New Pacific commander appointed
President George W. Bush appointed General Gregory S. “Speedy” Martin commander of the U.S. Pacific Command on Aug. 19. It is the first time an officer other than a Navy admiral has received the command. Martin the 21st appointee will replace Adm. Thomas B. Fargo. Martin is the commander of Air Force Materiel command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio. He holds a 1970 bachelor’s of science from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a 1977 master’s in business management from Central Michigan University. Martin entered the Air Force in June 1970. The change of command date is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation. The U.S. Pacific command includes 43 nations and 10 U.S. territories.

Pacific Air Chiefs meet on Guam
The first Pacific Air Chiefs convention to be held on Guam took place Sept. 21 and 22 at Andersen Air Force Base. Gen. Paul Hester commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces hosted 10 foreign air chiefs and two U.S. Air Force four-star generals among a party of 30 VIPs.

Maj. Gen. Dennis Larsen commander of the 13th Air Force said “The Pacific Air Chiefs conference is a chief of staff of the Air Force-hosted conference designed to bring leaders from air forces in the Pacific together to discuss issues of security regional stability and challenges facing airmen. Andersen Air Force Base is the home to the conference this year and is a testament to our strategic importance here. The Air Force is committed to Guam. This island is of great strategic importance to us which is why we’ve invested so heavily in new infrastructure and so many of our top leaders have expressed a desire to locate additional assets here.”

Discussions centered on a number of issues.

Larsen told the Journal “The chiefs discussed the possibilities and ways of sharing information to assist each other in looking inward and weeding out all possible terrorist cells within our theater. We can assist each other when working together on the strategic level.”

He said the air chiefs had also discussed an international exercise in August.

“We discussed the recently completed Cope Thunder which showed a wide breadth of participation. These discussions allowed us to talk about those who have participated and opened up the opportunity for more of the air chiefs to go back to their units and get involved.”

Cope Thunder is an Alaska-based exercise completed in August according to the Air Force that incorporated approximately 1 300 participants from 18 different multinational organizations.

Genieve N. David chief of media relations for the 36th Air Wing at Andersen said the convention was an opportunity to “engage friends and allies in the region.” Nations whose air chiefs visited Guam were the U.S. Japan Canada Cambodia Bangladesh New Zealand Sri Lanka Mongolia Malaysia Australia and the Philippines. A number of the military guests took the opportunity to stay at Andersen.

Pacific air chiefs have met formally since 1994 gathering in 2003 in Hawaii.

As a fuel depot Andersen Air Force Base stores more than 60 million gallons of fuel. The base has 22 000 acres a third of which is in use and according to recent reports expects considerable activity and allocation of assets in coming years.

B-52 rotations continue at Andersen
A third group of B-52 airmen this time numbering 250 were deployed to Andersen Air Force Base from Sept. 10.

The deployment from Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City La. is under a 120-day rotation. The 20th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron is the third of four B-52 Stratofortress bomber squadrons in the Air Force to deploy to Guam. Continuous bomber rotations began in mid-February. The 20th Squadron replaced a deployment from the 96th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron deployed to Andersen from May. Andersen is a “critical strategic forward operating location ” according to the Air Force.The deployments are aimed at enhancing regional security demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific and providing training opportunities from forward-operating bases.

Before the present round of deployments B-52s were last in Guam as part of a B-52 and B-1 expeditionary force in February 2003. The 43rd Bomb Wing was deactivated in 1990 after being based at Andersen for 25 years.

Sexual harassment allegations in helicopter squadron
Naval Air Forces are reviewing alleged sexual harassment allegations filed in August by a female officer against several male officers in Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 5 based at Andersen Air Force Base. The squadron has about 500 personnel and is frequently involved in search and rescue efforts around Guam’s waters. The investigation was completed on Sept. 8. Lt. Cmdr. Heidi J. Lenzini assistant public affairs officer for the Naval Air Force told the Journal there is only one victim from HC-5 who has come forward with complaints. The investigation revealed no further victims. The misconduct took place sporadically over a period of 21 months. While the complainant did address some of the misconduct at the time she did not report it through official channels. As soon as the complaints were filed the Navy took immediate action to investigate the complaints and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

The Navy does not tolerate harassment of any kind and has programs in place to educate its members about what sexual harassment is and what to do if they are being sexually harassed. The Navy intends to reinforce additional sexual harassment prevention training throughout Naval Aviation.”


Top officials to attend Sequoia commissioning
The Coast Guard cutter USCGC Sequoia will be commissioned on Oct. 15.

