PATRICK SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. --
More than 1,500 members of the 920th Rescue Wing and their families enjoyed food, games, and even flights on military aircraft during the wing’s annual family day event on Nov. 6.
Family Day is a way for the wing to give back to its members for all the hard work and dedication that goes into staying mission ready while also thanking the families who continuously support their Airman behind the scenes.
Families were welcomed into the newly renovated 920th Maintenance Group hangar where the festivities were held. While an inflatable obstacle course spanned the length of the hangar, the Airman and Family Readiness Center orchestrated a mock deployment line for children to walk through to gather items from each station such as flashlights, plastic dog tags, hand sanitizer, and an identification kit to place in their gear bags.
“Family day is designed to give family members more insight into what their family members do while on duty,” said Lt. Col. Mike Walsh, 920th Rescue Wing chief of safety and event project officer. “Including them in these events gives service-members a way to thank their families for their continued support for the long hours spent at work or away from home. These days it also provide a morale boost for the wing, allowing our members to showcase their skills.”
While the children were entertained with balloon animals and a K-9 demonstration from Security Forces, many spouses experienced what it’s like to be a part of flying operations. Spouses were given the choice between flying with the 301st Rescue Squadron in the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter or to fly with the 39th Rescue Squadron in the HC-130J Combat King II aircraft. Both aircraft flew the spouses along the Space Coast, to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, and back to the base.
“The helicopter flight was the highlight of my morning, it was such a unique opportunity,” a 920th Rescue Wing spouse said. “I love that family day gave our girls the chance to see what their dad does and am so thankful for the amazing community that we are a part of.”
The day’s events were organized and sponsored by the Rescue Special functions committee who grilled 1,200 hotdogs, 1,600 hamburgers, as well as provided drinks and desserts for everyone.
“The key spouses, local Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps members, USO, and Daughters of America were all integral players the day of,” Holly Veit, Rescue Special Functions president, said. “I had an amazing team and support to help pull this family day together.”
Families were able to get up close with the HC-130J Combat King II and HH0-60 Pave Hawk static displays where they were able to sit in the pilot seats, walk through the entirety of the aircraft and had their questions answered by aircrew. The Pararescuemen from the 308th Rescue Squadron also had their SAFE boat and the Search and Rescue Tactical vehicle-Side by Side (SRTV-SXV) on display for families to explore. Both vehicles are used in combat search and rescue missions.
“I was able to meet my husband’s co-workers who are not full time as well as connect with other families who are in the same situation as I am,” said another 920th RQW spouse. “I had no idea that there were so many people that are a part of this wing and everything that goes into the reserve weekends.”