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Diversity highlighted at wing’s first Culture Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shelby Kay-Fantozzi
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Air Commandos gathered to celebrate the 27th Special Operations Wing’s inaugural Culture day, the combined celebration of ten Department of Defense special or ethnic observance months, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Friday.

“Special and ethnic observances are an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and fellow Air Commandos we work with every day,” said Col. Ben Maitre, 27th Special Operations Wing commander. “Today, we are recognizing those observances and taking time to celebrate that it takes Airmen from all backgrounds to get the mission done.”

Culture day began with an “amazing race” event that sent teams of Air Commandos across Cannon to compete in physical and knowledge-based challenges.

After lauding the 16th Special Operations Squadron, the winners of the amazing race, Maitre kicked off an afternoon fair that featured booths from ten observance months. The booths included food, games, crafts, giveaways and the chance to learn something new about one of the many ethnic and cultural groups represented.

“Volunteering at the LGBT Pride Month booth was a chance for me to network with people I had something in common with and interact with the base as a whole,” said Airman Christian Brian, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment specialist. “I feel like there are people out here that would want to know that there are others on base that will support them for who and what they are.”

Bryan participated in one of ten cultural committees led by Capt. Giselle Rieschick, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron diagnostic imaging & laboratory flight commander, and Tech. Sgt. Kshena Fuentes, 27th Special Operations Aeromedical and Dental Squadron independent duty medical technician.

“Since this was our first year of planning this event, we were nervous about getting all the pieces right,” said Fuentes. “Ultimately, the day went very well. We had an excellent turnout, and everyone we talked to during and after the event was really excited about it.”

Planners of the wing’s first Culture Day are hopeful that the event will continue and grow in the future.

“We’ll have to do a lot to top this year’s event in 2017,” said Fuentes. “We were able to be that benchmark—now we’re looking forward to see what they think of next.”

To learn more about DoD Observances in 2016, visit