Andersen to see inspection
Andersen Air Force Base will undergo a headquarters inspection by a team from Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii. The inspection which will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8 will look at a full range of capabilities. Visiting personnel will evaluate operational readiness and observe the processes at Andersen for deploying and receiving forces. The previous such inspection took place five years ago.
Initial readiness response exercises took place at Andersen from Nov. 15 to 19. The exercises were in preparation for the inspection.
New security forces building to open at Andersen
A ribbon cutting is scheduled Dec. 17 for the new security forces building at Andersen Air Force Base. The $4.7 million project is being constructed by Dick Pacific Construction Co. Ltd. (Guam). It consolidated personnel from six different buildings.
Christmas Drop collections opened
The Air Force’s annual Operation Christmas Drop will take place from Dec. 10 to 15. A variety of non-perishable items will be dropped on 50 different islands in Micronesia.
Dec. 8 will be the last collection date for this year’s donations. Anything collected after that date will be stored for the 2005 Christmas Drop. C-130’s from Yokota Air Force Base in Japan will participate. For further details call Lt. Rebecca Millay at 366-1320.
Guam Sector coming Jan. 1
The U.S. Coast Guard Marianas section and the Marine Safety Office which fall under the Department of Homeland Security will officially become the Guam Sector on Jan. 1 one of 40 nationwide sectors. Activation of the new sector was due to take place on Oct. 1 but was slowed by the required congressional approval.
Sequoia support buildings open
A new Cutter Support Team building to support the USCG Sequoia which was commissioned on Guam on Oct. 15 opened in October. It is used for maintenance and support for the cutter and its missions.
Rehabilitation of the adjacent Marine Safety Office building is complete and also houses the regional exam center for mariners.
Coast Guard and Navy board vessel
Members of the Coast Guard and Naval Forces Marianas took part on Nov. 6 in a combined board of the Bassin Strait a cargo carrier then under a foreign flag with a predominantly Filipino crew. The boarding and inspection in which Navy canine unit personnel also participated was carried out at the request of the Navy. The Bassin Strait is known as a ‘frequent flier ’ visiting Guam’s waters regularly and was on its way to the Guam Shipyard when it was boarded. The boarding is the second such event in recent months. The vessel has since been reflagged as a U.S. vessel.
GUAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Chamber hosts events
The Armed Forces Committee of the chamber hosted a wardroom reception on Nov. 5 for Carrier Air Wing Five at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa.
The committee hosted a breakfast at the Guam Marriott Resort on Nov. 12. Attending were Capt. Robert A. McNaught commanding officer of Naval Base Guam and chief of staff to Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson commander of Naval Forces Marianas; Col. Gregg Sanders vice commander of the 13th Air Force Wing at Andersen Air Force Base; Col. Stephen Worchevsky vice commander of the 36th Air Expeditionary Wing at Andersen; Brig. General Robert Cockey adjutant general of the Guam National Guard; Commander Eric L. Williams commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 196th Infantry Brigade; and Commander Loanne Brandt section commander at the Coast Guard.
The committee hosted a wardroom reception for the USS Blue Ridge personnel on Nov. 17 at the Outrigger Guam Resort. The Blue Ridge is the flagship of the U.S. 7th Fleet. Also hosted by the committee on Nov. 19 was a reception for Los Angeles submarine personnel homeported in Hawaii.
The incoming 2005 steering committee of the Armed Forces Committee will meet in December.
SAIPAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Saipan chamber hosted a reception for personnel of the USS Blue Ridge on Nov. 13 at the Aqua Resort Club Saipan. The Blue Ridge visited Saipan from Nov. 10 to 14.
