soldier enjoys life while stationed in the tropical paradise of
Most people are drawn to the tiny Pacific island of Guam for the
warm weather, pristine coral reefs and lush tropical flora. Japanese
honeymooners flock there. This U.S. territory is closer to Japan,
the Philippines and Australia than to its closest American neighbor,
Hawaii. Because of its location in the western Pacific and west
of the international dateline, its the first place on American
soil to see the sun rise each morning.
But for the son of a Batesville couple, this tropical paradise is
the backdrop to what is shaping up to be one of the most strategic
and important staging areas for the U.S Air Force in the Pacific
region. Air National Guard Senior Airman Kurt D. Waechter, son of
John and Linda Waechter of North County Road 650 East, Batesville,
is helping transform this sleepy outpost into one of national importance
for U.S. military strategy in the 21st century.
Waechter is a computer security manager for the 36th Communication
Squadron. My job is to assist with managing the computer security
program. I help make sure that the computers and other information
systems are secure and properly maintained, said Waechter,
who graduated in 2004 from North Decatur High School, Greensburg.
Andersen Air Force Base is no stranger to strategic importance,
though. The base was created as a staging area and airstrip in 1944
to allow B-29 bombers to attack mainland Japan during the latter
part of the World War II. The base has grown tremendously in importance
since then, mushrooming to over 15,000 airmen with constant B-52
missions over North Vietnam during the early 70s. Since
Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the early 90s, Andersen
has become a deployment mecca for B-52, B-1 and B-2 bomber units
focusing on a new mission - the global war on terror.
As a deployed member, it has been interesting to see so many
other deployed members. I have been learning a lot about my job
in the active duty environment. With the increased number of personnel
deploying here, my job becomes more difficult because, as soon as
we get them trained on security issues, they are gone, Waechter
Off duty, Waechter and fellow airmen are privy to a literal paradise.
On a tropical island 30 miles long and nine miles wide, airmen can
find white sandy beaches ringed by pristine coral reefs, crystal-clear
water teeming with exotic marine life, a balmy tropical climate
and gentle trade winds. Add a slew of restaurants, resorts and shopping
areas and its easy to see why Guam has become the Air Forces
best kept secret.
Guam is like a very sprawling small town It is very tropical
here which lends to why the locals have big, fun filled barbecues
on the weekends called fiestas. Also, due to this type of climate,
you will be hard pressed not to see a gecko climbing on the outside
of buildings, Waechter commented. During my off duty
time, I like to play my guitar and get out and see everything that
the island has to offer.
(This story was submitted to our newspaper by the Army and Air Force
Hometown News Service, San Antonio, TX.)
ABOVE: Airmen from the 2nd Maintenance Squadron are shown
doing a phase inspection on a B-52 Stratofortress aircraft
here. Andersen Air Force Base in Guam has become a deployment
mecca for B-52, B-1 and B-2 bomber units focusing on the
war on terror. BELOW: Air National Guard Senior Airman Kurt
D. Waechter of Batesville, is a computer security manager
stationed on the island of Guam.