Operation That’s My Dress hits Las Vegas

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Win Public Affairs

For many women the daily grind of military life can sometimes take its toll, leaving some feeling like they could use a day to get pampered. However, looking like a million bucks often comes at a cost not everyone can afford. But that is where the Las Vegas USO has stepped in, providing a day of appreciation for the women who sacrifice every day.

More than 800 Nellis and Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, active duty females, souses, and teenage daughters were treated like royalty as they participated in the 2015 Operation That's My Dress event on Aug. 29-30, 2015.

"This event was astonishing," said Col. James Chittenden, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander. "It was beyond any of our Airmen and their families wildest dreams."

About 1500 dresses in multiple sizes , all valued between $450 and $1,200, were available for ladies to choose from and each participant was allowed to take one dress home for free.

The day's event began with complementary hair and makeup sessions in preparation for the main event.

"The USO brought the New York runway to the families of Nellis and Creech," said Chittenden. "It was great to see all the smiling faces walking around."

Airmen and their families were wowed by the USO Show Troupe as they performed a song and dance routine while 25 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders modeled a selection of dresses donated by designer Sherri Hill, the event's primary sponsor.

After the show participants were assigned numbers for dress selection and partnered with one of the pageant contestants, where they then received fashion advice and had help picking out a dress.

"It was really cool to have her [Miss USA] help me pick a dress," said Paulina Hernandez, 15, step-daughter of Staff Sgt. Armando Irizary, 820th Red Horse
Squadron, Nellis AFB.

The day served as a huge thank you from local sponsors, it was also an opportunity for families and members to meet people who are facing similar situations.

"It was really cool to see women of every rank from Airman 1st Class to commander's wives here enjoying the event," said Kate Slawski, USO Las Vegas program director.

"Especially for our Creech families, we had women carpooling and making new friends, which is important when these women need a support system."

In addition to the moms and daughters in attendance dads were welcomed too. The event also featured (Sep.) U.S. Army, Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, Medal of Honor recipient.

"This is my second time doing this incredible event and I'm always so impressed with everyone," said Olivia Jordan, 2015 Miss USA. "These service women and the families are American heroes and deserve to be treated as such."

Slawski went on to say the USO Operation: That's My Dress! is another way to remind military families that they always have the support of the USO.