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379th EFSS holds safe 4th of July celebration amidst pandemic

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together several events in celebration of America’s independence on July 4, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.


Events, which were open to all service members and coalition partners, included a virtual 5k run, music and food at the Coalition Compound Memorial Plaza and a talent show. The most notable event – a concert performance by the music group “Train,” which was pre-recorded for service members and their families.


“The 379th EFSS as a team has coordinated with public health to provide morale boosting events to the base, which could also adhere to the [health protection condition] level requirements and Center for Disease Control guidelines,” explained Master. Sgt. Katina Wise, 379th EFSS community superintendent.


With a worldwide pandemic forcing people to change their day-to-day lives, service members at Al Udeid Air Base have felt that change in the form of quarantine procedures prior to reaching their assignment, extended deployments and physically-distanced eating establishments across the base. All 4th of July events required masks, and physical distancing when possible and in accordance with procedural guidelines to minimize exposure.


“Events like this are important while service members are deployed,” said Capt. Donnie Redley, 609th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division executive officer and performer in the 4th of July talent show. “They get Airmen together and build memories outside of the work environment.”


In the past, the 379th EFSS has provided live entertainment for deployed troops to celebrate the 4th of July; however, due to the pandemic the squadron got innovative and reached out to Armed Forces Entertainment to create a new entertainment experience. In the end, the AFE team provided a never-before-seen, pre-recorded concert by “Train.”


“Armed Forces Entertainment’s mission is to provide the best quality entertainment options even during a pandemic,” said Daniel Cook, AFE regional entertainment manager Southwest Asia and Africa. “We may not be able to provide live entertainment [due to pandemic constraints], but we are thinking outside-the-box with different uses of technology to bring the best entertainment to our troops for each holiday.”


The performance was released worldwide, July 2-4, 2020, for overseas installations to stream to their service members.


“The most important goal in planning was being able to bring activities with the highest amount of safety possible,” said Wise. “Without a healthy force, it is impossible to carry on the mission.”