Right Arm Night lets Soldiers unwind
Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Smith of Headquarters Command Battalion shows off his prize at Right Arm Night. Smith, who is leaving HCB to serve as the replacement for Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Mike W. Watkins in coming months, will be honored at a change of responsibility ceremony Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the Post Theater.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Sgt. 1st Class Buffie Hall was looking forward to hanging out with colleagues and winning some prizes - possibly even a scooter.

So Hall joined other Soldiers from the Installation Chaplain's Office for a night of fun and relaxation at Club Meade.

"I expect it to be lively," she said after entering the festively decorated ballroom.

And lively it was.

The Mardi Gras-themed Right Arm Night kicked off Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. with drinks, food, music, dancing, games and raffles. Prizes, including a motorized scooter, were given away throughout the evening.

The 704th Military Intelligence Brigade co-hosted the annual event with Club Meade for all units and offices on post. Acting Sgt. Maj. James Calder said the goal of the event was to promote camaraderie among all military ranks.

"Right Arm Night is supposed to be a time when bosses and their 'right arms' -- those who help them out -- can come and have a drink and enjoy some camaraderie," Calder said.

The event allows Soldiers to spend time together in an atmosphere that is different than the workplace.

"It's a rare chance we get to sit in this kind of relaxed environment and enjoy each other's company," Calder said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Walid Gabr of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group agreed that the party is a good time to build relationships within the units.

"It's a great event," he said. "Everybody brings their 'right arm' with them or their fellow Solider. It's not always you get an opportunity like that."

The loose and fun atmosphere also allows co-workers to get to know each other in a nonprofessional way.

"It's a good opportunity to hang out and relax," Spc. Mike Paolucci of the 308th Military Intelligence Battalion said. "You get to know [each other] on a personal basis."

Capt. Dan Shipley of the 308th Military Intelligence Battalion said he attended the event to meet people from other organizations from around the installation.

"It's good to see people from other units," he said.

Right Arm Night used to alternate quarterly with another camaraderie-building event -- Bring Your Boss Night. It is similar to Right Arm Night, but the subordinates salute their bosses. The next Bring Your Boss Night event will be in May.

Right Arm's strong turnout was larger than expected. "It was outstanding," Calder said, "easily twice as many as last time."

Among the event's big attractions were the raffles and games. Prizes ranged from purses and suitcases to watches and Valentine's Day gifts. Participants could even spin "The Price is Right" style wheel and win some cash.

Between 250 and 300 party-goers also witnessed a salsa demonstration by dancers from the Zumba class at Gaffney Fitness Center. The dancers spent three weeks preparing for their performance.

Despite the salsa dancers heating up the dance floor, it took a while before anyone else dared to make a move. But a dance competition later in the night enticed people to get up from their seats and over to the dance floor.

By 5:30 p.m., the room was packed so tightly that it was difficult to move around.

"I didn't expect there to be this many people, but that's amazing," said Gabr, whose unit brought about 75 Soldiers. "It's a great time."

To volunteer to co-host one of the quarterly events, units should call Club Meade at 301-677-6969.

Page last updated Thu February 10th, 2011 at 09:04