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    Chaplains assistant

    A higher call to duty

    Photo By Robert Lingley | PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Master Sgt. Lance Tressler, 21st Space Wing Chapel...... read more read more

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, UNITED STATES

    04.17.2018

    Story by Robert Lingley 

    21st Space Wing Public Affairs

    After serving for 10 years as a chaplain’s assistant, Master Sgt. Lance Tressler, 21st Space Wing Chapel superintendent of chaplain affairs, decided to change his career.

    Looking for something different, Tressler served on a special duty assignment as a political defense attache non-commissioned officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2008, he was selected for the Operations NCO position in Budapest, Hungary.

    “It’s really cool working with our [North Atlantic Alliance] brothers and sisters, I learned a lot and recommend the experience to anyone.” Tressler said.

    While in Hungary, he visited a World War II Prisoner of War/Missing in Action camp where he witnessed remains of a soldier being repatriated back to the U.S. He was also part of the team that oversaw the return, which included accompanying the remains back to the tarmac for the return flight.

    On another assignment in Austria, Tressler said he was called to assist with the Liberation of Salzburg ceremony by the 3rd Infantry Division. The Mauthausen Concentration Camp, located in Salzburg, Austria, received its freedom during WW II in 1945.

    In Mauthausen, prisoners were designated for extermination through intense labor as opposed to prisoners being exterminated by firing squads or gassing. The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was the last to be liberated by the Allies.

    “This was a big weekend for us, we laid wreaths at the crematorium and last year we actually got to walk arm-in-arm with survivors from the camp though the Mauthausen gates,” Tressler said. “Certain areas of the camp, from the quarry’s Stairs of Death to the Bergkristall Tunnels, still carry a distinct lingering smell of death.”

    Walking out with the survivors filled Tressler with pride but also made him question, “Why me? Why do I get to be here at this time, given this honor?”

    Tressler believes his capacity for empathy and ability to connect with people was why he was chosen to serve.

    The Mauthausen survivors were from Poland, and he doesn’t speak Polish. But listening to them tell their stories and seeing the tears and emotions on their faces let him know exactly how they felt.

    “Those are moments you don’t forget,” Tressler said.

    From a spiritual aspect, Tressler explains why he was chosen to be a political defense attache.

    “There are a lot of negative things that happen in the world,” Tressler said. “You can call it evil or the devil being responsible for it, or you can look at it as an opportunity for the love of God to come out. If you can help one person, you can make a difference.”

    Tressler’s defense attache special assignment ended, as do all deployments, and he returned to the chaplain corps as the 21st SW chapel superintendent.

    Tressler said that the chaplain corps are designed to cater to the spiritual and mental needs and overall well-being of today’s Airmen. He credits his experience with the WWII survivors in Europe as one of the most fulfilling experiences that encourages him daily with his own personal excellence and resiliency skills.

    Since joining the Air Force he’s earned two degrees and served 13 years in Europe. Eventually, he wants to have a family, adopt a child and settle down. In the future he may open a bed and breakfast in Colorado. Right now, his duties as a chaplain assistant demand a large apart of his time.

    Tressler left these parting words of encouragement for young Airmen, “Stay encouraged, the military is but one voice of the government in which to serve your country. There’s a lot of cool things you can do to serve and broaden your career. Don’t get frustrated, this is but one part of your journey so stay planted where you are, you’re there for a reason.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.17.2018
    Date Posted: 04.17.2018 14:01
    Story ID: 273376
    Location: COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, US 

    Web Views: 104
    Downloads: 0
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