Generations of reservists gather for wing picnic

  • Published
  • By Jeremy Larlee
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 512th Airlift Wing capped off the August unit training assembly resiliency day with a picnic that brought past, present and future members together.

The Liberty Wing Lollapalooza drew an attendance of 1,200 people. The event included: food trucks, explosive ordinance and military working dog demonstrations, C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III static displays, and numerous kid-friendly activities.

Master Sgt. Mercedes Jordan, 512th AW admin flight chief and Top 3 president, led event planning and started preparing in February. She said she was proud of how the picnic turned out, and it was a true team effort from people throughout the wing.

“We really locked it down and came together as a collective unit to make this happen today,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of full-time members, which made planning this challenging. But, we got contributions from every career field.”

Jordan said her team of 12 volunteers were key to hosting the picnic. Trainee George Kandakai was one of the volunteers and is a member of the 512th AW’s Development & Training Flight. Kandakai is scheduled to attend Air Force Basic Military Training in October and said he was excited to help at the picnic and learn more about the Liberty Wing.

“Being here today really reassures me that I’m making the right choice to join,” he said. “I may not directly work with everyone out here today; but, it feels great to already be making connections.”

Retired Lt. Col. Jeff Wickersham, who served as a 709th Airlift Squadron operations office, retired in 2021 and said he was enjoying reconnecting with old friends at the picnic.

“It has been a real great time today,” he said. “Theses folks out here are like family to me, and I’ve been having a lot of fun catching up with them.”

The event was a great way to end resiliency day said Lt. Col. Jason Pennypacker, acting 512th Operations Group commander.

“We don’t do this as often as we should, because we stay so busy with the mission,” he said. “It’s vital that we take care of each other and take a knee occasionally. It keeps morale up, and at the end of the day make us a stronger team.”

The picnic was the last event in the wing’s resiliency day, which also included a spouse orientation flight, a guest speaker and a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Flip Flop Walk.