The $29 million cutter which arrived on Guam Sept. 2 with six officers and 34 crew members will be commissioned in the presence of Gordon England U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Mrs. Dorothy “Dotty” England is the cutter’s sponsor and christened the vessel on Aug. 23 2003 in Marinette Wis. after which it spent a year in training and preparing for duty. Also attending the commissioning will be a number of high-ranking Coast Guard officials including Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson Jr. admiral for the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area as well as Rear Adm. Charles D. Wurster admiral for District 14.

The commissioning will take place at 10 a.m. at Victor Wharf and will be followed by a noon reception at Polaris Point hosted by the Guam Chamber of Commerce. This is reportedly the first time a Coast Guard cutter has been commissioned on Guam.

For more on the cutter refer to the Journal report in the Sept. 6 issue.



Secretary of the Navy to visit Guam
Gordon England U.S. Secretary of the Navy will be in Guam from Oct. 14 to 16 visiting Seattle and briefly Hawaii en route. The secretary will attend the commissioning of the USCGC Sequoia on Oct. 15 and attend the Navy Birthday Ball at the Holiday Inn Guam Resort that evening at which he is invited to speak. England will also meet with Navy officers and enlisted and civilian personnel. Dorothy “Dotty” England his wife is a sponsor of the Sequoia. Personnel from the Sequoia will attend the Navy Birthday Ball. The Englands will stay at the Naval Guest House on Nimitz Hill and staff at the Nimitz Hill Bachelors’ Officers Quarters. The secretary will return to Washington D.C. via Hawaii and a meeting with Gov. Linda Lingle.

England attended a Guam Navy League dinner while overnighting on Guam on Feb. 21 as part of a tour of the Asia Pacific. Other stops on that trip included Okinawa Iwo Jima and Singapore and a visit to the USS Kitty Hawk the battleship permanently forward deployed to the Western Pacific.

Naval Reserve Center to open in Guam
A Naval Reserve center will provide support for 120 drilling reservists living in Guam Japan and South Korea.

The center will be staffed by an officer and six reserve personnel and will be allocated facilities by Naval Forces Marianas. Funding will come from the Navy’s reserve personnel budget. According to a Sept. 22 release from the office of Madeleine Z. Bordallo Guam’s delegate to Congress the Navy justified the establishment of the center because of the time difference and communication between the current center located in Washington state and Navy reservists in the region. Navy officials in Washington D.C. said the new Guam-based center might allow the Navy to expand its reserve presence in the region.

Naval base gates construction ongoing
Big Navy’s back gate is scheduled to reopen Oct. 12 after more than three weeks of closure. According to the public affairs office at the Naval base contractors are renovating the security fence upgrading the guard house installing light poles and upgrading security systems and power lines. The front gate to the base reopened Sept. 7 after a $1.2 million reconstruction designed to withstand winds of up to 175 miles per hour. For both gates Kellogg Brown and Root was the prime contractor with Rocky Mountain Prestress/ Smithbridge Guam Inc. performing a major part of the work. Other subcontractors included Sussex Electrical Pacific Security Alarm and Master Painters for the main gate; and Rockfield Sussex Electrical and Pacific Security Alarm for the back gate.

French frigate visits Guam
The French frigate Vendemiaire visited Guam for three days from Sept. 10. The 3 000-surveillance frigate equipped with a Panther helicopter is one of six such ships assigned to the surveillance of French overseas Naval interests. The ship is based in Noumea New Caledonia and the crew is comprised of 10 officers 36 petty officers and 40 junior sailors.

Commander Damien Lorge hosted a reception on board on Sept. 10.

U.S.-Japan bilateral exercises to be held on Guam
U.S. Naval Forces Marianas will host a Military Operations on Urban Terrain Exercise between the U.S. Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self Defense Forces. The bilateral field training exercise is intended to enhance military operations communications and relations amongst the two allied nations. The training will be held on Andersen South training area and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station from Sept. 28 to Oct. 25.

“This will be a unique opportunity to showcase the wonderful training environment that the island of Guam offers the military ” Capt. Robert McNaught Chief of Staff U.S. Naval Forces Marianas and Commanding Officer Naval Base Guam said.

The 125 Japanese forces are from the 2nd Company 37th Regiment 3rd Division Middle Army of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces and the 53 Marines from the 2nd Platoon G company 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine Division.


Engineers to assess damage to Rota harbor
A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will assess damage to Rota harbor suffered in Typhoon Chaba.

The breakwater in Songsong was partially damaged during the typhoon which hit Rota on Aug. 22 and is still unstable with continuing rock fall. The Army Corps assessment will enable Rota to apply for federal assistance for repair at the harbor. The harbor closed after the storm reopening on Aug. 31. MBJ