JBB professional mixer sparks camaraderie between service members

Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
139th MPAD
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Leaders in all branches of service got some time to meet with each other Nov. 7 at the Joint Base Balad professional mixer in an effort for E-8’s and above to interact with each other in a social setting.

Team building exercises involving all service members, friendly card games and video game stations were set up all around DFAC 2 for the evening.

Air Force Capt. Markyves J. Valentin, quality assurance representative for the Defense Contract Management Agency said the idea came about because Army and Air Force do not normally get to interact with each other and the mixer gives everyone the opportunity to do so.

“This is a chance for them to relax, mingle and do some networking,” said Valentin, a Los Angeles, native. “Everyone looks like they are having fun here and that is the main purpose.”

Valentin said the mixer was an opportunity for Soldiers to talk about permanent change of station moves or share information from other people that may have been stationed at a particular base that they are going to after their deployment.

The evening began with a team building exercise in which different service members performed a line dance for their respective units with generals scoring their efforts.

The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) narrowly prevailed in the contest in which the winner had to be declared in a ‘dance off’.

Col. Knowles Y. Atchison, deputy commander for the 13th SC(E) and a participant in the line dance said this was a great opportunity to bring the base together so everybody gets the feel of knowing each other when they are walking down the street.

“Everyone needs balance in their life and everyone needs to laugh,” said Atchison. “What greater person to laugh at, then laugh at yourself first.”

Atchison said the mixer was a great morale booster for all service members deployed here.

“Most people are working 16-18 hour days here,” said Atchison. “It’s good to balance everything out with a few laughs now and then. This is actually a healthy environment and actually improves combat readiness, although we may look a little ridiculous as were clowning around.”

Pam Avery, a program analyst for the 49th Transportation Battalion and a New York, native, said this mixer was planned in just two weeks.

Avery, who is one of the coordinator’s said this event really took off.

“It exploded into something much bigger than we ever expected,” said Avery. “We are also planning something for the holidays.”

Avery urged people to respond to the invite the next time around.

“Some people did not respond to the email, and we have more people than we expected, so next time when people get the invite, please respond so we can plan accordingly,” said Avery.

Valentin said the goal is to have a mixer every month, and soon have events like these for enlisted members below the rank of E-8 as well.

Capt. Kristin S. Speers, liaison officer for the 593rd Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Lewis, Wash., said it was great to see so many people come out and participate in this event.

Speers, a coordinator of the event and Scottsboro, Ala., native, said that this was truly a joint effort that had everybody working well together.

“We had tremendous support for the amount of stuff we had to do to plan and the amount of time we had to do it in,” said Speers. “Everybody came together to make this event very successful and we would like to thank everybody for all their support.”

 

 

 

 

 

news photo
Members of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) participate in a team building exercise in which they were being judged on how well they can dance to “The Cupid Shuffle”. Members took first place in the contest which was held Nov. 7 at DFAC 2 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

news photo
Members of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) participate in a team building exercise in which they were being judged on how well they can dance to “The Cupid Shuffle”. Members took first place in the contest which was held Nov. 7 at DFAC 2 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

news photo
Second Lt. Matthew D. Hall, budget officer with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and Phoenix native enjoys a game of tennis on the Nintendo Wii with CW1 Yann R. Jugeat, maintenance chief with 699th Maintenance Company and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native. This was one of several events at the JBB professional mixer held Nov. 7 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

news photo
Second Lt. Matthew D. Hall, budget officer with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and Phoenix native enjoys a game of tennis on the Nintendo Wii with CW1 Yann R. Jugeat, maintenance chief with 699th Maintenance Company and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native. This was one of several events at the JBB professional mixer held Nov. 7 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.