AAFB recommended for realignment
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced May 13 the realignment for Andersen Air Force Base along with other U.S. military Base Closure and Realignment Act recommendations. The joint recommendation concerning the Andersen realignment was to move the base’s installation management function to Naval Forces Marianas to consolidate and optimize the management processes while streamlining the manpower needed to perform common functions. An estimated 64 military and 31 civilian positions could be affected but Andersen officials do not yet know exactly which positions and functions.
Col. P.K. White commander of the 36th Air Expeditionary Wing at Andersen said although Rumsfeld’s BRAC recommendations are not final until approved by the president and Congress he fully supports the announced realignment plan.
Madeleine Z. Bordallo Guam’s delegate to Congress said “It seems the impact of the BRAC recommendations for Guam was less than anticipated because of the reduced scope of the closures at continental U.S. facilities. The consolidation recommended for Andersen AFB to bring the military’s infrastructure and utilities under a single management authority. If done right this may create more contract opportunities for our local business community ” according to the delegate’s office.
White said Andersen AFB will be working with Navy officials on Guam to determine what positions may be affected and to work out a strategy for transferring and then effectively operating the joint management functions from the Naval station. White emphasized the BRAC recommendations in no way detract from the military’s plans for buildup on Guam.
Nor would BRAC realignment plans affect the operational independence of military forces planned for Guam. The 36th announced May 19 an environmental impact study for the potential basing of a global task force at Andersen. The force would include 48 fighter aircraft on rotation 12 aerial refueling aircraft to be based at Andersen six bomber aircraft on rotation and three Global Hawk aircraft to be based at Andersen. Public comment on the impact which might include more than 2 400 personnel may be submitted to the Air Force until June 30.
Placement of Global Hawk strike bombers on the island is scheduled for fiscal 2009. Bordallo wrote on March 18 to Duncan Hunter chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; and Ike Skelton ranking member of the committee in support of fiscal 2006 funding for F/A-22 Raptors the newest fighter aircraft of the U.S. Air Force.
According to other information already released by the Air Force plans include military construction of about $1.2 billion through 2011 to establish strike capability of which $20.6 million is scheduled for fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2007.
An environmental impact study for utilities and facility construction for a regional training center at Northwest Field Andersen is also being conducted. Personnel will come from “three separate areas within the Air Force ” and the regional training center would add about 400 personnel from the military and contracting community.
The Air Force continues to move forward with several major capital improvement projects such as a $15.7 million medical clinic a $3.8 million shoppette and a $42 million shopping facility.
Defense school graduates 61 students
A total of 61 Guam High School students received high school diplomas on May 23 at the Big Screen Theater on Naval Base Guam. Brig. Gen. Donald J. Goldhorn adjutant general of the National Guard was the guest speaker. Guam High is one of four Department of Defense schools on Guam.
GUAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
• The chamber hosted the quarterly Armed Forces Committee breakfast meetingon May 20 at the Hyatt Regency Guam.
• The raffle to raise funds for the committee is ongoing. Prizes include Continental Airlines tickets and a Ford vehicle courtesy of Triple J Motors Inc. Tickets are available at $25 each with a committee special of “Buy 10 get one free.” The grand drawing will be held at the Seventh Annual Salute to the U.S. Armed Forces on July 19. The chamber aims to sell 1 500 tickets.
• The Armed Forces Committee hosted a wardroom reception for the HMAS Canberra and the USS Vandegrift on May 23 at the Pacific Islands Club.
GUAM NATIONAL GUARD
New security unit activated at Andersen
The 254th Security Forces Squadron Ceremony to add an associate unit to the existing Security Forces Squadron on Andersen Air Force Base was held May 3. Members of the unit have been deployed to Korea and Japan as well as augmenting security services at Andersen. Additionally some of the members are manning the front gates of this base while augmenting the 36th Security Forces Squadron. Capt. Anthony C. San Nicolas will command the new security unit. The 61-member unit is manned at 110% with over 80% of the members fully- trained “Security Forces Badge wearers”; 20% currently in training and 10% awaiting training. About 50% of this unit is currently activated. By September of this year the unit is expected to be at 120% manning.
According to a May 4 release from the Guard the last time a squadron was added to the Guam Air National Guard was 16 years ago with the 48-member 254th Services Flight.
Admiral stresses importance of CNMI locations
Rear Adm. Arthur Johnson commander of Naval Forces Marianas addressed Asia Pacific trends — threats and opportunities in the region and the importance of the region and Northern Mariana Islands facilities on May 20 at the Marianas Round Table economic conference in Saipan. Johnson confirmed in answer to audience questions that Farallon De Mendenilla was not the only live-fire facility available for military training but “the only U.S.-controlled bombing range ” and also said “What I clearly envision is increasing activity in Tinian. Right now ” he said “land currently being administered by the U.S. military is being looked at carefully for military potential.” He shared information on the number of port visits to Saipan (17 in 2003 14 in 2004 and seven in 2005 to date) and figures on average spending by U.S. personnel on port visits from 2003 to 2005.
Johnson also told the gathering that the Guam-ported USS Frank Cable submarine tender would visit Saipan for the Memorial Day weekend. The ship carries more than 1 000 personnel and will be accompanied by about 300 dependents.
The admiral met with members of the Armed Forces Committee of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce during the conference.
Farallon De Mendenilla live fire schedule ongoing
Live fire and aerial survey exercises will take place at the island as follows:
May 30 — 7 a.m. to 11.59 p.m. Live fire training
June 5 — 7 a.m. to 11.59 p.m. Live fire training
June 10 — 7 a.m. to9 p.m. -Live fire training
June 20 — a.m. to 1 p.m. Aerial survey
Ensign awarded Brnze Star Ensign David T. Shultz of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 was awarded his third Bronze Star for actions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David P. Fridovich of Special Operation Command Pacific on May 23 at the unit’s compound on Naval Base Guam. Also present were Cmdr. Vincent R. Martinez commanding officer of EODMU 5 and the Shultz family.
Navy hosts security exercises
Naval Hospital Guam and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Guam were the sites of a joint-training exercise conducted by Naval Security Forces Guam and Andersen Air Force Base emergency agencies from May 12 to May 13. MBJ