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PHOTO CAPTION:  Sgt. James Spaulding, healthcare specialist, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, dances with his daughter Alyssa, 3, during the 7th annual Military Father Daughter Dance at the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs hotel, April 13, 2013. The Armed Services Young Men's Christian Association put on the dance to help dads and daughters strengthen bonds and create memories.  Photo Credit: Cpl. William Smith (4th ID)

April 17, 2013
By Cpl. William Smith (4th ID)

FORT CARSON, Colo. (April 13, 2013) -- Fathers held their daughters or twirled them around the dance floor, the young ladies dressed in gorgeous gowns, their eyes full of admiration for the dads that held them, as the lyrics to "My Girl" played from the stage.

The Armed Services Young Men's Christian Association hosted the 7th annual Military Father Daughter Dance at the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs hotel for dads and daughters to strengthen bonds April 13.

"The Father Daughter Dance is all about [dads] connecting with the daughters," said E. D Rucker, military outreach coordinator, Armed Services Young Men's Christian Association. "The Armed Services Y mission is to enhance the life of the active duty members and their Family. The dance is about them bonding; it is about the dad and the daughter having that time together."

Many of the fathers were glad that they had the chance to dance the night away with their daughters.

"Last year we were not able to come because I was in Afghanistan," said Capt. Derek Foster, commander, Company A, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

"With my many deployments, just being home is great, but being able to come to the dance with my daughters is just amazing," Foster said.

For some of the attendees the dance was the first chance to create memories.

"The bond and the memories that my daughter and I are creating are amazing," said Sgt James Spaulding, health care specialist, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, as he held his daughter, Alyssa, 3. "We don't have a lot of memories because I was deployed and this is the first daddy daughter date, first daddy daughter anything, the first of many."

Foster said that events like these help service members to reconnect with family after the long hours that they work.

"Your Family is always there for you, so take advantage of the time you get with them," Foster said.

Foster's daughters; Ruby, 12, and Gracie, 9, both said they felt excited that their dad was able to come to the dance, and are really happy to spend time with him.

The Y staff is all too glad to put events on that help service members.

"It is a beautiful thing, and is my favorite event that we put on," Rucker said. "Realizing what you military men and women do, seeing that you guys are so proud and your daughters are so proud that they are with their dads. When you see that it touches your heart, it just touches your heart."