Deployers help support coastal cleanup in Guam

  • Published
Eight members of the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron here left their B-52 Stratofortress' idle Sept. 15 and volunteered their off-duty time to participate in Guam's 13th annual coastal cleanup.

The 20th EBS' cleanup target was in the village and diving area near Agat, Guam.
Their time was well spent and they enjoyed the local scenery, the flyers said.

"It was nice," said 1st Lt. Tiffany Bares, a B-52 weapons systems officer. "There was a lot of trash, more than I expected. We mainly cleaned a park, which was right next to a marina with a lot of cool sail boats."

Team member Capt. Frederick Cartwright was one of the divers who helped clean up the ocean floor.

"I've done a lot of scuba diving while deployed to Guam," he said. "I wanted to give something back -- what a great opportunity."

There was a surprising amount of trash on the ocean floor, said the captian.

"We found a lot of cans, plastic containers and even old clothing in a about 40-feet of water," he said.

An outdoor person, Lieutenant Bares enjoyed helping with the effort to keep Guam beautiful and is glad to have been a part of the operations, she said.

"It's nice to know that I'm contributing to help out the environment," she said. "We also picked up some trash that could have potentially hurt children and animals."

Capt. Ken Hills, the unit's executive officer, said the clean-up was a necessary mission.

"Some of the trash in the park had been there long enough for tree roots to grow over it or through things like bottles and cans. Our volunteering to clean up the area was certainly needed," Captain Hills said.

Coastal cleanup is an annual occurrence on Guam and Andersen AFB members participates in the event each year. The efforts of the deployers were noted by Anderson AFB senior leadership.

"We're a nation at war and defending America and our allies keeps our Airmen very busy," said Col. Damian McCarthy, the 36th Operations Group commander. "That being said, we cannot afford to forget we're a part of this community. Events like this illustrate the great working relationship we have with the local populace. The Airmen that participated in coastal cleanup have my personal thanks."

"Sometimes we become so focused on our primary job that we appear one dimensional to the public," Captain Cartwright said. "Opportunities like this allow us to show we're also good citizens and good stewards of the planet."

Lieutenant Bares chalked it all up to simply doing what's right.

"Some communities try hard to make us feel at home and I think we need to give back to them for being good hosts," she said.

"I enjoy giving back to the community," Captain Hills said. "The people of Guam have been so nice to us during our deployment, the least we can do is help with beautification of their tropical paradise."