Commando spirit of teamwork in action

  • Published
  • By Col. Mark Johnson
  • 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group
Last week, Team Hurlburt marked the July 4 holiday with our annual Sound of Independence celebration.

The event was a huge success, despite the fact that we had to delay the fireworks show until the following evening due to the threat of severe weather.

I want to recognize the efforts of the Sound of Independence event coordinator, Ms. Jessica Epps, and her team: Mr. Nate Harris, Ms. Melanie Lerman, Mr. Jerry Romano, Mr. Zollie Ford, Mr. Reuben Garcia and the entire staff at the Outdoor Recreation Center for the great organization and coordination of the event.

While the weather delay was unpopular, it was the right call for the safety of everyone involved. It also highlighted the great commando attitude that Team Hurlburt displays when faced with challenges.

In this particular case, hundreds of Sound of Independence attendees jumped right in with the Force Support Squadron team to clean up the event area prior to the onset of the storm. Nobody asked these folks to help; they just saw a need and took action. The team effort enabled us to clear the beach area and remove all tents, tables, chairs and vendor displays in less than 40 minutes!

At the same time, our Logistics Readiness Squadron bus drivers quickly and efficiently shuttled patrons and vendors out of reach of the storm's path. Our Security Forces team ensured the orderly movement of the crowd and made certain that everyone made it to safety.

While we talked about the "rain plan" prior to the event, there was no way to "practice" for this scenario. However, because of the professionalism of everyone involved, there was no panic, no injury, and best of all, no damage to people or property.

The fireworks were delayed until Friday night, and with a fast marketing effort, word of the rescheduling got out and the beachfront was filled to see an amazing fireworks display. The 20-minute choreographed show dazzled the crowd and was certainly worth the wait. It highlighted a great family weekend and gave us all an opportunity to celebrate the freedom we are so lucky to have in our great nation.

The event was a success, not because of the efforts of any one person, or one squadron, but because of the effort of the entire base community and I offer my thanks to Team Hurlburt for making this event so successful!