Group members honor spouses' contributions, sacrifices

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
More than 50 members of the 353rd Special Operations Group gathered for an "Evening of Appreciation" at the Kadena Officers' Club here May 9.

The event was planned by Cocoa Williams and other spouses from the group to celebrate and honor military spouses for their daily contributions and selfless sacrifice supporting the military members. It featured live music from the Indigo Jazz Band, speeches by Col. David Mullins, the 353rd SOG commander, Marianne Williams and Krystal Roebuck, a song by Monique Cecava, a poetry reading by Jennifer Mullins, dinner and dancing.

"I see from many angles the contributions, sacrifices and efforts our special ops spouses endure each and every day," said Cocoa Williams, the wife of Lt. Col. Neicko Williams, the 353rd Operations Support Squadron commander. "Since our spouses give so much, I wanted to take this time to give something back to them. They deserve it so much."

Col. Mullins kicked off the evening with a brief speech noting the difficulties military spouses and families endure and their importance to the success of the men and women in uniform.

"We could not do what we do without you," he said. "Not matter what we're going through you're right there by our side. My wife and children have meant the world to me. I know I would not be where I am today without them. I think it's safe to say all of us in uniform feel the same way."

Marianne Williams, the wife of Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, the 18th Wing commander, also spoke at the event and offered advice and thanks to the spouses in attendance. The self-proclaimed "seasoned" spouse said she encourages spouses to live by what she calls her "three be's:" be yourself, be involved and be thankful. She also urged spouses to continue their unwavering support noting how tough it can be sometimes.

"You may not be able to do it all, but we are grateful for all you do," she said.

The general's wife wasn't the only person May 9 to show appreciation. Cocoa Williams noted the comments she received and the smiles, applause, laughter, and conversation that flowed effortlessly around the room proved everyone in attendance really enjoyed themselves.

"It was extremely rewarding for me to see everyone having such a good time," she said. "My intended purpose for this event was to shine the spotlight on our special ops spouses. From the beginning, entering through the balloon entrance archway, during the program, and afterwards, celebrating on the dance floor, we did just that."