PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
As the 3rd Space Operations Squadron chapter closes, they celebrated their achievements and unit members during a dining-out prior to merging with the 4th Operations Squadron next month.
The ceremony, themed “Closing Time,” the event theme, was held at Peterson Air Force Base Club, Saturday, May 20.
“This is our 25 year anniversary since 3 SOPS became an individual, functional unit,” said Capt. Wesley Althaus, 3 SOPS Weapons and Tactics flight commander. “However, we trace our roots back to the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron that flew imaging missions in the Pacific during World War II. We're celebrating our unit's heritage since that time.”
A dining-out is an ancient tradition, which has been passed down through generations. It is a variant of the dining-in, which dates back hundreds of years when militaries held feasts to honor victories and unit achievements. Today, dining-outs are formal events used to strengthen unit esprit de corps, build working relationships and create an atmosphere of good fellowship.
“This event was in the planning phase since last December,” Althaus said. “I'm the arrangements officer for the events, so I oversaw the committee throughout the planning and execution phases of making the event happen. We have a lot of motivated people, both officer and enlisted, that stepped up and did an awesome job pulling this off.”
During a dining-out, the grog is often the centerpiece of the occasion. Squadron flight commanders all poured various ingredients in the two grogs present. They remained open throughout the duration of dinner, and anyone in the mess could have been called out for mess rule violations.
After dinner was served, the squadron proceeded with a cake cutting ceremony and showed a 3 SOPS heritage video to attendees.
“It was an amazing time,” said Senior Airman Yakov Kim, 50th Operations Support Squadron course manager. “It was great to see some of the past members of the 3 SOPS family and hear their stories. My favorite part of the event was seeing the video. It showed the heritage of 3 SOPS as a photo reconnaissance squadron in World War II. It was humbling to see their sacrifice, innovation and their contribution to the war effort.”
Maj. Gen. Clinton Crosier, U.S. Strategic Command Director of Plans and Policy, was the guest speaker for the night. He discussed his time as a 3 SOPS member and the importance of remembering and celebrating their rich heritage.
“In 1992, your squadron was born,” Crosier said. “Things change, but legacy lives on. When you look back, do so with fondness and ensure that your combined legacy drives the future for those who come after you so they can inherit and benefit from all you have done. Come June, we are one team, one fight and go 4 SOPS, go.”
According to Althaus, this event was bittersweet for the squadron.
“We made a big effort to invite former squadron members to attend since this is our last dining-out. We had both former and current members attending, including former commanders and a retired chief master sergeant who served in the first SATCOM operations squadron back in the 1960's. This event gives everyone who has been a part of our mission through the years to come together and have one last night together.”
The 3 SOPS inactivation and change of command ceremony for the new merged 4 SOPS is scheduled to take place June 13.