Liberty Spouses Dining-In celebrates, unites spouse community

Spouses from the 493rd Fighter Squadron pose for a photo during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the event which consisited Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, skits, table decorations and costumes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Spouses from the 493rd Fighter Squadron pose for a photo during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the event which consisited Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, skits, table decorations and costumes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

48th Fighter Wing spouses mingle during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In social hour at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The movie-themed event gave spouses from around the wing the opportunity to interact with other participants both in their unit and across the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

48th Fighter Wing spouses mingle during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In social hour at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The movie-themed event gave spouses from around the wing the opportunity to interact with other participants both in their unit and across the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

48th Fighter Wing spouses attend the first-ever Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The movie-themed event gave spouses from around the wing the opportunity to interact with other participants both in their unit and across the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

48th Fighter Wing spouses attend the first-ever Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The movie-themed event gave spouses from around the wing the opportunity to interact with other participants both in their unit and across the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Diana Stuart, spouse of Col. Brian Stuart, 48th Maintenance Group commander, calls for her team during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the movie-themed event, which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, skits, costumes and table decorating table decorating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Diana Stuart, spouse of Col. Brian Stuart, 48th Maintenance Group commander, calls for her team during the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the movie-themed event, which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, skits, costumes and table decorating table decorating. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Spouses from the 48th Fighter Wing cheer during the movie-themed Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The event gave spouses the opportunity to interact with other participants, both in their unit and throughout the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Spouses from the 48th Fighter Wing cheer during the movie-themed Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. The event gave spouses the opportunity to interact with other participants, both in their unit and throughout the greater spouse community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Participants mingle during social hour at the movie-themed Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the event which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirt, table decorating, costumes and skits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Participants mingle during social hour at the movie-themed Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the event which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirt, table decorating, costumes and skits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Movie-inspired table decorations provided the back-drop for the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the movie-themed event which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, table decorating, costumes and skits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

Movie-inspired table decorations provided the back-drop for the Liberty Spouses Dining-In at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, May 8, 2015. More than 160 Liberty Wing spouses participated in the movie-themed event which consisited of Liberty Oscar competitions in spirit, table decorating, costumes and skits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin O’Shea/Released)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- More than 160 Lakenheath spouses gathered together here, May 8, to show their appreciation for one another at the first-ever Liberty Spouses Dining-In.

The dining-in theme, "A Night at the Movies," drove spouses to create teams within their squadrons or groups, choose a movie to represent their unit mission, and then plan table decorations, costumes and skits based on their film, in hopes of taking home a Liberty Oscar.

"The Spouses Dining-In initiates conversations amongst squadron spouses who may not normally be part of the group," said Dawn Novotny, wife of Col. Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander. "This conversation is just the beginning of creating interaction between not only squadron spouses, but also between units and teams across the wing."

While the dining-in was open to all DoD ID cardholders, the event was tailored to military spouses, to include active duty, civilian and dual-military couples. Spouse leadership at the wing and group levels developed the event to foster camaraderie in the greater spouse community.

Leading up to the event, spouses showed their team's pride by participating in the base's spirit week. Teams created themed signs and used sidewalk chalk to show off their unit's theme and mission. For Mara Jordan, spouse of Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Jordan, 48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron superintendent, the dining in was much more than a one-week event.

"I feel like it really brought a group of girls together that, I think, probably in any other circumstance, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet," Jordan said. "I think we had such a great bonding experience. Getting the ladies together in my squadron, it was really rewarding, and I think it will only get bigger and better every year."

At the end of the night, the Liberty Oscars went to:

Best Spirit: 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron for "Pitch Perfect"
Best Large Skit: 48th Maintenance Group for "Dirty Dancing"
Best Small Skit: 493rd Fighter Squadron for "Singing in the Rain"
Best Table Decorations:  48th Equipment Maintenance Squadron for "The Hangover"
Best Costumes: 48th Medical Group for "Willy Wonka"

"The spouses dining-in is spreading like wildfire throughout our military family," Novotny said. "You can look at YouTube or Facebook and find spouses from across the Air Force and our other services coming together to celebrate our fantastic military spouses. Bringing people together is important to me, and we look forward to making the Liberty Spouses Dining-In a tradition for years to come."