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    Task Force Pickett Celebrates the Holidays While Supporting Operation Allies Welcome

    Fort Pickett 5k Holiday Run

    Photo By Lance Cpl. David Intriago | U.S. Marines and Army Soldiers with Task Force Pickett gather on the starting line...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Gregory Dreibelbis 

    Operation Allies Welcome - Operation Allies Refuge   

    Task Force Pickett service members, deployed in support of Operation Allies Welcome, celebrated the holidays together with a variety of events on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, at Fort Pickett, Virginia.

    Holiday events included a Christmas brunch and dinner, religious services, a 5k “Jingle Bell Run,” basketball and volleyball tournaments, and televised holiday sports. Some service members with Task Force Pickett did not foresee being deployed for the holidays, but events were organized to ensure service members spent time together and had a home away from home.

    Following a Christmas brunch of scrambled eggs, pecan swirl French toast casserole, and tomato and basil frittata with mozzarella cheese, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors burned calories in the beloved holiday 5k tradition. Participants included Col. Quintin Jones, Commanding Officer of 23d Marine Regiment, and Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Wolan, regimental Sgt. Maj. Coming in first place, however, was Col. David Winnacker, deputy commander of 23d Marine Regiment, with a time of 18:51.

    “I enjoyed the opportunity to go out and participate in an athletic event with the Marines,” said Winnacker. “It’s always motivating and inspiring, but you feel like you’d be letting them down if you didn’t make them work for it too.”

    Service members participating in the 5k were motivated by “The Grinch,” also known as 1st Sgt. Melissa Cass, 919th Military Police Company 1st Sgt from the New Mexico National Guard. After having a turkey costume for a Thanksgiving 5k, Kass opted for a Grinch costume instead of the generic Santa.

    “There’s a mix of feelings that come with not being home for the holidays…it’s important to engage them, not just in typical military stuff, but light-hearted stuff,” said Kass.

    After an afternoon of basketball, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors enjoyed a Christmas dinner of maple-glazed ham, herb-roasted turkey, mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread stuffing. Task Force Pickett leadership took turns serving food, including Brig. Gen. Paul Craft, Commanding General of Task Force Pickett, Col. Jones and Sgt. Maj. Wolan.

    Some service members finished the day watching NFL games, but for many, it was another day of work.

    Approximately 1,300 service members, many of whom volunteered for the mission despite knowing it would mean time away from loved ones for the holidays, continue to provide support to Afghan evacuees as they go through the resettlement process and transition to a new life in the United States.



    Date Taken: 12.28.2021
    Date Posted: 12.28.2021 13:16
    Story ID: 412034
    Location: FORT PICKETT , VA, US 

    Web Views: 127
    Downloads: 0