Airman 1st Class Stuart Bright
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — With the end of year upon us, it’s time to start making plans for the holidays. For some, making plans are simple, but for first term Airmen, the process for getting home can be difficult. Many of the first termers are away from home for the first time in their entire lives. To help make the transition from civilian to military life a little easier, the Company Grade Officer’s Council facilitates Operation Bright Holiday.
OBH is a program to help send Airmen home who cannot afford to, due to the rising cost of travel.
“We collect applications from different units on base for Airmen that are trying to request funding to go home for the holidays,” said 1st Lt. Alicia Gebele, 2nd Medical Group Resource Management Office flight commander.
“We review and grade all the submissions to fund transportation for as many deserving Airmen as possible.” Retired Col. West Anderson, previous 2nd Bomb Wing vice commander, founded OBH to do something for the Airmen here.
To help pay for Airmen to go home, he needed a way to raise money. To raise funds for OBH, the CGOC and the Barksdale Club host Oktoberfest, a festival of German food and drinks, and this year the Federal Bar North Louisiana chose to support OBH by hosting their annual clay pigeon shoot.
The more money raised from events, the more Airmen get the chance to travel home and see their families.
“Last year I was selected for OBH and it was really nice to be able to see my family, friends and loved ones,” said Airman 1st Class Kelsey Bachmeier, 2nd MDG pharmacy technician.
“I recommend OBH because I think it is important for new Airmen to go home for family time. Being able to go home gives them time to relax and wind down.”
For a chance to have the same experience as Bachmeier, an application needs to be submitted to your squadron first sergeant. After submitting the application, it is then reviewed by the CGOC and if selected, you will receive funds for transportation home.