107th holds their 1st combat dining-in
By Staff Sgt. Peter Dean, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published October 20, 2010
Niagara Falls New York -- On October 16th both enlisted and officers fully loaded with water balloons, water guns, and silly string gathered at Hangar 907 for the first 107th Combat Dining-in, an event that was filled with both military protocol and good old-fashion fun. Dining-ins date back to the days of the Vikings, warriors would gather and feast together celebrating military victories and individual and unit achievements. It is said the Air Force adopted the practice in the 30's when Gen. H. "Hap" Arnold's "Wing dings" and their British colleagues of the Royal Air Force gathered, celebrating their victories.
Combat dining-in is a relatively new concept that still follows the same protocol but in a much less formal venue. Attendees instead of dressing in formal attire arrive in ABU's or flight suits ready for battle. As with the formal dining-in, the combat version enhances the esprit de corps of units, while enabling commanders to meet socially with their troops. It also provides an environment enabling all ranks to strengthen bonds with co-workers.
After attending a combat dining-in with her friend held at the Royal Air Force Base, Lakenheath, England Staff Sgt. Sharon "Gooch" Gouchie had her mind set to bring the fun back home to the 107th.
"It was such a good time; everyone was socializing, bonding and having a blast. I thought it would be perfect for the 107th,"said Sgt. Gouchie
After receiving the blessing from the wing king, "Gooch" assembled a team of volunteers to brain storm and make the first 107th Combat dining-in to be one that goes down in the history books. And go down it did, after the cocktail hour that encouraged everyone to greet each other, the head table assemblage arrived in Toga garb.
Upon completion of the Presenting of the Colors, the POW Ceremony and the invocation, Capt. Joseph Neglia, Officer of the Mess demonstrated the Grog Bowl procedure that violators of one of the 21 rules must visit. The first rule was "Thy president is always right" (Col. Patrick Ginavan) and the last was "any questions please refer back to rule number one."
With the ground rules on the table the battle began, somewhat divided with ops on one side of the hangar and the rest of the wing on the other, water balloons were lobbed from side to side with no particular target in mind. Armed with water guns and silly string, participants took aim and drenched or coated their willing or unwilling opponents in what was a victory for all.
"I thought this was going to be an interesting experience but this was unbelievable," said Staff Sgt. Brandy Fowler.
"For the first one, I think it went very well, there are some things I would tweak but overall it turned out well, I've heard nothing but positive comments," said Gouchie.
According to Sgt. Gouchie If you missed out on this one; she has hopes of planning another one in the near future.