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Commentary: Honoring those millions who suffered through Auschwitz 70 years ago

Lt. Col. Glenn Rineheart, 36th Mobility Readiness Squadron commander, stands in front of the site of Nazi Germany's largest and most notorious concentration camp in Aushwitz, Poland, in 2004. (Courtesy photo/Released)

Lt. Col. Glenn Rineheart, 36th Mobility Readiness Squadron commander, stands in front of the site of Nazi Germany's largest and most notorious concentration camp in Aushwitz, Poland, in 2004. (Courtesy photo/Released)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- One of the distinct privileges that most service members will have during their Air Force careers is the opportunity to live abroad and be immersed in a foreign culture. 
Many Airmen will be stationed at an overseas location while others will only be able to visit these locations while on temporary duty.

Nevertheless, any time outside the boarders of the United States is an invaluable experience not only in developing our understating of our foreign partner's culture, customs, and national interests, but in developing a heightened awareness of the influence our country has over others as a symbol of hope and stability.  Airmen living and traveling abroad witness firsthand the absence of certain liberties, safeguards, and services we have grown accustomed to in the United States, underscoring that we're blessed to be Americans.

During every Airmen's period abroad there will be at least one time, if not several, when "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" will gain greater significance.  They'll don their uniforms the next day, check themselves in the mirror, and find themselves standing a little more straight and a little more confident that they have chosen the right profession for themselves -not job, trade or occupation...  profession.  For many Airmen, that image in the mirror may have first appeared to them on September 12, 2001.  For myself, I've had one more event in particular that I carry within me, reminding me daily how fortunate I am to be an American Airman.

The event occurred in the winter of 2004 while I was TDY to Krakow, Poland performing a two-week mission.  During a free afternoon, my crew and I took the opportunity to visit the local area as we did during previous mission stops.  However, this time it was not to visit a cosmopolitan area or shopping market, but to visit one of the worst sites in the history of humanity, Auschwitz. The largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps during World War II, Auschwitz was the site of roughly 1,049,000 Jewish, Polish, Soviet, and Gypsy deaths with the Jewish community accounting for 960,000 of them - 232,000 being children.

During our visit our tour guide left no detail of torture, cruelty, and murder to our imagination.  From the prisoner arrival process where children were forever stripped from their parents, wives forever stripped from their husbands, to the selection process where officers of the Third Reich would determine which prisoners were either fit to work in pitiful conditions or immediately stripped of their clothes, eye glasses, and prosthetic limbs then marched to massive gas chambers.  Later these victims would be cremated in massive furnaces which were loaded and operated in some cases by family members of those gassed.

Needless to say, I left Auschwitz that afternoon numb with shock, sick to my stomach, and depressed with tremendous sorrow for the Holocaust victims and their families.  As the shock later faded, it was replaced with stirring resolve - that as a member of humanity we can never allow this atrocity to ever happen again. I also couldn't help but to feel blessed along with a deep sense of obligation.  Blessed - to be a citizen of a country where my only limits are those set by my own desires to succeed. Obligation - to vigorously defend our liberties from the restraints of tyranny, securing our way of life, and serving as an example and beacon of hope for those less fortunate. 

As American Airmen, we are the chosen few privileged to serve our nation's Air Force, the greatest the world has ever known. As American Airmen, our profession charges us with the responsibility to hold tyrants accountable while delivering security and sanctuary to those in distress at home all around the globe. Despite field of expertise or rank, we all have a key role in the employment of air power in the defense of the ideals set forth by our forefathers. We each are charged to perform these roles to the best of our ability in order to add velocity to our capabilities, ultimately delivering hope. 

"All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we
will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try
" - July 15, 1960,

Address of Senator John F. Kennedy Accepting the Democratic Party Nomination
for the Presidency of the United States, Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles.

