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NEWS | Nov. 21, 2006

To the mess: 250 rev up at Combat Dining In

By James Coburn 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

About 250 Team Lackland members participated in the 2006 Enlisted Combat Dining In, and "It was a blast!" said 37th Training Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Hopkins.

The event began with a patriotic flair, as servicemembers watched from the amphitheater area while four members of the 342nd Training Squadron's Combat Training Flight parasailed to the parade grounds in front of a pink sunset Oct. 27, one trailing Old Glory, and brought the flag to the amphitheater.

Two general officers, Brig. Gens. Darrell Jones, commander of the 37th TRW, and Jan-Marc Jouas, vice commander of the Air Intelligence Agency, attended the tradition-steeped festivities.

The present dining in format had its beginnings in the Army Air Corps when Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold held his famous wingdings, Chief Hopkins wrote in his Chief's Corner column in the Talespinner. He said the association of Air Corps personnel with the British and their dinings in during World War II also encouraged their popularity in the Air Force.

Most of the "combatants" were armed with water balloons, water pistols, hoses or buckets, and sprayed Airmen who were accused of imaginative violations and ordered to go through an obstacle course on their way to drink from the alcoholic or non-alcoholic "grog" bowls framed by toilet seats and lids.

"Everybody got wet," Chief Hopkins said. Combatants enjoyed a "great" meal of barbecued chicken, ribs and brisket, said photographer Alan Boedeker. The Combat Dining In concluded with remarks by Chief Hopkins, who thanked the servicemembers for their hard work for Lackland and the nation.