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144 FW First Combat Dining In "An Outstanding Success"

Members of the 144th Force Support Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, show their unit’s pride prior to the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012.   (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Members of the 144th Force Support Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, show their unit’s pride prior to the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Senior Airman Ryan Calzada (left) and 2nd Lt. Severin Koerner, both of the 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, low crawl through the obstacle course on their way to the “Grog” during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012.   The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps.  (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Senior Airman Ryan Calzada (left) and 2nd Lt. Severin Koerner, both of the 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, low crawl through the obstacle course on their way to the “Grog” during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012. The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Senior Master Sgt. Manuel Hernandez (left) and 2nd Lt. Nolan Bauer (right), both of the 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, run the obstacle course on their way to the “Grog” during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012.   The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps.  (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Senior Master Sgt. Manuel Hernandez (left) and 2nd Lt. Nolan Bauer (right), both of the 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, run the obstacle course on their way to the “Grog” during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012. The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Capt. Michael Yamamoto (middle) and Maj. Malissa Golubic (right), both of the 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, ride tricycles towards the end of the obstacle course during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012.   The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps.  (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Capt. Michael Yamamoto (middle) and Maj. Malissa Golubic (right), both of the 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 144th Fighter Wing, Calif. National Guard, ride tricycles towards the end of the obstacle course during the 144th FW’s Inaugural Combat Dining In held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base on April 14, 2012. The combat dining in is steeped in tradition and helps build a unit’s esprit de corps. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

California Air National Guard Base Fresno -- On April 14th the 144th Fighter Wing held their first-ever Combat Dining In. The combat dining-in is very popular and is the newest of the dining-in traditions. It features a less formal atmosphere and has combat dress requirements. Air Force dining-in heritage is said to come from the 1930s and General Hap Arnold's famous "wing-dings."

This inaugural 144th combat dining in was focused on camaraderie and fellowship and there were many Airmen in attendance. The guest speaker was Sgt. 1st Class William Spears, a wounded warrior from the California Army National Guard, who reminded the assembled group of the need for maintaining a warrior ethos, continuously focused attention on being the best Airmen possible, and the call to service each of us has in the National Guard to our community, State, and Nation.

The festivities included POW-MIA recognition, a challenging obstacle course to the traditional grog bowl, and multiple flare-ups of water-gun fights across the mess.

"The dining-in committee did an outstanding job preparing for this first-time event," said Col. Sami Said, 144th Fighter Wing Commander. The committee planned multiple fund-raising activities that involved the whole wing, increased morale and also raised the money necessary for the event. The cost to attend this event for the Wing Airmen was $1.00 and featured an outstanding tri-tip meal.

"Our Airmen have great imaginations," said 2nd Lt. Severin Koerner, 144th Logistics Readiness Squadron, as he recalled a six-foot long water gun that shot a steady stream of water over 20 feet; "there was not a dry Airmen in the crowd by the end of the event" he added.

"The dining-in was an outstanding success and came at a great time for our Airmen," said Col. Said. The 144th has been deeply engaged in deployments, training activities, multiple higher headquarters inspections, and preparations for the upcoming F-15 aircraft conversion; the combat dining-in was a great release and team building activity.