From left, Republic of Singapore Air Force Lt. Col. Jin Kiat Tan, 428th Fighter Squadron senior ranking officer, U.S. Air Force Col. Chris Short, 366th Fighter Wing commander, and Mr. Tom Rist, mayor of Mountain Home, Idaho, watch while fireworks explode signifying the start of the 428th FS Chinese New Year celebration Feb. 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The celebration was held inside the ballroom of the Gunfighter Service Center to accommodate the more than 300 personnel in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christine Mau, 428th Fighter Squadron director of operations, along with fellow squadron members paint traditional Chinese characters as part of the squadron’s Chinese New Year celebration Feb. 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Throughout the evening there were games, prize raffles and musical performances. Personnel from MHAFB had the unique opportunity to attend the celebration and enjoy the traditional festivities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)
Two members from the 428th Fighter Squadron perform a traditional dance inside a dragon costume Feb. 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Chinese New Year festivities are some of the most important of the traditional Chinese celebrations, celebrating the beginning of a new year with wishes and hopes for good luck, good fortune, and wealth in the upcoming year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)
Buccaneers from the 428th Fighter Squadron toast each other at the conclusion of the Chinese New Year celebration Feb. 7, 2013, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. More than 300 personnel from across base attended the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)
by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/11/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Service members from the 428th Fighter Squadron and 366th Fighter Wing along with their families at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, came together Feb. 7, 2013, to celebrate the Chinese New Year - the year of the snake.
"The Chinese New Year festivities are some of the most important of the traditional Chinese celebrations, celebrating the beginning of a new year with wishes and hopes for good luck, good fortune, and wealth in the upcoming year," said Lt. Col. William Marshall, 428th Fighter Squadron commander. "Sharing in each other's cultures is an effective and important way to build and strengthen relationships at all levels and the servicemembers from the Republic of Singapore Air Force enjoy sharing some of their more significant and fun traditions with the Wing."
There were several traditional ceremonies performed in front of a crowd of more than 300 people.
"For us, Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and people will buy new clothes and decorations to celebrate it," said RSAF 1st Lt. Qin Rui Lee, Chinese New Year Committee 2013 chairman. "Also, families will thoroughly clean their homes, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck."
Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from the first to the 15th day of the first month on the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, the specific date is February 10, 2013.
"This holiday is widely celebrated in Singapore and is also communally celebrated by Singaporeans of every ethnicity," Lee said. "Being 8,000 miles away from home, we felt that it is important to bring all service men and women of Peace Carvin V program together and celebrate as one big family."
During dinner only the best delicacies will be served and children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and then receive money in red paper envelopes.
"The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone," Lee said. "The celebration will also enhance the camaraderie and esprit-de-corp within our unit.
They painted traditional Chinese characters and children sang songs while the audience clapped and sang along.
"I am personally excited to share my culture and our festivities with our American counterparts," Lee said. "I'm certain they will learn a lot more about the Chinese and Singapore culture through the celebration and further foster the bond between the two nations."
The holiday is about family and new beginnings.
"The Peace Carvin V program is about much more than just flying airplanes at Mountain Home AFB," Marshall said. "It is a strategic partnership for our nations with the goal of building not only capability but trust between our two countries. My thanks go out to the committee who put this all together and to all from the wing who came out to join us."