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Iron Curtain
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hamaker stands at the longest contiguous section of the Berlin Wall in North America, located at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Recruiters get a close-up look at history

Posted 1/15/2014   Updated 1/15/2014 Email story   Print story


by Lt. Col. Sharon Presley
345th Recruiting Squadron commander

1/15/2014 - FULTON, Mo.  -- Nov. 18 started as a normal day in the life of Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hamaker, 345th Recruiting Squadron line officer recruiter. With him was Master Sgt. Raymond Boyd, 345th RCS A-Flight chief, who was in contact with an instructor from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., whose Securities Studies class was interested in Air Force intelligence opportunities.

As Hamaker drove to the lecture hall, he passed a series of what appeared to be graffiti-covered T-walls, an odd thing for a sedate college campus. After addressing the class of nearly 20 students whose diverse interests spanned security, intelligence and special operations, the 345th RCS team learned that the painted walls weren't just another modern art display. What they had seen was the longest contiguous section of the Berlin Wall in North America. The campus had once been the setting for critical Cold War events.

Following Germany's defeat in World War II, Europe split along ideological and physical lines. On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill used Westminster College as the backdrop to warn the world that "... an iron curtain has descended across the continent."

Forty-six years later, on May 6, 1992, Westminster College again played a key role on the world's stage as former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, gave a speech in which he declared an end to the Cold War.

What started as a normal day in recruiting looking for our nation's future Airmen instead became a chance to look back and remember why they're needed.

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