Incoming admiral announced for Guam and region

Capt. Benjamin R. Nicholson, selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half) in February, will be assigned as “U.S. Indo-Pacific Command representative, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau; commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas; and commander, Joint Region Marianas, Guam,” according to a March 30 release from the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Nicholson is currently serving as executive assistant to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

As the Journal announced earlier, Rear Adm. John Menoni has been assigned as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Two in Virginia Beach, Va.


Military transportation made permanent; adds stop

 The Patriot Express, which according to Journal files began including Guam in March 2020, will be permanent on the Guam-Seattle route. In addition, Kadena Air Base in Okinawa will be added to the route. According to Journal files, the flights were introduced due to the cost to personnel of returning to the U.S. mainland for vacation, as well as the fact that pets can easily be transported on the Patriot Express flights.

 What began as a six-month trial between Andersen Air Force Base and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was extended a further six months, but will now be a permanent routing according to See “DoD Patriot Express routes set for Guam in 2020,” in the Dec. 9, 2019 issue of the Journal and “Military express flights to launch in days,” in the March 2, 2020 issue of the Journal. Both stories can be found on

Flights are not available to all family members at this time.


Grants and funding updates:

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity March 30 encouraging port authorities to apply for $230 million in discretionary grant funding for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has funding for COVID-19 related funeral expenses, backdated to January 2020, according to a March 25 release from Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate to Congress.
  • The Northern Mariana Islands “stimulus portal” is now open at the Department of Finance website, according to a March 29 release.

Taxpayers who received a direct deposit on the second stimulus check do not have to use the portal to resubmit bank information. Valid bank ACH information from the second stimulus will be used for the third round of payments. All invalid bank account information, including error deposits, have been removed from the database.  Taxpayers who wish to resubmit or update their bank information may use the portal to provide new valid routing and account numbers.

  • Another $5,69 million from the $56 million Northern Mariana Islands solid waste fund allotted throughS. Public Law 116-20, is now available for use, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on  March 24, according to a March 27 release from the office of Gregorio Camacho “Kilili” Sablan, the NMI’s delegate to Congress. “The money will be used to complete debris clean-up from Yutu, make emergency repairs to the Marpi Landfill, and develop a comprehensive solid waste plan for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. An initial drawdown of $565,980 last August allowed the Commonwealth’s Office of Planning and Development to hire new staff for Tinian, Rota, and Saipan and create an inter-island solid waste taskforce to develop plans for zero waste projects for each municipality. The remaining $49.7 million will be used to put those plans into action over a five-year period, so Saipan, Tinian, and Rota all have environmentally appropriate solid waste facilities,” the release said.


Travel updates

  • United Airlines has returned to John F. Kennedy Airport, now operating direct service to the airline’s West Coast hubs – Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport from New York City, according to a March 29 release. The airline will use its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft which features 46 business class all-aisle-access seating, and 22 United Premium Plus seats.

The airline earlier said that internationally “in May United will fly more than 100% of its pre-pandemic schedule to Latin America compared to what it operated in 2019, including more flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The airline also plans to resume flights between Chicago and Tokyo Haneda, resume passenger flights between New York/Newark and Milan and Rome, and restart service between Chicago and Amsterdam. In total, United plans to operate 52% of its overall schedule compared to May 2019, whereas in May 2020 United operated 14% of its overall schedule compared to May 2019.”          

In its plans for domestic travel United is “kicking off summer vacation season with a robust May schedule that includes the addition of 26 new nonstop routes between Midwest cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati and Milwaukee and popular vacation destinations such as Hilton Head, S.C.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Portland, Maine.” United also plans to resume more than 20 domestic routes and will start new service between Orange County, Calif., and Honolulu, it said in a March 25 release.

  • Eva Air and Virgin Atlantic are conducting trials of health passport platforms on select routes, the carriers said. Various airlines and travel organizations have announced trials and plans for some form of travel pass for vaccinated individuals. (See various exclusive stories on )


Public meeting upcoming on Chalan Pago-Ordot plans

A virtual public meeting will be held on April 7 in the evening for plans to apply for a $1.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan for the village of Chalan Pago-Ordot’s Multi-Purpose Center. (See various exclusive stories on To attend the meeting, contact [email protected], or call 472-8302 for further details and the link. mbj