California Air National Guard Wingmen share thankful thoughts at annual Thanksgiving Meal

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U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Julie Avey

As the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie fills the air, and fall tablescapes are created, we often reflect on what we have in our lives for which we give thanks. During this year’s annual Thanksgiving feast at the 163rd Attack Wing, March Air Reserve Base, California, several Airmen took part in sharing a meal and telling what they are most grateful for as the holiday approaches.

“This month is Thanksgiving, and what I am really thankful for is God being in my life, for providing me with a beautiful family, a roof on top of my head, and the Lord providing me the essentials in life,” said Tech. Sgt. Jay Fontelera, vehicle operator and dispatcher, 163rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.  “I am also thankful for being in this wing and for its contributions.”

Every year during the November Unit Training Assembly, the 163rd Force Support Squadron (FSS) hosts a Thanksgiving luncheon for wing members to celebrate the holiday together. The 163rd Sustainment Services Flight (SSF) has been serving Thanksgiving meals during the November drill since 2003. 

“It has become a family tradition here at the 163td wing because we are all family,” said Capt. Jennifer Covington, 163 ATKW SSF officer-in-charge. “We serve as brothers- and sisters-in-arms (and) this allows us time to share special, life moments together. We do not always see each other throughout the year, unless we are deployed together or on orders serving in the state, due to being traditional Guardsmen.”

The SSF personnel are required to train and be prepared to cook in civil support emergencies as well as overseas deployments. The FSS members not only serve a Thanksgiving “morale” meal to the Airmen, but they also are then able to train feeding multiple troops at one time.

Months before this year’s morale meal was served, the 163 FSS Airmen had to do some repairs to the building.

“This past July we found ourselves in our own mini-flood due to heavy rain in the area, and we were able to clean up the damages,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Gaygay, 163 FSS. “The building required clean-up, more than we anticipated. This year we were thankful the meal could be catered to continue the tradition.”

“I am thankful for every day I wake up. I think we should take advantage of life whenever we have the opportunity,” said Senior Airman Blas Garcia, 163rd Security Forces Squadron (SFS). “I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my brothers-in-arms and everyone overseas.”

“It’s Thanksgiving this month so I would like to give thanks to my wife and my two beautiful little girls for supporting me in the military,” said Senior Airman Joseph Trujillo, 163rd Services Squadron. “I’m also very thankful for joining the honor guard, and for being awarded (their) Airman-of-the-Year.”

“I am thankful for being able to be with my family, most importantly my older brother, younger brother, sister, parents and other immediate family,” said Airman First Class Kyle Staple, 163rd Communications Squadron (CS). “It is a rare time these days for families to all be together so I am thankful, and hopefully they will bring me lots of turkey.”

“I am thankful for my family, my job and my health,” said Senior Airman Joshua Johns, 163 SFS. “Thankful for everyone deployed protecting us right now.”

“I’m very thankful for being able to spend Thanksgiving with my family who is normally traveling all over the states,” said Staff Sgt. Zakia Webster, 163 FSS. “I am grateful for being able to be in the honor guard to work in the community and serve those who are less fortunate. I am very grateful to be a part of that.”

“This is my first year without my parents at Thanksgiving as they have decided to retire and move, but I am thankful I will be spending the holidays with my little girls and husband at my sister’s house, said Tech. Sgt. Melissa Crow, 163 CS. “ I would like to shout out to my parents (for whom) I am thankful.”