Operation Family Feast: A tradition of giving

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md- --

At the Air Force Basic Training site in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, trainees are given the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with local families. But what about the Airmen who’ve graduated and are sitting in the technical school dorms with nowhere to go for the holidays?

Thankfully for these Airmen, a squadron of analyst came together and created Operation Family Feast.

“Operation Family Feast was designed to ensure Technical Training Airmen from Joint Base San Antonio had a place to enjoy Thanksgiving,” said Staff Sgt. John, 75th Intelligence Squadron analyst. “We put this program together in 2016 after learning that the technical training students would not be able to participate in Operation Home Cooking (the program for Basic Military Trainees) as they had in the past.”

Banding together 17 Airmen, civilians, spouses along with squadron leadership, the 75th IS was able to open their homes and give the gift of giving. Ensuring that no Airman was left behind, 306 bellies from two training groups to be exact.

“Our program pairs Airmen in technical training status with Department of Defense affiliated families from around San Antonio,” explained Nicole, 75th IS Analyst... “This includes military, both currently serving and retired, as well as government civilians.  Our program intends to express gratitude to those choosing to be brothers and sisters in arms.”

The group began this new tradition understanding that being away from home and loved ones during the holidays can be rough. Even for those young Airmen who could be experiencing this for the first time.

Nicole mentioned that the program aims to show the Airmen that being part of the Air Force family means taking care of each other.  

“Hopefully they had a positive experience that will set the tone for the start of their Air Force career,” Nicole said. “As squadron members, coming together to be there for over 300 Airmen is not only a very rewarding experience, but also fortifies our own bonds of Wingmanship.”

Because of their olive branch approach, the squadron has created a trusting bond with the training groups who’ve asked for the program to carry on. As 2017 is in the rear view mirror, the 75th IS is already coordinating 2018 to create new memories.

“Watching Happy Airmen leave with a family is always a great moment,” said Staff Sgt. Dillon, 75th IS analyst... “It’s also nice to see how excited the families are to host the Airmen as they detail everything they have planned and all the food they’ve prepared.”

Throughout the Air Combat Command,’ Airmen are finding ways to innovate and bring the future faster. These Airmen have made it a bench mark to start building and improving Americas’ future Airmen with a sense of community and family.