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Yuletide joy found on Rota Drive

A child admires an illuminated street during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit.  The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

A child admires an illuminated street during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit. The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

Children investigate a model house during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit.  The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

Children investigate a model house during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit. The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

Children and adults alike were treated to a holiday wonderland in the tropics during Rota Walk Dec. 18, on Rota Drive. The street is occupied by commander’s on base, each decorating their house to represent their respective unit.  The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

Children and adults alike were treated to a holiday wonderland in the tropics during Rota Walk Dec. 18, on Rota Drive. The street is occupied by commander’s on base, each decorating their house to represent their respective unit. The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

A child enjoys the decorations and festivities during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit.  The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

A child enjoys the decorations and festivities during Rota Walk Dec. 18, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of Team Andersen’s most beloved traditions. More than 50 houses were adorned with lights and decorations that represented each commander’s respective unit. The event hosted a number attractions including a live Nativity scene hosted by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs singing carols, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's house. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Frost on the windshield, hot cocoa, and the sound of ringing bells at the mall would often usher in the holiday spirit for many servicemembers. However, in this tropical paradise, the Yuletide joy can often be lost.

But on Dec. 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Team Andersen hosted Rota Walk, an annual pilgrimage down Rota Drive, and one of the base's most beloved traditions.

"This was an opportunity for Andersen's senior leadership to give back to the Airmen and their families during the holidays," said Capt. Jason Brown, 644th Combat Communications Squadron. "For the Airmen who are thousands of miles away from family, friends and loved ones back home, this event gives them a taste of their traditional childhood holidays."

The event hosted a number of attractions including a live Nativity scene by the Andersen Chapel, gospel and elementary school choirs, and a performance by the Guam High School and Air Force Alaska Brass Band at the 36th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. John Doucette's, house.

Rota Walk is way 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 awarded.

There is no recorded mention of Andersen's holiday tradition before 1986, and understanding just when and how it began has been fuzzy for researchers. For example, in December 1996 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.

Approximately 50 houses on Rota Drive will be decorated representing each commander's respective unit.

"Every house brings a piece of the operational mission into the holidays," Captain Brown said. "The commanders, their spouses, and the organizations that sponsored to decorate the vacant houses really go all out to make sure Team Andersen is treated to a memorable holiday experience."

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