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Jefferson Barracks Family Day strengthens and builds support

Through the course of the Missouri Air National Guard’s Jefferson Barracks Family Day, more than 600 Citizen Airmen and their Families from the 157th Air Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, 231st Civil Engineering Flight and 239th Combat Communications Squadron participated in family friendly events, September 13, 2015.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

Through the course of the Missouri Air National Guard’s Jefferson Barracks Family Day, more than 600 Citizen Airmen and their Families from the 157th Air Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, 231st Civil Engineering Flight and 239th Combat Communications Squadron participated in family friendly events, September 13, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

Through the course of the Missouri Air National Guard’s Jefferson Barracks Family Day, more than 600 Citizen Airmen and their Families from the 157th Air Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, 231st Civil Engineering Flight and 239th Combat Communications Squadron participated in family friendly events, September 13, 2015.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

Through the course of the Missouri Air National Guard’s Jefferson Barracks Family Day, more than 600 Citizen Airmen and their Families from the 157th Air Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, 231st Civil Engineering Flight and 239th Combat Communications Squadron participated in family friendly events, September 13, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

During the Jefferson Barracks Family Picnic, Staff Sgt. Zane Wilms re-enlisted as a knowledge operations manager with 157th Air Operations Group commander, Col. Richard Chapman on September 13, 2015. Liberty, a bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary stood watch during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

During the Jefferson Barracks Family Picnic, Staff Sgt. Zane Wilms re-enlisted as a knowledge operations manager with 157th Air Operations Group commander, Col. Richard Chapman on September 13, 2015. Liberty, a bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary stood watch during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

JEFFERSON BARRACKS, Missouri -- From ponies to puppies, kids and families spent their time racing across the parade field to take part in the fun. The air had a crisp fall breeze that swept through Jefferson Barracks along with the melodic sounds of the Waterloo German Band at the Family Picnic.  

Through the course of the Missouri Air National Guard's Jefferson Barracks Family Day, more than 600 Citizen Airmen and their Families from the 157th Air Operations Group, 131st Bomb Wing, 231st Civil Engineering Flight and 239th Combat Communications Squadron shared in the September unit training assembly here to build morale.

"We want to reward the families and show them what we do every day," said Lt. Col. Mark Bradley, deputy commander of the 131st Bomb Wing Mission Support Group. "Without families our Airmen wouldn't be able to do their job, and we just want to be able to thank them for their support."

Families were able to enjoy several exhibits, which included three birds from the World Bird Sanctuary, Purina Farms dog show, in addition to the bounce houses, and pony rides that were available.

"I plan all year long for the kids," said Staff Sgt. Rebecca Conrey, one of the event organizers and chaplain assistant at the 157th AOG. "Seeing it all come together and the families enjoying themselves is the best part of planning the whole event."

Col. Richard Chapman, commander of the 157th AOG gave his commander's coin to several members of Jefferson Barracks for their hard work and dedication to the planning of the event.

Master Sgt. Joseph Brand, 131st BW; Tech. Sgt. Matthew Jones, 239th CCS; Staff Sgt. Rebecca Conrey, 157th AOG; Master Sgt. Brian Schwartz; 131st CE were recognized for extensive planning and support to the Family Day event.

In addition to the fun that the picnic brought, it also came with a re-enlistment and a new Guard family member that Liberty the bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary was the guest of honor. Staff Sgt. Zane Wilms re-enlisted with the 157th AOG and Staff Sgt. Christopher Rohloff enlisted with the 239th CCS from active duty.

"There's nothing more patriotic," said Wilms about being sworn in at Jefferson Barracks by his commander with a bald eagle at the helm. "It was an honor to re-enlist with this unit on family day."