Col. Jerry M. Rivera
Guard gets new adjutant general
Col. Jerry M. Rivera was appointed acting adjutant general of the Guam National Guard. He previously was the assistant adjutant general in 2000 and the adjutant general in 2002. Rivera has 28 years of military service and also served five terms in the Guam Legislature. He holds a juris doctorate from Lewis & Clark Law School in Washington State and a master’s from the U.S. Army War College. Rivera is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Guard deployments announced
Upcoming deployments include:
Guam Army National Guard: 58 members of the 1224th Engineering Detachment to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom expected to leave in January 2005 for about 18 months; 50 members of the lst Battalion-294th Infantry (Light) temporary deployed on exercises in the Philippines for about 21 days; 156 members of the lst Battalion-294th Infantry (Light) Team Bravo to the Horn of Africa for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2005 for about 18 months. Team Alpha and Team Bravo will overlap for about five months.
Guam Air National Guard: 27 members of the 254th Services Flight to Qatar for Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2005 for about 120 days; one member of the 254th Services Flight to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom expected to leave in January 2005 for about 120 days; and 50 members of the 254th Civil Engineering Squadron temporarily deployed for training exercises in May 2005 for about 15 days.
NOTE: Missions dates and number of personnel may change.
Guard headquarters and Andersen guard facility open
A ribbon cutting was held Nov. 4 for the $6.4 million joint Guard forces headquarters in Barrigada constructed by Black Construction Corp. The Guam location is expected to be one of the first test locations for a unified satellite communications system.
The Guam Air National Guard on Nov. 5 held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the operations and training facility for the air guard at Andersen Air Force Base. The $4.3 million facility is equipped with a fiber-optic telecommunications system that will allow it to continue communications if local lines are down backup power and water systems and will house about 100 airmen. Construction by Sun Woo Corp. was federally funded.
Guard contributes heavily to economy
Speaking at the Armed Forces Committee breakfast on Nov. 12 at the Guam Marriott Resort Brig. General Robert Cockey adjutant general of the Guam National Guard said he expected the Guard to contribute $50 million to the economy in fiscal 2005. This would be through construction on Guam and federal funding into the Guam economy for deployed troops. He said the Guard contributed about $40 million in fiscal 2004.
Cemetery prepared for All Souls’ Day
Navy personnel cleaned the Sumay Cemetery on the Naval Base and set up chairs and canopies in preparation for All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2. Residents of Santa Rita were invited to the cemetery for a Catholic Mass on Nov. 2.
Lt. Comdr. Richard Rivera
Carrier Air Wing trains around Guam
Approximately 600 Carrier Air Wing Five personnel carried out training around Guam for four weeks in October and November. Lt. Cmdr. Richard A. Rivera strike operations officer for Carrier Air Wing Five and public affairs officer for the strike operations said “We’re doing a strike detachment and dropping weapons on the target area — R7201.” Live fire exercises also took place at Farallon de Mendenilla and training also included night flying exercises.
Carrier Air Wing Five is based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi 35 miles southwest of Tokyo. Japanese Maritime Self Defense forces are also based at Atsugi which has become increasingly urbanized.
Rivera said “We’re not able to get strike training — dropping bombs — in Japan.” He said the training exercises in Guam waters “allow us to get our training maintain our readiness and maintain our qualifications. We typically detach here once a year out of Andersen and twice a year out of the Kitty Hawk.” Rivera said “The weather really cooperated for us this time — this has been superb training.” Previous exercises from the USS Kitty Hawk took place in May and August.
The exercises involved 16 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets from the Strike Fighter Squadron VFA 195 known as the “Chippies ” or the “Dambusters ” and three E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. Personnel stayed at Andersen Air Force Base and in a number of hotels in Tumon with a large group at the Outrigger Guam Resort. Air wing personnel carried out exercises in two groups of about 300 personnel switching out on Nov. 7.
Bachelor facility opens
The Navy opened a Single Sailor Sanctuary on the Naval base on Nov. 5. It offers such facilities as computers pool tables and TV.
Houston to arrive
The USS Houston submarine is scheduled to arrive in December with approximately 150 personnel plus families. Some family members have already arrived on Guam. The Houston will join the USS City of Corpus Christi which homeported on Guam in October 2002 and the USS San Francisco which is homeported on Guam in December 2002.
Blue Angel squadron visit possible
Naval Forces Marianas have requested a visit to Guam in 2005 by the Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Squadron which flies F/A-18 Hornets. The Navy is awaiting an answer. MBJ