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NASIC celebrates 50 years of Oktoberfest history

Members of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center compete in a Stein Raise competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. During the competition participants were challenged to see who would be the last one holding the mug of water.. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

Members of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center compete in a Stein Raise competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. During the competition participants were challenged to see who would be the last one holding the mug of water.. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

Team members from the Geospatial and Signatures Intelligence Group compete in a Tug-of-War competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s 50th Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. Members from the Space, Missiles and Forces Intelligence Group were declared the winners of the Oktoberfest Cup. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

Team members from the Geospatial and Signatures Intelligence Group compete in a Tug-of-War competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s 50th Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. Members from the Space, Missiles and Forces Intelligence Group were declared the winners of the Oktoberfest Cup. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

Members of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center compete in a log sawing competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s 50th Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. The groups of NASIC competed for bragging rights and the Oktoberfest Cup award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

Members of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center compete in a log sawing competition during the National Air and Space Intelligence Center’s 50th Oktoberfest on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2018. The groups of NASIC competed for bragging rights and the Oktoberfest Cup award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The National Air and Space Intelligence Center commemorated the 50th anniversary of the organization’s Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 21 at Bass Lake on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Hundreds of NASIC employees came out to the base’s recreation area to take part in German-style games, music and food sampling. The experience, while an annual tradition for NASIC, has deeper roots in Bavaria, Germany.

According to Rob Young, NASIC historian, the Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. The tradition of the NASIC Oktoberfest goes back to 1969 and the Foreign Technology Division.

“The early years of Oktoberfest were a huge deal and they had to limit the number of tickets to 1,500 because that's all the fire marshal would let in the Hangar in Area B,” Young said. “Our commander at the time was Col George Weinbrenner, and having spent many years in Europe, loved Oktoberfest and introduced it to his unit.”

At this year’s event, the Space, Missiles and Forces Intelligence Group placed first overall in a competition featuring NASIC groups racing to be the best in stein raising, keg toss, log saw, tug-of-war and a barrel race.

While the feats of strength and endurance were ongoing, the rest of the event attendees sampled traditional German fare from on-site food trucks and beer entries from NASIC’s own home brewers. The competition styles were limited to traditional Oktoberfest and Weizenbier to include Hefeweizen and Dunkelweizen beers, according to Capt. Mark Kim, the event’s main organizer.

Kim noted that the event was a popular addition and he has hopes the contest can continue.

“Dr. Tom Brehm, one of our squadron commanders, told me we used to do the competition in the past,” Kim said. “He asked us if we would consider trying it out again and we ran it through the wickets, got all the approvals and it went very well. Hopefully we can get the chance to do it again next year.”

With 50 years in the mirror, NASIC organizers were feeling reflective.

“Although not as large as it once was, Oktoberfest is still a wonderful opportunity to get together, eat, laugh and have fun with the traditional games, music and dress of an iconic celebration,” Young said.
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