by Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs
6/4/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Service
members, families and Department of Defense civilian employees are
honored for their services and sacrifices at the 2015 Military
Appreciation Picnic on JBER Friday.
The annual picnic takes place at both Cottonwood and Paxton Parks from
11 a.m. to 2 pm. They will feature food, static displays, bounce houses,
pony rides, games and more, sponsored by the Anchorage Chamber of
Commerce and various JBER private organizations.
"It has been three months of planning, working with more than 12
different units and organizations. 17 committee members have worked
countless hours coordinating and organizing different aspects of the
picnic," said coordinator Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Thomas, 732nd
Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, and a native of
Youngstown, Ohio. "We hope the military members and their families
enjoy the day."
There is a petting zoo at Cottonwood Park, as well as a climbing wall,
bounce house and football. Paxton Park will include a boxing ring,
obstacle course and basketball. Balloon animals and face painting will
take place at both parks.
The Arctic Warrior Olympics are also taking place across the
installation, including events such as archery, bowling, a canoe race,
softball, dodgeball, golf, paintball and more.
Please visit www.tinyurl.com/p4rukh3 for information on when and where
the Olympic events are taking place throughout the day, or select the
events calendar on the far right of JBER's homepage, choose June 5 on
the calendar, and select the flyer.
Events also include the 2015 U.S. Army Alaska Combatives Tournament,
sponsored by the Arctic Warrior Combatives Academy. Intermediate,
semi-finals and finals begin at 9 a.m. at Buckner Physical Fitness
"We're doing this to hone warrior skills, exhibit the warrior ethos and
further the warrior's mindset across USARAK," said Army Staff Sgt.
Matthew Jones, senior instructor and interim chief of training at the
combatives academy, as well as the tournament director, and a native of
"People will watch everything starting from standard bouts on up.
Soldiers will compete in their weight class with first place, second
place or third place medals for individual weight classes; the team will
receive a 2015 Combatives Tournament trophy. This will help people see
Soldiers demonstrating their techniques in the crucible of combat
showing our superiority in hand-to-hand combat."
For more information about the tournament, please contact the Arctic
Warrior Combatives Academy 384-0292 or the Buckner Physical Fitness
Center at 384-1308.
The activities are a chance for service members to get out and enjoy some time with their families, away from work.
The picnics are part of Military Appreciation Week, during which various
establishments throughout the community offer specials, discounts and
other events in support of the military.
"This is the state's largest military appreciation event, bringing
together local citizens in an effort to support and celebrate our
military community and to say 'thank you' for their sacrifice and
commitment for freedom," said Anchorage Chamber of Commerce president
"Events like [this] truly demonstrate what it means to be a community
and support each other. It's heart-warming to see Anchorage Chamber
members come together to thank those who do so much for our country and
The Chamber's Military Appreciation Week is designed to give local
businesses and community leaders an opportunity to show support to
service members in the Anchorage area, representatives said.
"It is awesome to be at a base where the community wants to do something
for the military," Thomas said. "Before coming to JBER I hadn't been at
a base that would do that, so having the community come in and do
something for us is an awesome thing."