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Tomorrow (Jan 31st) CE Customer Service and both Andersen Family and Unaccompanied Housing Offices will be closed from 11 A.M.–4 P.M. For emergencies, please see additional information below: CE Customer Service: For any emergency issues, please call 366-2916/2917/2918. All other non-emergency issues can be sent to the CE Customer Service email org box at 36ces.service@us.af.mil. Housing Office: For any urgent Housing matters, please call 366-6240 or 653-4731. Normal operating hours will resume Monday, 3 February. Thank you, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron
The Readiness & Emergency Management Flight will be conducting training today (Jan 30) from 7 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.. It will involve personnel driving around base in MOPP 4 and setting out detectors on main base. It is all for training purpose only.
Congratulations to our 4th Quarterly Award winners! Airman of the Quarter: SrA Tiffany Arquette- 36th Mission Support Group Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter: SSgt Bryan Koch- 36th Mission Support Group Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter: MSgt Coreena Dejesus-36th Wing Staff Agency Company Grade Officer of the Quarter: 2Lt Megan Barrick- 36th Maintenance Group Civilian Category I of the Quarter: Mr. Nathan Atalig- 36th Mission Support Group Civilian Category II of the Quarter: Mr. Shawn McMahon – 36th Mission Support Group Civilian Category III of the Quarter: Ms. Lucy Benavente - 36th Wing Staff Agency Honor Guard of the Quarter: SrA Brandi Dennis – 36th Communications Squadron Volunteer of the Quarter: SSgt Duawana Robinson – 36th Maintenance Group Team of the Quarter: Family Health- 36th Medical Group
Don't miss this great training opportunity on Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention, and Bystander Intervention, 31st Jan, 11 A.M. at the Meehan Theater. This event is FREE and open to all! Joint Region Marianas
Andersen is proud to host the U.S. Navy's Tritons!
Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Jolesa Scott from the 36th Force Support Squadron team for being recognized as one of Team Andersen's Best! Great job!
#TeamAndersenDYK the fire prevention experts recommend to never leave open flames or cooking unattended, to check lint traps regularly as well as checking electrical outlets to make sure they are being used properly. In addition, family members of all ages should know and follow a shared emergency escape plan. Andersen firefighters recommend that, in case of fire, residents use their established escape plan and proceed to a designated rally point, a safe distance away from the flames and smoke. Once outside, immediately call 911 and describe the situation to dispatchers as calmly as possible. Fires happen sporadically, so please pay attention to your housekeeping, your surroundings and when you’re cooking or even just near a flame. #safety
Calling all football fans and history buffs!!! Immediately after World War II, the American military stationed in the South Pacific began playing full-contact football - pads and all. Andersen Air Force Base's Gilkeson Field, named after Brig. Gen. Adlai H. Gilkeson, commanding general of the 19th Bombardment Wing from 1949 to 1951, served as home of the North Field Bombers, the base football team! Teams in Japan, the Philippines, and Guam played in local military leagues, occasionally flying long distances to compete. A league champ on Guam wasn't determined until 1947, when the 1st Marine Brigade and the 501st Port Battalion tied for the island championship. The North Field (later Andersen) Bombers went undefeated in the 1948 season to capture the island title, which began a long legacy of the most successful football team on Guam for the next 34 years. The Bombers won at least 17 league/island championships - including 11 titles in a row from 1955 to 1966. The last Bomber championship was in 1974. Other teams on the island were also rich in tradition and history. In short, while the Navy dominated the league with their number of teams in action, it was the Andersen Bombers that dominated on the scoreboard and in the standings. The Bombers lasted until the leagues' end after the 1981 season. #TeamAndersen #TBT #NorthFieldBombers Joint Region Marianas US Naval Base Guam U.S. Pacific Air Forces 1st Marine Brigade
Every flight starts with planning! And a trip to Aircrew Flight Equipment. AFE Airmen maintain equipment used by pilots, which are essential for survival capabilities. AFE Airmen provide direct support to the Continuous Bomber Presence. Thanks, AFE!
The United States, along with Mexico and the Philippines, were ranked one of the world's worst places for human trafficking in 2018. In the U.S., there is no official number of human trafficking victims, but estimates place it in the hundreds of thousands. Look for these indicators to help combat human trafficking.
WARNING: Security Forces will deny access to the base and/or issue fines for not updating your vehicle registration or not having insurance.
Exercise the very right you protect - your right to vote! We can help with registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot and notifying your local election officials back home of a change of address. Below is Voter Registration application, Absentee Ballot Request form (SF-76), and mailing address. This form is for Uniformed Service members, family members of voting age, DoD civilians, and citizens residing outside the United States. You may access many voting related questions and answers on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov. Please click the link below to access the direct-to-voter training video which goes through the process step by step. https://www.fvap.gov/militaryhowto If you have any questions please contact your designated squadron UVAO or IVAO at DSN: 366-8137 or email: Andersen.vote@us.af.mil
Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Shannen Lisbourne from the 36th WG/JA team for being recognized as one of Team Andersen's Best! Great job!
#TeamAndersenDYK every day in the United States, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. Many Airmen and families enjoy swimming within the shallow water, but some choose to swim beyond the reef into deeper depths. Since there is no continental shelf around Guam, the landmass underwater does not have a gradual slope; therefore, the water depth drops suddenly. Swimmers are advised not to swim beyond the reef and into the deep open water to avoid hazardous waves and currents or other harmful conditions. Alcohol is also a major cause of water-related incidents. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation, according to the CDC. Drinking alcohol causes a lack of coordination, disturbance of the inner ear, impaired reaction time and impaired judgment, which can cause someone to become injured or drown while swimming. Please be safe when out swimming. Never swim alone, drink while swimming, and pay attention to the flag conditions. #safety
Way to go, Security Forces! Sen. Joe San Augustin from the 35th Guam Legislature presented Airmen from the 36th Security Forces Squadron with a legislative resolution and certificates of appreciation, recognizing their volunteer efforts throughout the island community, Jan.16 at Tarague Beach. #TeamAndersen #OneGuam #Community #GoodNeighbors The Office of Senator Joe S. San Agustin Joint Region Marianas U.S. Pacific Air Forces The Guam Legislature
Showing love to Guam and promoting #environmental stewardship with #partners! Airmen from the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and 190th Air Refueling Wing - Kansas Air National Guard partnered with Sailors from Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen and members of Love Guam for a roadside cleanup Jan. 11 in Yigo. #OneGuam #GreenGuam #GoodNeighbors #Community #TeamAndersen #TeamAndersenTBT Joint Region Marianas U.S. Pacific Air Forces Yigo Mayor's Office
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