Family Day draws 1,000 to Air Guard Base

By Master Sgt. Philip Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Family members of Airmen assigned to the 123rd Airlift Wing board a C-130 Hercules on display Oct. 23, 2011, during the unit’s annual Family Day in Louisville, Ky. The event is held to celebrate and thank the families of Airmen who serve in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

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Madison Goddard, daughter of 1st Lt. Jarret Goddard of the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineering, sits in the pilot’s seat of a C-130 Hercules during the unit’s annual Family Day, held Oct. 23, 2011, in Louisville, Ky. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 1,000 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen and their family members gathered here Oct. 23 to celebrate Family Day with a picnic lunch and a variety of family-friendly activities at 123rd Airlift Wing Headquarters.

The day’s events featured a corn hole tournament, children’s games, live music provided by the Louisville Veterans Affairs Hospital band “Cadillac Shack,” and rides in the wing’s Mini C-130, a customized golf cart designed to replicate the transport aircraft, said David Rooney, director of family readiness programs.Additionally, over 20 organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and numerous schools came out to support the event, providing information on benefits and programs available to Airmen and their family members.

“We’re very pleased with the turnout this year and received a lot of positive feedback on the events,” Rooney said. “I think our family members really enjoyed the activities, but more importantly, I think they appreciated the fact that this day was set aside to show our gratitude for the support they provide our Airmen every day of the year, all year long. Our family members serve just as much as the Airmen do, and they need to know how much their service means to our mission, our commanders and all the Airmen on base.”

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Family members of Kentucky Air Guardsmen exit the 123rd Airlift Wing’s Mini C-130 after an orientation “flight” Oct. 23, 2011, during the wing’s annual Family Day celebration in Louisville, Ky. The Mini C-130 is a scale replica of the Hercules transport aircraft, built on a golf-cart chassis and propelled by a 27-horsepower gasoline motor. Although incapable of flight, it can reach speeds of up to 20 mph, features working propellers, a functional cargo door, a UHF radio, a high-powered stereo system and seating for up to a dozen passengers. The replica was built from scratch by the Airmen of the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force by Maj. Dale Greer)

A commander’s call kicked off the day’s events with messages from Col. Greg Nelson, wing commander; Chief Master Sgt. Curtis Carpenter, wing command chief; and Linda Ringleka, the wing’s director of psychological health.

During the commander’s call, Brandi Wardrip was commissioned into the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Wardrip, wife Kentucky Air Guardsman Master Sgt. John Wardrip, has been president of the wing’s Family Readiness Group since February 2009 and has supported numerous deployments and special events.

“She has absolutely been an integral part on the morale and welfare activities on this base, along with deployment outreach and helping answer questions from family members whose spouses are deployed overseas,” Rooney said.

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