MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA, UNITED STATES
Story by Senior Airman Jasmine Barnes
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – The 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron hosted a combat dining-in at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, May 26, 2022.
In an effort to bring Airmen together and build competitive camaraderie, the combat dine-in encouraged Airmen to dress in altered duty uniforms and apply face paint.
“This was an opportunity to build meaningful relationship with our peers,” said Staff Sgt. Seth Gauthier, 23rd CES water fuel system maintenance journeyman. “It allowed us to pay homage to 70 years’ worth of Air Force heritage. It sparked our competitive nature as we wailed one another with water balloons, but you never saw a smile leave the faces of our squadron.”
A combat dining-in is a military tradition that enhances esprit de corps of a unit and enables Airmen of all ranks to create a bond in a simulated wartime. The Airmen enjoyed a water fight, an obstacle course and the main attraction: the grog bowl.
The squadron commander played the role of the president during the event. This allowed him to informally engage with the Airmen while maintaining a leadership position.
“This is one of those rare events that allows for a commander to interact with his troops in a personal way,” Gauthier said. “They always say ‘There is a difference between a leader and a boss’ and after the dining-in, it was evident that our commander is a leader worth following.”
Additionally, the squadron commander was responsible for enforcing the event’s unique rules and dealing out the fate of having to complete the obstacle course or take a drink out of the grog bowl, which traditionally is an unused toilet bowl of a mixed beverage.
“We had about 35 rules and people were breaking them left and right, and that’s why they had to go through the obstacle course or to the grog,” said Master Sgt. Derek Phillips, 23rd CES emergency management superintendent. “A grog is set to where you fill your cup full and drink it all in front of everybody. One was alcoholic and one was non-alcoholic for underage Airmen.”
From basic training and throughout an Airman’s career, it is instilled that the mission comes first. This event gave Moody engineers the opportunity to take an afternoon and play hard together.
“The military should keep implementing this to build morale, companionship and resiliency,” Gauthier said. “It shows character, personality and lets Airmen know that they’re people just like us.”