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Operation Linebacker II: Team Andersen pays tribute to fallen heroes

The base honor guard team presents the colors while the National Anthem is played during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The base honor guard team presents the colors while the National Anthem is played during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The Guam Territorial band practices the Guam Hymn prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The Guam Territorial band practices the Guam Hymn prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The Guam Territorial band practices the Guam Hymn prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Ret. Senior Master Sgt. Gary “Boomer” Adams, speaks with attendees prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony observed the 41st anniversary of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus hugs an attendee prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McMamus was a B-52 Stratofortess navigator during Operation Linebacker II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus hugs an attendee prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McMamus was a B-52 Stratofortess navigator during Operation Linebacker II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Capt. Andrew Johnson leads retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus to his seat prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McMamus was a B-52 Stratofortess navigator during Operation Linebacker II, which took place in North Vietnam in December 1972. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Capt. Andrew Johnson leads retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus to his seat prior to the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McMamus was a B-52 Stratofortess navigator during Operation Linebacker II, which took place in North Vietnam in December 1972. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Thirty-three aircrew members from the 36th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron stand in formation to represent the 33 crewmembers who died during Operation Linebacker II Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The Linebacker II ceremony observed the 41st year of the campaign that led to the end of the Vietnam War and honored the sacrifice and commitment the service members made. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Thirty-three aircrew members from the 36th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron stand in formation to represent the 33 crewmembers who died during Operation Linebacker II Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The Linebacker II ceremony observed the 41st year of the campaign that led to the end of the Vietnam War and honored the sacrifice and commitment the service members made. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Master Sgt. Iain J. Morrison, 554th Red Horse Squadron engineering flight superintendent, plays “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in remembrance of service members who gave their lives in Operation Linebacker II. The ceremony observed the 41st year of the campaign that led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Master Sgt. Iain J. Morrison, 554th Red Horse Squadron engineering flight superintendent, plays “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in remembrance of service members who gave their lives in Operation Linebacker II. The ceremony observed the 41st year of the campaign that led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus watches as the ceremonial wreath is placed during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McManus was a B-52 Stratofortress navigator during Operation Linebacker II in 1972, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus watches as the ceremonial wreath is placed during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. McManus was a B-52 Stratofortress navigator during Operation Linebacker II in 1972, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus and Col. Reid Langdon, 36th Operations Group commander, render salutes after laying a wreath at the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony honored the sacrifices the service members made and observed the 41st year of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus and Col. Reid Langdon, 36th Operations Group commander, render salutes after laying a wreath at the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The ceremony honored the sacrifices the service members made and observed the 41st year of Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The base honor guard team lowers the flag to half-staff during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The flag will be at half-staff for 11 days, representing Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War in 1972. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)
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The base honor guard team lowers the flag to half-staff during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The flag will be at half-staff for 11 days, representing Operation Linebacker II, which led to the end of the Vietnam War in 1972. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

The base honor guard team stands at parade rest prior to performing the twenty-one-gun salute during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. In December 1972, bombers stationed at Andersen flew 729 sorties in 11 days for Operation Linebacker II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)
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The base honor guard team stands at parade rest prior to performing the twenty-one-gun salute during the Linebacker II ceremony Dec. 13, 2013, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. In December 1972, bombers stationed at Andersen flew 729 sorties in 11 days for Operation Linebacker II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Andersen Airmen attended the annual Operation Linebacker II remembrance ceremony at the Arc Light Memorial Park here Dec. 13 to honor Airmen who gave their lives in support of the Vietnam War.

Operation Linebacker II, also referred to as the "11-Day War," took place from Dec. 18 - Dec. 29, 1972. After an offer of a treaty between the United States and North Vietnam failed, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the bombing of North Vietnam. The goal was to bring the North Vietnamese government to negotiate with the U.S.

Though the operation was effective, the conflict cost many lives. During Operation Linebacker II, the dangerous bombing missions caused 33 U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield and Andersen-based B-52 Stratofortress crewmembers to be killed or left missing in action.

Surface-to-air missiles were launched in defense by the North Vietnamese, and 15 B-52s were lost to damage or crashes over North Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.

"Truly, their profession was peace and their instrument was war," said Col. Reid Langdon, 36th Operations Group commander. "Our profession is still the keeping of the peace, but our instrument is preparedness."

Andersen was the staging area for the largest accumulation of airpower in history during the operation. There was a large increase of Airmen and 153 B-52 aircraft took up nearly five miles of ramp space.

"B-52s lined the runway, and created a canopy over Arc Light (Blvd.) leading down to the commissary," said Retired Lt. Col. Charles "Chuck" McManus, guest speaker and B-52 navigator during Operation Linebacker II. "It was an incredible sight to see, there were so many people waiting to see them take off."

McManus emphasized the importance of sacrifice during the ceremony by speaking about two Airmen who acted heroically during the campaign.

Every December since Operation Linebacker II started 41 years ago; Andersen has honored the fallen warriors and will continue honoring their lives as a sentiment to their sacrifice.

"We gather here today to reflect on ... the accomplishments of those who participated in and gave the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Linebacker II," Langdon said during the ceremony. "May we all continue to rise to this challenge and to continue the legacy of extraordinary accomplishments and personal sacrifice for our great nation."