Story by Staff Sgt. Katherine Holt, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE — Operation Bright Holiday is helping more than 60 Airmen get home for the holidays.
It is an annual program that gives Airmen the financial ability to spend the holidays with their families.
“It was a great feeling knowing we are going to be able to assist all of the applicants with their travels this year,” said 2nd Lt. Christopher Sullivan, Operation Bright Holiday lead volunteer. “If we’re able to give some deserving Airmen that time to slow down and take a break and spend time with family then they’ll be ready and energized to come back and help with the mission.”
From airline tickets to gas money, Airmen were able to take advantage of the Company Grade Officers’ Council program.
One Airman who was selected, Senior Airman Youl Kwon Lang, 2nd Force Support Squadron individual personnel readiness technician, says the gift came as a welcome surprise.
“I am grateful for this program,” he said. “It is great for Airmen, especially those like me whose families live in another country.”
Lang is from South Korea, and with the help of Operation Bright Holiday, he is able to spend time with his parents, grandparents and extended family.
Operation Bright Holiday also provided funds to Airmen who already purchased their ticket. One Airman took advantage of this after he purchased his ticket home to Guam.
“It isn’t easy spending more than $2,000 on a ticket,” said SrA Junbryan Gunobgunob Samson, 608th Air Communications. “It’s not every day I can travel the 3,000 mile, 20-hour trip home.”
This trip will provide with an opportunity he hasn’t had in more than two years.
“For the past two holidays, my brother and I haven’t been able to see each other,” he said. “We saw each other for one day in May, so I am excited to spend all 17 days with him.”
According to his NCO in charge, Samson more than deserved this opportunity.
“He is a hard-working Airman, and I am happy I was able to submit him for this program,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Ringuette, 608th ACOMS NCO in charge. “He deserves the time off to be with his family.”
The project also gives members of the local community the opportunity to show their continued support for Barksdale. Community partners like the Military Affairs Council and Shreveport Bossier Supports Barksdale along with the CGOC’s biggest fundraiser, Oktoberfest, made sending these Airmen home possible.
“The very first year we did this completely on our own,” said Wes Anderson, former 2nd Bomb Wing vice commander. “About four years ago I reached out to other community partners like the Military Affairs Council to help send more Airmen home.”
Since then, the program has grown from sending a handful of Airmen home to all Airmen who apply for the program.