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Dorm Airmen take a trip on the wild side of Tampa

by Airman Jose Climaco
Thunderbolt staff writer

The wildlife in Florida's outdoors is plentiful and a MacDill first sergeant gave dorm residents the opportunity to experience it first-hand.

Master Sgt. Dale Steen, 6th Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant took nine dorm residents on a trip to John B. Sargeant Sr. Memorial Park to canoe in the Hillsborough River March 11. The trip was sponsored by MacDill's First Sergeant's Council.

Sergeant Steen said he canoes there about twice a month with his wife and thought the dorm residents might enjoy the trip. The river is slow-moving, relaxing, quiet and pleasant. It provides a unique chance for people to closely see several species of wildlife in their natural habitat such as alligators, turtles, fish, birds and snakes.

Airmen rode in a van from MacDill to John B. Sargeant Sr. Memorial Park, which gave them a chance to get acquainted with new faces.

At the park, Sergeant Steen briefed the Airmen about canoe safety and what to expect once on the river such as someone falling off a canoe.

The Airmen launched the canoes along with the first sergeant, which were provided by Outdoor Recreation, and spent almost two hours in the river. The group maneuvered their canoes around the twists and turns of the river and the obstacles in it such as trees and logs.

"Along the way we encountered several alligators as well as different kinds of birds. I really enjoyed seeing the wildlife and how quiet it was," said Airman 1st Class Justin Smith, 6th Operations Support Squadron operations intelligence apprentice.

The trip was a success because Airmen had fun and respected the wildlife, said the first sergeant.

Airman Smith said he signed up for the canoe trip because he thought it was a good opportunity to meet other Airmen, see some wildlife and spend time outdoors seeing a part of Florida other than the city.

"It was a nice time, and a good trip to go out and see a part of Florida that I don't normally see in person. I recommend anyone to go out and try it if the opportunity presents itself again," he added enthusiastically.

Sergeant Steen said he wants Airmen to know the First Sergeant's Council is committed to making dorm life better for Airmen here by planning quarterly activities. Those activities may vary, but Airmen should expect a pleasant time with each other and first sergeants involved with activities they normally wouldn't do.




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