Team Dover hosts history and tradition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shen-Chia Chu
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
Attending a ball evokes images of graceful dancing, exquisite cuisine and finely-dressed men and women.

The most familiar ball in the U.S. is the Inaugural Ball held after the inauguration of the president. Balls can serve to mark an important event, and the Air Force Ball is no different.

Team Dover celebrated the Air Force's 60th birthday last year and this year they will celebrate the Air Force Reserve's 60th anniversary as a separate service during the Air Force Ball Sept. 6.

"The Air Force Ball is a social institution that is reflected from civilian society that often held balls for social interaction, especially in the 19th century," said Lynn Gamma, Archivist of the Air Force History Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

The Air Force Ball celebrates the creation of the U.S. Air Force in September 1947, she said.

According to the Air Force Historical Studies Office at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., all military branches hold formal balls to celebrate the founding of that particular branch.

"All military services held formal balls as well, conducting a social gathering with food and music," said Ms. Gamma. "Consequently, the Army, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces, and now the Air Force, have continued to hold this event.

"There is no answer for when the first Air Force Ball began because it is a social gathering which does not require regulations, handbooks, manuals, or guides, except what is created by the social committee that sponsors the ball," said Ms. Gamma.

"The Air Force Ball is a ceremonial dance, like a civilian ball, but with an Air Force flavor, usually held on or near the anniversary of the Air Force in September of each year," said Donald Dufresne, 436th Airlift Wing protocol.

The night is formalized with a social-hour, calling the Ball to order, usually with chimes, guest introductions, a theme overview, formal meal, music and sometimes a guest speaker and dancing, he said.

"Over the last thirty years, I've attended many Balls - Air Force, Army and more," said Mr. Dufresne. "Each had its own theme which drove the night's activities."

Each base or unit commander can decide what will take place during the ball - music, food, dancing, and often, guest speakers are requested, but not every base holds a ball.

"I enjoy attending because they afforded me the opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow service members in a formal yet fun setting," said Mr. Dufresne. "Not every ball is the same, as local flavors cannot be fenced off to create one monolithic event that is the same from base-to-base, year-to-year because it would take the fun out of it.

"However, there are some usual functions that seem to be generally at all Air Force Balls: speeches, dinner, dancing, formal wear and a good time," he said.

Mr. Dufresne reminds Airmen attending the Air Force Ball to wear the proper attire such as Mess Dress, which is mandatory for officers, and optional for enlisted, or the semi-formal service dress. Civilian attire is a suit and tie for men and evening gown for women.

Team Dover will host the 2008 Air Force Ball Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel Champagne Ballroom. Aug. 22 is the last day to purchase tickets. The cost is $30 for E-6, GS-9 and above; $22 for E-5, GS-7 and below.

For information or tickets for the Air Force Ball, call the following Team Dover representatives:

- 436th and 512th Airlift Wings, Capt. Marnee Losurdo, 677-3485
- 512th Operations Group, Capt. Kelly Mount, 677-3806
- 512th Maintenance Group, Chief Master Sgt. Chris Ford, 677- 5805
- 512th Mission Support Group, Capt. Cathy Milhoan, 677-3482
- 512th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Senior Master Sergeant Rachael Gonesh, 677-2550
- 436th Mission Support Group, 2nd Lt. Christina Chung, 677-4911
- 436th Operations Group, Capt. Tomasz Stoklosa, 677-3619
- 436th Medical Group, Master Sergeant Scott Marshall, 677-2735
- 436th Maintenance Group, Master Sgt. Scottie Tadlock, 677-6131

(Master Sgt. Kevin Murphy, 436th Mission Support Squadron, contributed to this story)