Operation Resolute provides a day of respite for special tactics families

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lisa Ray
  • 440th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

It was a day of sunshine, laughter and cheers Oct. 4 for more than 300 Airmen and family members from the squadrons in the 24th Special Operations Wing from Fort Bragg, who were hosted by Operation Resolute for a day of fun and fellowship at the North Carolina Zoo.

At a pavilion area outside the park, parents offered hugs as greetings to old friends and spent time catching up as their children ran and played with each other in the grass.

The families gathered together for a presentation from the zookeeper where they got to see a live turtle, snake, and even an owl. They learned about why the turtle can’t come out of its shell, how snakes move and how owls turn their heads so far around.

After the presentation, lunch was served and families sat together at picnic tables in the shade to share a meal before heading into the zoo to check out the exhibits.

Many of the spouses of deployed Airmen sat together and talked about how nice it was to have an outing like this to reconnect with one another.
Joel McDaniel, the Founder and Executive Director of Operation Resolute said that connection is exactly what Operation Resolute is all about.
Inspiration for the nonprofit came in 2012 after a visit to Hurlbert Field. He talked with leadership there about resiliency programs and how valuable they are to the mission.

 “This is significant,” McDaniel said. He knew there were Individuals that wanted to support the military.

“They are looking for a path, a way to give back,” he said. McDaniel found a way for his non-profit organization to formally partner with the military leadership and navigate a relationship through the military chaplains that fosters and supports resiliency for Airmen.

A wife of a deployed Special Tactics Airmen said she and her two-year-old daughter made a mommy-daughter day out of the zoo trip. They went to breakfast, did the zoo trip and then went to dinner together afterward.

“Deployments can be stressful, not only for the Airman, but for the family back at home. It was nice to not think about the worries for the day and just have fun,“ she said. Later that night, her two-year-old told her deployed daddy about all the animals she saw.

In addition to outings like the zoo visit, Operation Resolute works with chaplains of deployed Special Tactics units to offer mid-deployment weekend events for families.

 "Preservation of force and families is our number one priority here at home," Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Dixon, 24 SOW command chief, said. "Our Airmen and their families are the backbone to our operations...without them, we can't succeed."

The welfare of service members and their families is critical to Air Force Special Operation Command’s readiness and our ability to accomplish the mission.

"Providing opportunities like this for families is not only a good idea, but it is a moral imperative to taking care of our Airmen and families," Maj. Chad Bellamy, 24 SOW chaplain who helped coordinate the event, said.