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News > Andersen welcomes new vice commander
Following the departure of former 36th Wing vice commander, Col. Tod Fingal in June, members of Team Andersen recently welcomed Col. Don Drechsler into its fold. (U.S. Air Force Courtesy Photo)
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Andersen welcomes new vice commander

Posted 7/25/2011   Updated 7/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
36th Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2011 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Col. Don Drechsler comes to Team Andersen with a wealth of knowledge and experience having served as vice commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland AFB, N.M., arriving on Guam June 30th.

"The men and women of Team Andersen are fortunate to have someone of Colonel Drechsler's operational experience and strategic vision joining the leadership team of the 36th Wing," said Brig. Gen. John Doucette, 36th Wing commander. "We are looking forward to warmly welcoming his family to Team Andersen."

Immediately following his arrival, Colonel Drechsler immersed himself in the 36th Wing mission.

"I've been focusing most of my time on becoming acquainted with the mission and Airmen of this wing," Colonel Drechsler said. "It's important for me to get up to speed on what is happening around the command as soon as possible. To accomplish this, I've been doing some immersions and really getting to know the role each group plays in conducting successful operations on Andersen."

Though he originally joined the Air Force with a brief enlistment in mind, witnessing the potential of a military team to bind together for a common goal inspired him to pursue a career as an officer.

"I intended to serve my four years and move to industry. But when I was given the opportunity to spend two weeks at Langley Air Force Base as a cadet flying in F-15s, I saw the camaraderie shared between the maintainers and the flyers, everybody really working together for one purpose. It made me realize that this was something I wanted to do long term; the whole team was getting the aircraft off the ground, on time. It was amazing."

Today, Colonel Drechsler has flown both the B-2 and B-52. He has commanded at the squadron level and deployed in support of ongoing operations in Central and Southwest Asia serving in critical roles. Even with so many accomplishments under his belt, Colonel Drechsler looks forward to the experience he will gain in his new position.

"The incredible thing about Andersen is its growing mission and great Airmen," he said. "As the furthest west sovereign territory, it's a strategic base to operate from and Andersen's role in the joint fight will continue to grow."

"This base will play an ever more important role in the Air Force and the future of what our nation's strategic priorities are," he continued. "That's why I'm excited to be here. This base has come a long way and we will continue to move forward."

In addition to reaching new heights where the mission is concerned, the new vice commander looks forward to exploring his new island home, and taking advantage of opportunities to try new things.

"I'm hoping that people realize I do things other than work," Colonel Drechsler said, smiling. "If there's one thing I want Airmen here to know about me, it's that I believe in making the most of where you are; put your head in the mission while you're on-duty, really give it your all. And when you go home at the end of the day, have a great time. Be passionate and enjoy what you do and you will never look back with regret."

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