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JBA Defenders host 25th anniversary for VSPA

By Airman 1st Class Spencer J. Slocum 11th WG/PA

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JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.  -- The 11th Security Forces Group here hosted the 25th anniversary for the Vietnam Security Police Association, Oct. 10.

“We do this to remember our fallen brothers and sisters,” said Jerry Nelson, Vietnam veteran and VSPA president. “We’ve existed for 25 years, and every year we find a time to come together.”  

Vietnam Security Police Association members, their family members and Joint Base Andrews Airmen stand for the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct. 10, 2019. The VSPA visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and JBA as they celebrated their 25th anniversary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum)
SLIDESHOW | 8 images | JBA Defenders host 25th anniversary for VSPA Vietnam Security Police Association members, their family members and Joint Base Andrews Airmen stand for the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct. 10, 2019. The VSPA visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and JBA as they celebrated their 25th anniversary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum)

This year’s anniversary brought roughly 100 veterans to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and JBA.

“Of all the reunions we’ve had, [JBA] has definitely put on the best show,” said Steve Gattis, president emeritus of the Vietnam Security Police Association. “Our motto is ‘We take care of our own,’ and these active duty defenders definitely exemplified that.”

During the day, the veterans were shown a static aircraft display, military working dog demonstration, a weapons and equipment display, and a simulated firing range, all while getting to spend some time with JBA defenders.  

“It was amazing to be there,” Nelson said. “Seeing those who followed in our footprints and all of their new technologies, I just can’t put into words how cool it was.”

From the jungles of Vietnam to standing sentry at a stateside installation, past and present defenders have a common bond.

“We may have had different assignments and missions, but we all fall under the same concept,” Nelson added. “It doesn’t matter when you serve, once a defender, always a defender.”

As the largest career field in the Air Force with a long and rich history, defenders have been protecting mission assets since their inception.

“To those that defended us in Vietnam, I just want to say thank you,” said Col. Joseph A. Engelbrecht III, 11th Security Forces Group commander. “We were proud to have our active duty defenders here with these living legends.”