DVIDS – News – Camp Casey/K-16 Air Base hosts annual tree lighting ceremonies for service members and families
CAMP CASEY/K-16, South Korea – United States Army Garrison Yongsan-Casey Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) held their annual tree lighting ceremonies for unaccompanied service members and families on Camp Casey Dec. 1 and K-16 Air Base Dec. 7.
The Casey event began with remarks from USAG Yongsan-Casey Commander Col. Loyd W. Brown, welcoming service members and guests from the Korean community.
“Events like this one where we come together in the spirit of giving, to light a tree and honor traditions; it’s a great way to bring two cultures together,” said Brown. “But more importantly to show the younger generation what a strong community with shared values looks like.”
During the event, students from the H.S. English Academy, Dongbo Elementary school and Dream/Woosung/Dongan local children’s center came to sing and perform for guests.
“It was really fun and beautiful, and it was amazing to perform on the stage and I want to come again next year,” said Chun, a student from H.S. English Academy. “I wish my [family] to stay healthy and friends to not fight with each other.”
After performances from students, Brown and USAG Yongsan-Casey Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. William Fritzinger presented awards to each representative of the performing groups and good neighbors for supporting the event.
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the ROK/U.S. Alliance, so for more than 70 years we have mutually invested and supported each other as any good neighbor would,” said Brown. “Events like this one truly have a special meaning in connecting us to our home but also strengthening our bonds with each other and our Korean partners.”
To complete the event, the command team and students lit the Christmas lights on the Camp Casey tree and entire impact zone area. Santa arrived in style on a fire truck and took photos with children with gifts and food supported by FMWR, community good neighbors and Army Community Services Camp Casey.
“It was really nice for this type of event to take place when soldiers are away from their families and be surrounded by people that they work with,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lauman, a soldier on Camp Casey. “I hope that it will be a growing tradition that happens over the next few years.”
The following week on K-16 Air Base, 8th Army Band and local Korean band Jubilee, opened the tree lighting event with Christmas music for service members and families to enjoy.
“My husband, my son and I are new here,” said Mariah Marshall, a service member’s spouse who attended the event. “Events like these are important to make us feel we’re back at home.”
Fritzinger gave remarks following the holiday entertainment thanking those who organized and attended the event.
“I would like to give a special thanks to the best FMWR team in the Pacific, this is a fact, and every single one of you who planned and organized this event,” said Fritzinger. “The positive impact the FMWR team has on quality of life and morale throughout our installations is immense and we are thankful for you this holiday season.”
K-16 Air Base also featured the arrival of Santa in a fire truck, cake cutting, photos with Santa and Christmas carols after the tree lighting with service members and families.
“This is a morale boost activity for soldiers and family members,” said Eric Yim, K-16 FMWR Program Manager. “We’re trying to provide lifelong memories for service members and their families while they’re stationed in Korea.”
The FMWR team organizes events across the Peninsula such as these to give service members, DoD civilians and families a sense of home while being thousands of miles away. Their mission of morale building and improving quality of life keeps spirits lifted during the holiday season while serving overseas.
Article by Pvt. Bryson Walker and KATUSA PFC. Lee, Min Kyu
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