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WSSS “kicks it” with social distancing

An Airman kicks a ball.

A member of the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron kicks a ball toward the flag hole during a game of footgolf on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The purpose of the sport is to get the ball to the flag hole by foot, similar to how one would play soccer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

Airman stand on a hill.

Members of the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron participate in a game of footgolf at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The purpose of the event was to spread morale and let Airmen interact with each other while maintaining social distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

Airmen play footgolf.

Members of the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron walk the fairways in a game of footgolf at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The purpose of the event was to give Airmen a chance to get out, exercise and decompress, all while practicing social distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

An Airman drives a golf cart.

A member of the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron maneuvers a golf cart down a path during a footgolf event on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. Footgolf was selected as an alternative sport for Airmen to play because it allowed them to maintain social distancing while still having fun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

Leadership practice social distancing.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn M. Chamberlin, 377th Weapons System Security Squadron commander, left, and Col. Theodore Breuker, 377th Security Forces Group commander, practice social distancing during a footgolf event at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The event gave leadership an opportunity to see their Airmen and interact with them outside the normal work environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

An Airman kicks a ball.

A member of the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron kicks a ball during a game of footgolf at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. Airmen played in teams of four and the goal was to kick the soccer ball into the hole in as few attempts as possible. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

A defender plays footgolf.

A defender from the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron plays a game of footgolf at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. Footgolf was selected as an alternative sport for Airmen to play because it allowed them to maintain social distancing while still having fun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

Lt. Col. Chamberlin speaks to his Airmen.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn M. Chamberlin, 377th Weapons System Security Squadron commander, speaks to his Airmen before they play footgolf on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The purpose of the event was to give Airmen a chance to congregate, exercise and build rapport all while practicing social distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

A display of soccer balls.

A game of footgolf was held at the Tijeras Arroyo Golf Course on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The event gave Airmen a chance to congregate, exercise and build rapport, all while practicing social distancing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

Defenders play footgolf.
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Defenders from the 377th Weapons System Security Squadron play a game of footgolf at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020. The purpose of the sport is to get the ball to the flag hole by foot, similar to how one would play soccer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NM --

Members of the 377th Weapon Systems Security Squadron hosted a footgolf tournament at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, May 12, 2020.

The purpose of the event was to give Airmen a chance to congregate, exercise, and build rapport, all while practicing social distancing.

“We are getting the mission done, but we can’t get the mission done without the people, and as leaders, we are here for the people, so that’s why we are here today,” said 1st Lt. Kasper Gibes, 377th WSSS flight commander. “You have to think about these Airmen. They are providing security day and night, so we have to keep them motivated and push them forward so they don’t lose morale. Events like these show them fun and R&R from a normal day’s work.”

More than 60 Airmen from the WSSS participated in the event. Footgolf is a sport in which players kick a soccer ball into a cup in as few shots as possible. The name combines football and golf, but aligns more with golf.

“It was cool to get out and do something new, especially since we have been under these restrictions that has made life boring,” said Airman 1st Class Dayquan Woodard, 377th WSSS response force leader. “Feels good to know they care about us. They don’t have to care this much, but they do, and it makes me want to do more for them.”

Not only did the event give Airmen a chance to get out, exercise and decompress, it also gave 377th WSSS leadership the opportunity to see their Airmen and interact with them outside of the normal work environment.

“The military I joined is a family community,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Chamberlin, 377th WSSS commander. “If you’re not holding events for them you are missing the mark. These Airmen leave their homes and family to be a part of something, they just don’t want a J-O-B,” “They want to feel like they are a part of a community. How we do that is through events and make them feel important, because they are.”

According to Chamberlin, golf is one of the few sports that can still be played despite social distancing; but because most young Airmen don’t golf, footgolf was selected as an alternative. In order to conduct the event and remain safe participants wore masks and gloves during the morning rules brief and continued to practice social distancing throughout the event.

The 377th WSSS would like to make footgolf an annual event and thanked everyone who made the inaugural event a success.

“We have to thank the Force Support Squadron. They have been phenomenal; from allowing us to conduct this event, to buying soccer balls, Cappy the club manager for having the idea, and the United Fund for getting this paid for,” said Chamberlin. “They provided us with the opportunity to bring the Airmen out here and release some stress.”