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Rota Drive Walk: a history, celebration

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Veronica McMahon with input from Dr. John Treiber
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Team Andersen will make the annual Yuletide pilgrimage known as Rota Walk from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 17, on Rota Drive in Andersen base housing.

This year, roughly 50 houses will be decorated and equipped with food, beverages and seasonal activities.

"Rota Walk is a continuation of a tradition that dates back to Andersen's earliest years," said 2nd Lt. Tomika Smith, 36th Force Support Squadron and a Rota Walk coordinator. "It gives Team Andersen a chance to go all out and decorate their houses, give out small gifts, and sort of bring a 'Christmas' feel to such a tropical island".

The majority of the houses are occupied by base leadership, but some are sponsored by groups and organizations. There will be entertainment provided by the Andersen Elementary Choir, the Andersen High School Band and Chapel Choir.

According to Dr. John Treiber, previous 36th Wing historian, Rota Walk is a direct continuation of celebrating and decorating for Christmas stretching back to Andersen's earliest days. Undoubtedly, much decking the halls has always been spontaneous, but in the mid-1950s the base sponsored competitions for the best-decorated houses, barracks and units for which prizes were routinely awarded.

There is no recorded mention of Andersen's venerable holiday tradition before 1986, and understanding just when and how it began has perpetually been fuzzy for researchers. For example, in December1996 the Andersen newspaper claimed that Rota Walk was celebrating its 10th anniversary, meaning that the event started in 1986. However, in December 2001 the base paper stated that the tradition had reached 20 years, bringing the origin back to the beginning of the 1980s.

Though it began as a friendly competition, it soon evolved into time-honored tradition. Every year, leadership residing throughout Rota Drive illuminates the street with extravagant Christmas lights and decorations that show off their organizations' mission.

Parking at Sunrise Conference Center will be restricted to those with Valid Handicap Stickers, Distinguished Visitors, and all other guest who are NOT Rota Residents. For more information, contact Maj. Jacob Kremmel at 366-502.