07/25/04 — Fun days unite base and community leaders

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Fun days unite base and community leaders

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on July 25, 2004 8:22 AM

Paintballs splattered and sounded like firecrackers as they struck their targets.

Men and women in white coveralls maneuvered around the outdoor game area and were picked off one-by-one by members of the opposing team.

Local community leaders were taken out of their element Friday for a day of fun and fellowship at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The event, called Honorary Commander's Day, was a chance for the community leaders, or honorary commanders, to be paired up with new base commanders. The goal is for the partners to continue to keep in touch over the next year.

Brig. Gen. Rick Rosborg, 4th Fighter Wing commander, said the event celebrates the close relationship the base has with the city and county. He called the event a "fun marathon" and divided the participants into four teams.

They began the day by gathering in the base's new multi-purpose recreation facility, which is a log cabin-type building by the skeet range and is available for units to use for meetings and gatherings. Its furniture was designed by Seymour Johnson airmen.

Rosborg said the facility is the first phase of several new additions to the area. The second phase will be a new playground and a new skeet range.

"We are really excited about it," he said.

The event wrapped up the Honorary Commander's Program, which spanned all year and included an evening social in January; a Maintenance Group Day in April, where the leaders visited the simulator building, load barn and engine shop; a Mission Support Group Day in September, where they visited the fire department and security forces; and a Medical Group Day in October, where they visited the Health and Wellness Center.

After a briefing from Rosborg, the teams gathered for a safety briefing and to learn more about the rules of paintball. Trophies were given to the first-place paintball team and to the individual winners in skeet shooting.

Tony Worrell, chairman of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, has been through the Honorary Commander's Program several years and has enjoyed it every time.

"It's a really great program, because it brings everybody pretty close together," he said. "It makes it more personal."

He also expressed his appreciation for the job Rosborg has done in helping to continue the strong relationship between the base and community. "He has really worked hard to get the city and base together."

Worrell's counterpart for the year is Col. Mark Larson, deputy commander of the 4th Operations Group. Larson, who has only been stationed at Seymour Johnson for about a month, said the program provides a great opportunity for the new commanders to tell others about the base's mission and to learn more about the community.

"This is what it's all about," he said.

After the paintball and skeet shooting, everyone gathered at the Officer's Club for dinner.

"We need to continue this incredible partnership with downtown Goldsboro and Seymour Johnson," said Rosborg.