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442d Fighter Wing holds 2018 Family Day

442d Fighter Wing members and their families disembark from a horse-drawn carriage at the 442 FW Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

442d Fighter Wing members and their families disembark from a horse-drawn carriage at the 442 FW Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Other activities included horseback rides and a petting zoo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Missy Sterling)

The winning boat from the Carboard Regatta, "Da Hawg," is carried toward the water during the Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

The winning boat from the Carboard Regatta, "Da Hawg," is carried toward the water during the Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Four boats competed, only two survived. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lesley Kleyh)

A crowd watches the carboard boats get lowered into the water for the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day Cardboard Regatta Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

A crowd watches the carboard boats get lowered into the water for the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day Cardboard Regatta Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Other activities included bounce houses, a petting zoo, and free food. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

A funk band plays live music during the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

A funk band plays live music during the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The Family Day festivities included bounce houses, barbecue, and a cardboard boat regatta hosted by the (fictional) Whiteman Sailing Club. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Junior ROTC cadets serve barbecue beef and pork with green beans during the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

Junior ROTC cadets serve barbecue beef and pork with green beans during the 442d Fighter Wing Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Also served was 50 gallons of "pastalaya," which is jambalaya made with pasta instead of rice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

Col. Roger P. Suro, the 442d Fighter Wing commander, gives opening remarks at thw wing's Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

Col. Roger P. Suro, the 442d Fighter Wing commander, gives opening remarks at the wing's Family Day event Sept. 9, 2018, at Ike Skelton Park on Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. This was Suro's first family day with the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Jennings)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442d Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., held its annual Family Day event on Sunday, September 9th, 2018 at Ike Skelton Park here.  

Over 1,500 Reserve Citizen Airmen and their family members were treated to pastalaya, barbeque, a petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, live music and a host of games for kids. 

Lt. Col. David Black, the 442d Maintenance Group commander said, “From previous bases, the participation at this one was by far the most I have ever seen.”

 
This year, the wing held its first-ever cardboard boat regatta on Ike Skelton Lake here.  There were four contestants, with “Da Hawg” emerging the clear winner.  “Da Hawg” was manned by Master Sgts. Amanda Spieker and Kimberly Levy of the 442d Fighter Wing Staff.  This regatta is expected to expand at next year’s family day.  

“Next year I am expecting there to be some very artistic boats and very sophisticated boats,” said Black.  

Annually, the wing puts a lot of effort and planning into having family day events.  The project officer for this year’s event was 1st Lt. Nicholas Dailey.  He led a team of wing volunteers and over 60 Junior ROTC cadets from three local high schools.  Brent Kirksey, a senior at Warrensburg High School and the son of Master Sgt. Jim Kirksey in the 442d Maintenance Group, led cadets in assisting with managing logistics and ensuring the safety of children.  

The importance of having family day events is twofold.  It is a small token of gratitude to all Airmen for their hard work and sacrifices throughout the year, and a way to thank family members who support them and for their many sacrifices as a dependent of a Reserve Citizen Airmen.   

“It is a very good morale building event and good for family members to come out and see a little of what we do,” said Black.