Boera replaces P.K. White
Col. Michael Boera relieved Col. Paul “P.K.” White as commander of the 36th Air Expeditionary Wing at Andersen Air Force Base on July 18.

JASDF uses live ordnance in Air Force exercise
Andersen Air Force Base conducted fighter aircraft exercise Cope North 05-02 from July 11 to July 22. This is the sixth time the U.S. and Japan jointly participated in the Cope North exercise on Guam and is the first time that the Japan Air Self Defense Force used live ordnance.

Participating aircraft and personnel include USAF F-15E’s from the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base Idaho and JASDF F-4E’s and E-2C’s from Misawa Air Base Japan.

The Cope North exercise have existed since 1978 and have included thousands of American and Japanese personnel honing skills vital to maintaining a high level of readiness. The Air Force said the exercise was planned for months and bears no connection to any real-world events.


Guam delegation attends BRAC hearings
A Guam delegation attended the public session of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in Los Angeles Calif. on July 14. Closed-door commission meetings followed the public session. Gov. Felix P. Camacho Madeleine Z. Bordallo Guam’s delegate to Congress and the chairman of the Armed Forces Committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce also spoke at the session. Mark Forbes speaker of the 28th Guam Legislature submitted written testimony. The BRAC commission in May recommended a realignment of administrative functions for Navy and Air Force commands on Guam with a cut of 64 military positions and 31 civilian employees at Andersen. No decisions will be final until the end of 2005. BRAC commissioners will forward their recommendations to President George W. Bush by Sept. 8. Recommendations will then go to the U.S. Congress which must accept or reject them. The recommendations are expected to be finalized by November.

Bordallo laid out Guam’s strategic importance pointed out that Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Station Guam can provide space for training and expansion and that Andersen can hold a large capacity of fuel and has two 2-mile airstrips. She also indicated that the Navy homeports two submarines and “the Congressional Budget Office reports that it could hold up to 11 submarines.”

Bordallo said “Guam has the ground- based maneuver space to facilitate any number of Marine Army or Special Operations military exercises. … Guam has long been sought for its maneuver space particularly by the Special Operations forces that have become the centerpiece of the global war on terror. Furthermore the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force has indicated a desire to base Marines on Guam.” (See “No aircraft carrier… but U.S. Marines for Andy South in two years ” in the May 16 edition of the Journal).


Coast Guard sees changes of command
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam held a change of command ceremony on July 22. Capt. Dale M. Rausch was relieved by Capt. William R. Marhoffer. A reception followed at the Polaris Point Club.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sequoia held a change of command ceremony at Victor Wharf on Naval Base Guam. Lt. Cmdr. Matthew T. Meilstrup was relieved by Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey F. Neumann.

Grounded vessel crew transported to Midway
The Coast Guard’s Unified Command continued to monitor the 145-foot motor vessel the Casitas a week after it ran aground at the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The vessel ran aground 86 miles east southeast of Midway Island on July 2.

A Coast Guard Air Station Barber’s Point C-130 Hercules aircraft transported the Casitas crew and scientific personnel to Oahu July 6. A team that specializes in marine environmental response — the Coast Guard National Strike Force Team Pacific — conducted assessments on board the Casitas.

According to Walt R. Woodruff physician assistant and medical administrator for the Midway Atoll Medical Clinic the Casitas is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel carrying research divers who perform marine debris collection and removal. The ship sometimes carries supplies to Midway that cannot be transported by air.

The Coast Guard Cutter Walnut was also scheduled to conduct assessments and prepare to remove the fuel from the Casitas. The owners of the Casitas also hired a dive company to conduct hull assessments.

The Unified Command brought together Hawaii State Department of Health the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the U.S. Coast Guard the Department of the Interior the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the owners of the Casitas to explore options in reducing threat of pollution from the Casitas. A week after the incident Coast Guard C-130 aircraft continued daily flights to monitor the Casitas.

Guam National Guard

Guard contingent returns from Africa
More than 150 soldiers with the Guam Army National Guard’s Company A 294th Infantry Regiment (Light) returned to Hawaii June 28 after serving 12 months with the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. The Guam soldiers provided force protection for units in Djibouti as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition Guam units provided security medical and veterinarian services engineering missions personnel rescues and military training for African soldiers. The 294th replaced Company B 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment and were replaced by Company B of the 294th.

Eight more members of the Guam Army National Guard’s 1st 294th Infantry Battalion (Light) Alpha Company (Team Alpha) returned to Guam after a 12-month deployment to the Horn of Africa. This is the tenth set of more than 150 soldiers that were deployed to Africa since March 2004. Six more of the rear detachment are in Hawaii completing operations.

Team Alpha provided support as its primary mission to the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa — a multilateral coalition focused on regional cooperative security and stability. The CJTF-HOA oversees counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa for U.S. Central Command as part of the global war on terrorism. The CJTF-HOA includes Kenya Somalia Sudan Eritrea Djibouti Yemen Ethiopia the coastal areas of the Red Sea Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. There are about 1 400 U.S. forces deployed to the Horn of Africa.


Marine World War II liberator returns to Guam
Lee Russell Polk of Michigan will be Grand Marshal of Guam’s LiberationDay Parade in Hagåtña.

Polk was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” forsingle-handedly destroying two enemy tanks and disabling a third in the hillsabove Agat as part of a two-man bazooka team. He loaded the weapon while hispartner fired the weapon. Polk’s fellow Marine was killed. Polk enlistedin the Marines on June 1 1942. He was in a convoy of ships that was attackedby kamikaze planes in the historically famous “Marianas Turkey Shoot”.

Facilities engineering changes commanding officer
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas held a change of command ceremony July 8 at the engineering command compound on Naval Base Guam. Capt. David M. Boone was relieved by Capt. Kenneth W. Branch as commanding officer.

Boone who developed close relations with Guam’s contracting community oversaw the February conversion of the Public Works Center Guam and the Officer in Charge of Construction Marianas to the engineering command. Boone was previously deployed to Guam with a Seabee battalion in the mid-1980s.

Guam’s delegate to Congress Bordallo Visits Guantanamo Bay Iraq and Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Madeleine Z. Bordallo Guam’s delegate to Congress joined a 15-member bipartisan congressional delegation to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Cuba on June 25. Duncas Hunter chairman of the House Armed Services Committee led the delegation. According to a June 27 announcement Bordallo and her colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee toured cellblocks witnessed prisoner interrogations and viewed a tribunal of a detainee. Following a classified briefing with base commanders Bordallo joined several soldiers from Guam for lunch which consisted of the same food provided to the prisoners.

Bordallo also visited Iraq and Afghanistan from July 7 to 10 as part of a congressional delegation. She has made three previous visits to Iraq and two previous visits to Afghanistan. As she has done during previous visits Bordallo carried small gifts from Guam for the troops. MBJ