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Andersen security forces celebrate Police Week 2015

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander W. Riedel
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Despite base preparations for the impending arrival of Typhoon Dolphin, security forces and local government officials celebrated the annual National Police Week observances here May 11-15.

The week's events culminated in a solemn retreat ceremony May 13 to commemorate the sacrifices of civilian and military law enforcement personnel in honor of National Police Week.

The ceremony honored 173 police officers, 28 who lost their life in the line of duty since 2014, with a moment of silence, only broken by a symbolic 21-gun salute.

"Security forces members have lost their lives at home on routine traffic stops, as well as in theater defending air bases around the world," said Capt. Marc Stanco, the 36th Security Forces Squadron operations and training officer." This ceremony is a small way to remember their legacy and memorialize their sacrifice for this country."

Guam's Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, who began his career of public service as a long-time police officer, joined as the guest of honor. Speaking to the formation of Andersen Airmen, he recounted his experience and spoke of the special bond connecting those who put their life on the line to preserve law and order within their communities.

"Many of us have (been part of law enforcement) long enough to know the darker side of humanity," Tenorio said. "But we also recognize there's a lighter side. And that's the passion, the values and the respect for the love of God and our families that runs and courses through all our veins."

"That's the reason we go to work at some ungodly hour," he continued. "When everyone else is sleeping, we're putting on our uniform and our badge to carry the responsibility of the people who trust us to carry out those duties. It's not always easy, but it's about the people who trust you to do the right thing."

Tenorio thanked the patrolmen, guards and dog handlers for their commitment to service and continued vigilance.

"We are proud of you," Tenorio said. "Whether a police officer of Guam, or right here on base, you are a cop and a brother and sister to us. And we thank you."

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Ettedgui, the NCO in charge of the Joint Region Marianas confinement facility at Andersen AFB, headed the planning and execution of events. He said the week's activities also showcased the close cooperation within the law enforcement community.

From off-base police to Air Force Office of Special Investigations personnel, Ettedgui said more than 11 agencies helped display their mission, organized or participated in events such as an emergency services parade through base housing, athletic competitions and a job skills display.

While security forces Airmen share a myriad of responsibilities with their civilian counterparts, military duty presents special challenges, Ettedgui said.

"Here in Guam, our mission is to defend the premier war-fighting platform in the Pacific," he said. "Of course our priority is to ensure our 'birds' take off to do their mission. But we also always find the balance between protecting assets and resources - and to protect the most important resource of all: the Airmen and their families.

"This week is a good opportunity to remember that many of us have lost wingmen downrange," Ettedgui continued. "It's a chance for the younger Airmen to understand they are not just that guy standing at the gate checking ID cards. Others have come before them, some who gave their lives in the line of duty, protecting not only their communities, but also their nation -- and that we carry on in their honor."

As the storm clouds of Typhoon Dolphin continued to close in on the island, the somber notes of the Taps bugle call sounded across the parade field. As the American flag lowered toward the salutes of the formation and the gloved hands of the honor guardsmen below, they carefully placed folds and prepared the flag to rest -- to be flown another day.

National Police Week is an annual celebration during the week of May 15 that was established by Congress in 1962 as a way to recognize law enforcement officers and those who were killed in the line of duty and protecting others.