The official deadline for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to issue its recommendations is May 16 but all expectations are as the Journal goes to press that there will be an announcement some days ahead of that.
Guam has expectations that it will not see closure but realignment because military leaders have told us so.
Each of a long line of military VIPs and members of Congress who have visited Guam have emphasized our strategic importance the tensions in the region which make our island even more notable as America’s outpost in Asia and not least the patriotism of our population.
May has already seen the departure of the 13th Air Force headquarters for Hawaii a decision that apparently came out of the blue although Maj. Gen. Edward Rice commander of the 13th never actually took up residence in Guam in the short months between his appointment and the 13th’s departure.
The wisdom of the decision to move the headquarters of the 13th is yet to be revealed. The 13th did not leave quietly but threw a ceremony that saw island leaders invited to witness the departure of a group that it had welcomed with open arms. Despite attempts to put a positive spin on the departure there was certainly confusion about the message and an element of tastelessness about the day. Why is the military open about bad news and so secretive about good news?
While in our heart of hearts the community knew the chances of an aircraft carrier being stationed here were slim if we were not to get the carrier there was still the hope that the island would see the carrier wing forward deployed.
Now it seems the Navy and the Air Force have great plans for Guam.
What the island will see reportedly according to the chief of Naval operations is five new amphibious warships together with their crews contingents of U.S. marines and whatever support personnel are required for the hardware the ships carry.
And Anderson South is once again to see military personnel within its walls as U.S. Marines will be stationed there.
What a pity those announcements couldn’t have been made at a time when the 13th was leaving.
While the amphibious warfare ships or the Marines are not expected to arrive immediately or indeed for a couple of years the prospect would have made the smiles at the ceremony when the 13th left a lot less fixed.