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2nd AS hosts their annual Family Day

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Cammie Quinn
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
The scene is familiar -- after a long day's work, Airmen come home to sit on the couch and discuss with their spouse any and everything besides work, save a few choice words, of course. Rarely are day-to-day intricacies discussed, leaving the spouse in the dark as to what it is their partner does at work. In order to shed some light on the subject, the 2nd Airlift Squadron opened its doors Nov. 6 for a night of tours, flying and fun for squadron families during its yearly Family Day.

The event, organized by loadmaster Tech. Sgt. James Segalla, included several avenues of entertainment, appealing to both the spouses and children. Waiting on the flightline was a photo-op with a "Mini-Herc," that is, a tiny model of a C-130 Hercules. The children twittered with excitement as they looked forward to being escorted to a static display of an actual C-130 after their dinner of pizza, cookies and fruit punch.
Family members entered the C-130 through the deployed hatch and made their way up to the cockpit, where they were able to look at the control panel in front of the pilot seats. Braidon Overly, 6, found the buttons of particular interest. "I liked all the spots on the plane," he said.

The display wouldn't stay static for long, though, as the spouses were flown to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and back by aircraft commander Capt. Matt Platt, a 2nd AS pilot. "It's a lot of fun for us to show off to our better halves what we do," he said.

The passengers-turned-aircrew listened to a pre-flight briefing given by Captain Platt. "I feel so official getting briefed," Elissa LaBelle, wife of Airman 1st Class Jeremy LaBelle, said. During his speech, Captain Platt briefed the "aircrew" on local weather conditions, which were described as "smooth and cold."

Amy Salotti said she was a little nervous since this was her first time on a C-130. Her husband, 1st Lt. John Salotti, assuaged her fears, however, and said riding in a C-130 is "like the airlines - only louder."

During the flight, the spouses were invited to take pictures as loadmasters simulated deploying a load. A'Ja LaRue, wife of Airman 1st Class Shaun LaRue, enjoyed the experience. "I was excited when they opened the hatch - and when I got to go up in the cabin, although I did almost fall off when they put on the brakes," she said.

Nevaeh Jones, wife of Tech. Sgt. Charles Jones, flight engineer, said it was a great experience being able to climb into the cockpit during the flight. "It was cool seeing out the windows and looking down at North Carolina - it puts a whole new perspective on Fayetteville," she said.

For the ones who opted to stay behind, a tour of the control tower followed by a life support demonstration was available. Like any effective Air Force event, lessons were learned during the tour. "I learned not to touch anything," Jaxon Decoursey, 5, said. Jaxon is the son of Major and Mrs. David Decoursey.

The squadron enjoys hosting the night for their families as a way of showing off what they spend their time at work doing. "We don't have air shows (at Pope) anymore, so aside from the pictures we take ourselves, our families don't get an appreciation of what we do on a daily basis," Lt. Col. Larry Floyd, 2nd AS Director of Operations, said.

The night was a success and the family members walked away with a better understanding and appreciation for what their Airmen do at work on a daily basis. "A number of spouses came up and thanked us," said Colonel Floyd. The children had a blast too. "The kids wore themselves out, I know they wore us out," said Col. Leslie Smith, 2nd AS commander.

The night was all about bringing the family out to socialize with other 2nd AS families. "We get to know what Dad is working on every day," Kristen Overly, wife of Staff Sgt. Craig Overly said. "We get to be more involved in his life and besides that, (our children) have never been on a plane before."