20th EBS supports coastal cleanup

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steven Wilson
  • 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
The B-52 Stratofortress is a long range bomber capable of performing a variety of missions to support the U.S. and her allies. 

The Airmen that fly it demonstrated they're capable of diverse missions as well.
Eight members of the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron here left their B-52s 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. The flyers said their time was well spent and they got to enjoy the local scenery. 

"It was nice," said 1st Lt. Tiffany Bares, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-52 weapons systems officer. "There was a lot of trash, more than I expected. The beach was pretty - we mainly cleaned a park, which was right next to a marina with a lot of cool sail boats." 

Capt. Frederick Cartwright, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, was one of the divers that 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." 

Captain Cartwright's cleanup effort involved more than simply taking a leisure day for diving. 

"There was a surprising amount of trash on the ocean floor," he said. "We found a lot of cans, plastic containers and even old clothing in a about 40-feet of water." 

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

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

Capt. Ken Hills, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron 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," said Captain Hills. 

Their efforts were noted by Andersen's senior leadership. 

"We're a nation at war and defending America and our allies keeps our Airmen very busy," said Col. Damian McCarthy, 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." 

Captain Cartwright, while weighed down in his diving gear, put the coastal cleanup operation in a personal perspective. 

"Sometimes we become so focused on our primary job of killing bad guys and breaking their stuff that we appear one dimensional to the public," he explained. "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. 

Her fellow aviator, Captain Hills, agreed. 

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

Coastal cleanup is an annual occurrence on Guam and Andersen participates in the event every year.