News: 615th ASB comes through on Christmas party
Story by 1st Lt. Alun Thomas
FORT HOOD, Texas – The largest Christmas party within the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, took place Dec. 14, here, as Company B assembled an event that matched the biggest company in the brigade itself.
That meant an onslaught of detailed planning and time consuming arrangements, said Maj. Paul Mitchell, commander, Co. B, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, with the responsibilities delegated to all ranks.
“My job was simple; I came up with a concept and threw it out to my company, the spouses and our FRG (Family Readiness Group) took care of it,” Mitchell said. “All I had to do was sit back and watch.”
With the scope of the event encompassing utilizing the whole hangar and involving a static display of aircraft's, inflatable castles and volumes of tables and chairs, tensions were sometimes felt in the planning process, Mitchell said.
“A few weeks ago we had a meeting and I got a little frustrated, but I took a look around the room and remembered I’m used to planning with other officers who’ve been planning for 10 plus years,” Mitchell said. “For most of these guys it was their first time doing this and I apologized because it’s a learning experience.”
Mitchell said he expected some stumbles and falls along the way, so it wasn’t unexpected.
“It’s the best way to learn I think,” he continued. “I wonder how many other Pfc’s and specialists have done this? Not many … I’d put them up against any noncommissioned officer or officer when it comes to planning.”
Heavily involved in the process was Spc. Benjamin Benuck, from Pensacola, Fla., a UH-60 Black Hawk repairer, Co. B, who said he tried to participate in as many activities as possible.
“I did everything today from cook turkeys, to setting up decorations and placing the tables and chairs,” Benuck said. “We had a lot of ideas we wanted to do and I’ve been here since five o’ clock this morning providing general coordination.”
“I’ve been in (the Army) for a little while and have a taste for working late, but this has definitely been a new learning experience,” he added. “I’ve never planned or organized on such a big scale.”
Likewise for Benuck there were occasions where frustrations set in, especially when it seemed the original vision had been compromised.
“I just got married a few months ago so I understand the last minute planning aspect and I’m glad it came together,” he continued. “To see the end result is really satisfying. Working as a team is the way to go and one person shouldn’t have all the input.”
“Seeing the smiles of the faces of the families today is what counts,” Benuck said.
Also appreciative of the soldiers efforts was the company’s FRG representative Shannon Cesal, who said her role as chairperson of the party entailed grouping as many volunteers together to ensure the success of the event.
“Me and the Soldiers threw ideas back and forth and tried to see how many things we could do for this party,” Cesal said. “It was an honor to work with them.”
“They were amazing, so generous with their time and they really pulled through,” she added. “They made this day what it is – a success.”