Liberty Wing hosts second kayaking event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shayna Hodge
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 512th Airlift Wing held its second kayaking event June 12 at Trap Pond State Park in Laurel, Delaware.

Team Dover’s senior leaders, honorary commanders and their families fellowshipped at the community event. In addition to kayaking, participants canoed, took pontoon boat tours, played games and ate lunch at the park.

“Getting together outdoors and having fun today was a great opportunity for us to socialize, have fun and get to know each other better,” said Col. Greg Haynes, the 512th AW commander. “Seeing smiles on everyone’s faces was the best part of the day.”

Honorary commanders are civic leaders who are partnered with unit commanders to be unofficial spokespersons for the Air Force, Airmen and their families. Ray Bivens, the Delaware State Parks director and the honorary commander assigned to Haynes, helped coordinate the Liberty Wing’s visit to Trap Pond State Park.

Haynes previously explained his love for the outdoors and his desire to plan a unique activity for Team Dover and the community, which inspired the 512th AW’s first kayaking event in September 2020.

This year’s event included a relay race, which involved two teams kayaking around a designated buoy as fast as possible.

“I participated in the relay race even though I was super reluctant to volunteer,” said Col. Dorneen Shipp, the 512th Maintenance Group commander. “I’m glad I did, because the race was great fun.”

Col. Shanon Anderson, the 436th AW vice commander, was a member of the winning team.

“We weren’t expecting a relay race, but it was a nice surprise and exemplary Total Force Integration,” he said. “We appreciated the invitation to participate in the 512th’s gathering and had a great time during the race and exploring the state park.”

Opening in the 1700s, Trap Pond State Park covers over 3,000 acres of land and is home to naturally occurring bald cypress trees, according to the park’s website. Base members and friends were able to kayak through the trees, which Bivens explained are a popular attraction at the park.

“I loved watching people’s eyes light up when they saw the giant cypresses,” he said.

Bivens also mentioned he enjoys being an honorary commander and is excited for future opportunities with the 512th AW.

“My experience as an honorary commander has opened my eyes to the sacrifices military members make,” he said. “Their service is appreciated, and (Delaware State Parks) looks forward to more events that integrate military and civilian life.”