Andersen Shoppette opens
A grand opening ceremony was held on Jan. 18 for the new shoppette at Andersen Air Force Base. The new shoppette including a gas station carwash and a wider product selection will remain open an hour later than the old shop which closes at midnight. The new shoppette is closer to the housing complex and base front gate. The old shoppette will remain open in consideration of the temporary lodging dormitories.

Watts expresses manpower concern on Air Force Base Exchange Project

In a Feb. 21 announcement CDM/CAPE a joint venture that provides various services to the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence (AFC) sait it was awarded the construction contract for the new Andersen Air Force Base Exchange. In the same announcement the partnership named Watts Constructors the subcontractor for the project. In addition to California and Guam Watts handles operations in Hawaii Washington and Florida. The Guam office employs approximately 30 people.

“This is definitely a good thing ” said Isagani V. Cabral project manager for Watts Constructors. “It’s a big job and a great project.”

The project is estimated at $35.8 million.

When asked about the impact on the construction community Cabral who was a part of the Guam Kmart construction while employed with The Billingham Corp. of Hawaii said “It will be huge. I think its effect will be visible for years.”

According to Cabral there is much to be done. Watts Constructors is looking for subcontractors to perform the work but with strict guidelines regarding off-island H-2 laborers there may a manpower shortage requiring a review of such guidelines.

”We are a little worried because there are regulations against H-2 [workers] on this project and we are wondering if we have enough locals to get this done ” Cabral said.
“They may need to make an amendment to the rules.”

The expected 180 000 square-foot exchange is scheduled to be completed in September 2008 and could affect businesses elsewhere on Guam.

“I think it will decrease sales a little bit in the stores like Kmart ” Cabral said. “It will sell the same things you would find in that store for cheaper. All the military personnel that would have gone to Kmart will be able to shop at the exchange now.”

Vice President visits Guam
Vice President Dick B. Cheney made a brief visit to Guam on Feb. 22  to participate in an Andersen Air Force Base rally for the troops. Cheney arrived on Guam after a stop in Tokyo Japan and before a visit to Australia. He left the island aboard Air Force Two after several hours.

554th RHS receives essential shipment
On Jan. 21 Operating Location Alpha 554th Red Horse Squadron received a delivery of more than $4.2 million in equipment bringing the squadron nearer to a fully operational setup at Andersen Air Force Base.

Twenty-two items were received via barge from Korea including a rock crusher used for grinding large rocks into sand passenger transportation government vehicles and two trailers for hauling heavy equipment.

Specific to all Red Horse squadrons the Andersen Air Force Base squadron builds expedient facilities and roadways.  The squadron is scheduled to receive more shipments from Osan Air Base in Korea and Kadena Air Base in Japan and to eventually transport and house all of the 554th RHS assets in Guam by 2010. The recent delivery was also said to boost morale as the squadron has been operating with limited materials.

New bomber rotation cycle begins
Airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base La. began a four-month deployment at Andersen Air Force Base on Feb. 5.  The ongoing bomber rotation is designed to promote peace and continuity in the Pacific region and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the western Pacific. The current schedule began in 2004 and will continue through May with an addition of six aircraft and total airmen deployment numbers reaching 300.


Coast Guard joins search for missing tourist
A Japanese tourist seen swimming North of Pohnpei was reported missing on Feb. 10. Coast Guard Marianas Section joined the search on Day 5 coordinating a Navy P-3 Orion aircraft search mission while local agencies searched in small boats closer to shore. The Coast Guard search with the Navy aircraft from Japan was concentrated in an area to the east of Pohnpei’s “Ant” atoll based on estimations of where the tourist would have drifted over the five-day period. The six-hour search did not result in locating the individual.    



Okinawa lawmaker visits Guam
On Feb. 21 Mikio Shimoji a member of the House of Representatives of the national Diet of Japan; came to Guam to meet with officials regarding the military buildup. Shimoji participated in an open meeting with village mayors and a town hall meeting later that day.

“This is a very important duty for both Guam and Okinawa ” said Shimoji speaking through a translator. “We must continue to pursue this duty and it is a responsibility of ours to ensure security in East Asia. The standard of living should become better for Guam and there should not be a negative effect on either Guam or Okinawa.”

While attending a Guam Mayor’s Council meeting in Hagåtña Mr. Shimoji said “[We in] Okinawa understand the policies that move this process in a positive direction and I want to share my knowledge.”  “The troops should be moved security should be strengthened and an increased standard of living for the people of Guam should all happen simultaneously.”

During the public meeting Shimoji encouraged the council to remember that it is their right along with the people of Guam to benefit from this relocation.


Navy assists Taiwanese fishing boat
On the evening of Feb. 18 the Naval Forces Marianas personnel responded to a Taiwanese fishing boat Jin Tong Long 33 which had caught fire 640 miles northeast of Guam. The ship’s crew consisted of 11 men who had evacuated the ship and were waiting in life rafts when the Navy arrived. A Navy aircraft watched over the men through the night dropping additional life rafts and supplies and a passing merchant vessel picked the crew up the following morning.

Family housing project gets under way
Naval Forces Marianas held a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 21 for the construction of a 204-unit family housing area. The $35.9 million project was awarded to Watts Construction LLC in September 2006 and will replace current family housing units built in the mid-1950s. 

Admiral’s nomination confirmed
Adm. William J. Fallon former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; was recently nominated by the Bush Administration to head the U.S. Central Command which oversees the current conflict in the Middle East as well as activities in East Asia and Africa. The nomination which was confirmed on Feb. 7 marks the first time a U.S. Naval Officer has commanded the region. Fallon’s successor is still undecided though Ad. Timothy J. Keating of the U.S. Northern Command has been recommended.

Navy’s EOD unearths empty round at construction site
On Feb. 22 The Naval Forces Marianas Explosive Ordinance Division confirmed that ordnance found near the construction site of the Guam Office of Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense the previous day was an empty five-inch round belonging to the Navy possibly from World War II. The discovery halted construction which resumed a short time after the round was recovered. 


Guardsmen deployed to train Afghanistan Army
On Feb. 24 16 guardsmen were deployed to assist in training efforts of the Afghanistan National Army. Gov. Felix P. Camacho commended the service of these guardsmen in a Feb. 21 ceremony. The group named the Combat Support Embedded Training Team part of Task Force Phoenix VI under South Carolina’s Army National Guard 218th Enhanced Separate Brigade. Of the 16 deployed Gregory D. Perez vice president of Perez Bros. Inc. Construction and member of the board of directors of the Guam Chamber of Commerce is among them.

Live fire exercises on Farallon de Medinilla
Numerous live fire exercises  were conducted on the island of Farallon de Medinilla between Feb. 13 and Feb. 28.  The general location of the exercises was within ten nautical miles of the island and all fishermen commercial pilots and marine tour operators were notified to stay away from the area. MBJ