Combat dining-in continues Air Force tradition at joint base

(Via Ho’okele News)

U.S. Air Force photo illustration

Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden


15th Wing Public Affairs

A combat dining-in, one of the Air Force’s most time-honored traditions, is scheduled to take place May 9 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The dining-in will give Airmen a chance to experience a part of Air Force tradition and heritage while at the same time having fun, enhancing esprit de corps of units, and relaxing and releasing stress,” said Master Sgt. Ted Braxton, combat dining-in committee leader.

The theme for this year’s dining-in is, “Honoring the Past, Leading the Future.”

Braxton said attendees should expect a dinner buffet, beverage bar, water balloon fights, an obstacle course and many other traditional dining-in events.

“Get ‘camo’d’ up, bring your war paint and the biggest super soaker you can find. It’s going to be a fun and messy night for all ranks,” he said.

“This will be the only time you’re able to hit your supervisor, commander, chief or first sergeant in the face with a water balloon and get away with it. It’s going to be everyone for themselves that night, but it’s going to be good fun. This won’t be a ceremony where you come to sit down in a nice uniform and leave the same way,” Braxton said.

Any military uniform will serve as appropriate attire for the evening, so Braxton challenges attendees to be creative.

“In the past, I’ve seen people come in World War I or G.I. Joe uniforms, so come in the most interesting and fun military uniform you can put together just as long as it displays your name and rank,” he said.

The dining-in custom began in the 1930s with General H. “Hap” Arnold’s “wing dings.” A few years ago, “combat” was added to the name and the newest version of the dining-in tradition was formed.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Top 3 and Pacific Air Forces Headquarters Top 3, the combat dining-in is the senior NCO corps’ way of giving back.

“We saw the need to make sure our Airmen, meaning officers and enlisted members, didn’t lose heritage and tradition,” Braxton said.

“With more and more senior NCO and officer retirements on the horizon, we wanted to make sure that younger Airmen remember this combat dining-in event they attend at Hickam and continue the tradition when they are NCOs, SNCOs and ranking officers. Some of the younger Airmen and officers have never even heard of the dining-in, so we want to make sure they leave Hickam with a piece of heritage and tradition,” he explained.

The event is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. May 9 at Vosler Park. The tickets are $10 and can be purchased from a first sergeant or committee lead. Committee leads are Senior Master Sgt. Scott Mills, Senior Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, Master Sgt. Timothy Stewart and Master Sgt. Ted Braxton.

Transportation will be available to shuttle Airmen to and from the housing areas and the dorms to the event.

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