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379th EFSS holds safe 4th of July celebration amidst pandemic

Attendees of the 4th of July celebration play in a bean bag toss tournament, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Members of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together multiple events for their 4th of July celebration on Independence Day following strict Center for Disease Control guidance.

Attendees of the 4th of July celebration play in a bean bag toss tournament, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Members of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together multiple events for their 4th of July celebration on Independence Day following strict Center for Disease Control guidance. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment members Senior Airman Jeffery Pentland (left), Staff Sgt. Jake Stevens (middle) and Tech. Sgt. Kevin Lurbbert pose for a photo, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Service members across the installation attended events such as a bean bag toss tournament, a talent show and free food service at the Fox Sports Bar.

379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment members Senior Airman Jeffery Pentland (left), Staff Sgt. Jake Stevens (middle) and Tech. Sgt. Kevin Lurbbert pose for a photo, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Service members across the installation attended events such as a bean bag toss tournament, a talent show and free food service at the Fox Sports Bar. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

Service members participate in a donated meal event at the Fox Sports Bar, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Arby’s, Subway and Pizza hut were some of the establishments that offered free meals to service members to help celebrate the Independence Day holiday.

Service members participate in a donated meal event at the Fox Sports Bar, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Arby’s, Subway and Pizza hut were some of the establishments that offered free meals to service members to help celebrate the Independence Day holiday. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

A celebratory sign stands decorated at Memorial Plaza where people gathered to enjoy free music, food and company, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Members of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together multiple events for their 4th of July celebration on Independence Day following strict Center for Disease Control guidance.

A celebratory sign stands decorated at Memorial Plaza where people gathered to enjoy free music, food and company, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Members of the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together multiple events for their 4th of July celebration on Independence Day following strict Center for Disease Control guidance. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

Two service members grab free food at the Fox Sports Bar during an Independence Day celebration, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Food was provided free of charge to event attendees to celebrate America’s independence.

Two service members grab free food at the Fox Sports Bar during an Independence Day celebration, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Food was provided free of charge to event attendees to celebrate America’s independence. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

Service members stand for the National Anthem at the 4th of July Celebration’s Talent Show, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The talent show was one of multiple events hosted by the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron to celebrate the 4th of July following strict Center for Disease Control guidance to minimize exposure.

Service members stand for the National Anthem at the 4th of July Celebration’s Talent Show, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The talent show was one of multiple events hosted by the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron to celebrate the 4th of July following strict Center for Disease Control guidance to minimize exposure. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Rafael Beltran, 609th Air Operations Center chief of targets (left) and Capt. Donnie Redley, 609th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division executive officer (right) perform as a duet at the 4th of July Celebration’s Talent Show, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Beltran and Redley were one of many performances at the talent show that was put together by the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron and hosted by the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Bruce.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Rafael Beltran, 609th Air Operations Center chief of targets (left) and Capt. Donnie Redley, 609th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division executive officer (right) perform as a duet at the 4th of July Celebration’s Talent Show, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Beltran and Redley were one of many performances at the talent show that was put together by the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron and hosted by the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Bruce. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

Service members swim in the base pool during an Independence Day event, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. All patrons at the base pool had to follow social distancing and hygiene measures in an effort to diminish exposure during a pandemic.

Service members swim in the base pool during an Independence Day event, July 4, 2020, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. All patrons at the base pool had to follow social distancing and hygiene measures in an effort to diminish exposure during a pandemic. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Fejerang)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron put together several events in celebration of America’s independence on July 4, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Events, which were open to all service members and coalition partners, included a virtual 5k run, music and food at the Coalition Compound Memorial Plaza and a talent show. The most notable event – a concert performance by the music group “Train,” which was pre-recorded for service members and their families.

“The 379th EFSS as a team has coordinated with public health to provide morale boosting events to the base, which could also adhere to the [health protection condition] level requirements and Center for Disease Control guidelines,” explained Master. Sgt. Katina Wise, 379th EFSS community superintendent.

With a worldwide pandemic forcing people to change their day-to-day lives, service members at Al Udeid Air Base have felt that change in the form of quarantine procedures prior to reaching their assignment, extended deployments and physically-distanced eating establishments across the base. All 4th of July events required masks, and physical distancing when possible and in accordance with procedural guidelines to minimize exposure.

“Events like this are important while service members are deployed,” said Capt. Donnie Redley, 609th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division executive officer and performer in the 4th of July talent show. “They get Airmen together and build memories outside of the work environment.”

In the past, the 379th EFSS has provided live entertainment for deployed troops to celebrate the 4th of July; however, due to the pandemic the squadron got innovative and reached out to Armed Forces Entertainment to create a new entertainment experience. In the end, the AFE team provided a never-before-seen, pre-recorded concert by “Train.”

“Armed Forces Entertainment’s mission is to provide the best quality entertainment options even during a pandemic,” said Daniel Cook, AFE regional entertainment manager Southwest Asia and Africa. “We may not be able to provide live entertainment [due to pandemic constraints], but we are thinking outside-the-box with different uses of technology to bring the best entertainment to our troops for each holiday.”

The performance was released worldwide, July 2-4, 2020, for overseas installations to stream to their service members.

“The most important goal in planning was being able to bring activities with the highest amount of safety possible,” said Wise. “Without a healthy force, it is impossible to carry on the mission.”