty, Reserve and National Guard components. While local civilians took part in the activities and exhibits showcased by each service, many military members utilized the event to converse with their service counterparts.

"This is my first time at this event and it's interesting to see how everyone else works. Very interesting," said Lance Cpl. Matthew Reed, a howitzer gunner from India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines from Allentown, Pa., in reference to being around the other branches.

An array of military equipment lined the street, from the 111th Attack Wing's own 201st REDHORSE, Detachment 1's bucket truck to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel and field artillery weaponry from the U.S. Marine Corps.  In addition to the armed services' apparatus on display, vendors were on hand to provide food and beverages for all in attendance.  Aside from the military and the vendors, multiple veterans' groups were present as a show of support and to provide information about their programs.

"Our goal is make sure that every (service member) that comes home now gets the welcome they deserve that (Vietnam War veterans) didn't get forty-years ago," said Wayne Lutz, Warriors' Watch Riders founder. "We're here (at the Fox 29 Salutes the Military event) to make sure that (service members) know that we're here and we support them."

But, a persistent theme of comradery between services resounded throughout the multiple-hour event.

"It's good to see all the branches here, together at one time," said 111th ATKW Command Chief Master Sgt. Paul Frisco. "We all play different roles and have different responsibilities, but it's nice to have an opportunity to get to know one another a little better. When you understand what each element of the military is doing, it makes it easier to work together."

Current military members at the event felt the occasion showcased all the branches in a positive light and could possibly serve to inspire enlistment. Among the interplay between services, many of the branches and military components had recruiters available to speak with interested individuals. 

The Army representatives attracted the public with a test of strength via the Army Punching Bag. The Marines also tested interested recruit's might and muscle with their pull-up bar, while active-duty Air Force gave people a wild ride on their gyro sphere.  Recruiters from the 111th ATKW showcased their Air National Guard Mobile Experience, which features and interactive look at ANG service.

"It's important to have events like this because it allows the public to come out and interact with us; it also allows the recruiters to speak to kids and young adults and see if the military is an option for them," said Frisco.

The recognition, appreciation and gratitude bestowed upon service members from the Fox 29 staff and community were shared amongst all military attendees.

"I've gotten to see the equipment that the other branches brought," said Reed. "And it's stuff that we don't get to see on a daily basis in our own jobs. Plus, (we) get chance to talk to members of other branches outside the work or deployment setting. So, that's definitely something that coming here today offered us."