Andrews AFSA Chapter 102 cleans Vietnam Wall
By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Perham, 710th Combat Operations Squadron
/ Published October 24, 2006
Twenty volunteers stood face to face with their own reflections, 58,249 names of servicemen and the daunting challenge of washing the nearly 247-foot, geometrically-perfect, Viet-nam Memorial Wall Sept. 30.
Before dawn -- and the arrival of those wishing to pay their respects -- members of Chapter 102 of the Air Force Sergeants Association located at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., armed with cleaning supplies, hoses and a great deal of patriotic passion, set forth to honor the memory of the thousands of Vietnam veterans by removing the turbid haze from the granite face of the memorial.
In addition to cleaning the wall, many of the volunteers scrubbed the pathway that follows the wall at a 125-degree angle and washed the bronze memorial statue of The Three Soldiers. The event marks one of the ways AFSA demonstrates its professional obligation to servicemembers everywhere and is one of numerous wall washings that take place throughout the year under the guidance of the National Park Service. "It's a great way to honor the memory of those lost in combat," said AFSA Chapter 102 president Tech. Sgt. Nicole Culverhouse, 79th Medical Operations Squadron Healthcare Support NCOIC. "It gives our members the opportunity to show their respect."
On several occasions, other groups, sometimes greater than a hundred volunteers, come from other states to perform the wall washing. "To do this with 20 volunteers is quite a challenge," said Sergeant Culverhouse, who stresses the importance of having a large community of members that can pull together during events like this.
AFSA is a nationally recognized organization with responsibilities to all Air Force enlisted members and is a professional affiliation unlike any other with a simple vision -- development. "My goal is to develop our leaders, our members and chapter so we can fulfill our personal and professional growth," said Sergeant Culver-house. "I believe AFSA has something for everyone. That is what makes us more than just a booster club or fund raising group. This is what makes us 'the professional organization of choice.'"