Military COVID numbers continue to rise; mask mandate on bases reinstated

A release from Joint Region Marianas Aug. 5 announced the reinstatement of the mask requirement both indoors and outdoors on military installations in Guam.

Guam’s positive COVID numbers and CAR score have both risen in recent days. 

Visiting military personnel also testing positive, in what a release said was “following an increase in COVID-19 positive cases among military members, concurrent with an increased operational tempo and influx of temporarily assigned personnel.”

Lt. Commander Katie Koenig, public affairs officer for JRM told the Journal on Aug. 5, “Admiral Nicholson’s decision to reassess the mask policy was directly related to the increase in COVID positive cases among military members over the past few days. The decision was made to align with GovGuam’s mask mandate in order to preserve force health protection and community public health.

“The majority of positive cases are among unvaccinated members; however, some of the positive cases are from vaccinated members as well.”

Joint Region Marianas separately notified the Journal on Aug. 5, that of a total of 69 recent positive cases among U.S. military personnel, 43 were unvaccinated and 26 were vaccinated.

Specific information on demographics of arrivals that test positive has been limited in the Mariana Islands, though the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. in Saipan and Guam’s Department of Health and Social Services have both now begun to identify if positive cases are unvaccinated or not.

The military is expected to require its personnel to vaccinate in the coming months, particularly when the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations approves vaccines.


Another BEQ for Guam Marine Base awarded

Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command Pacific confirmed Aug. 6 an additional award for Bachelor Enlisted Quarters for Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, with the $546 award to a joint venture of Core Tech International, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. and Kajima Corp. for the design and construction of five “multi-story bachelors enlisted quarters complexes” at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Guam. The award is funded by the government of Japan, through what is known as Mamizu money, and an Aug. 6 release from NAVFAC Pacific described it as “the largest of the contracts planned for construction of Camp Blaz.” Those towers are expected to be completed by December 2023.

According to Journal files, the Cadell-Nan joint venture is constructing three BEQ towers at the base:

  • J-031 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters D
    $102,750,997 Caddell-Nan
  • J-033 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters F
    $101,525,339 Caddell-Nan
  • P-459 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters H
    $64,100,000 Caddell-Nan

The accommodation of 300 units per tower is for unaccompanied E1 to E5 personnel.


UK carrier strike group arriving in Guam; port leave okayed

The HMS Queen Elizabeth – the British Navy’s newest carrier will berth at Naval Base Guam today – Aug. 6, for a port visit. Personnel in the group are due to head off-base, bringing a welcome boost to island businesses. Whether the ship will also re-provision in Guam is as yet unconfirmed. Ship personnel are fully vaccinated, but will conform to requirements before leaving base and while on-island.

Aside from British ships that form part of the group (an estimated 3,000 personnel) the guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans is deployed with the strike group, as are F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 and the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen. The ship has been taking part in joint exercises in the region.

The Queen Elizabeth has drawn VIP visitors and media attention, as well as been the subject of warnings from the People’s Republic of China as it neared the South China Sea.

U.S. Marine Corps commander David H. Berger has toured the ship as has the U.S. Marine Corps Forces commander for Europe and Africa.

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero is scheduled to the visit the ship on Aug. 6, as are media in Guam. Leon Guerrero said in Aug. 5 release from Joint Region Marianas, “The decision to come to Guam was heavily based on our island’s incredible success with COVID-19 vaccinations, which allows for a greater sense of security for both our visitors and our local community.”

Cdre.* Steve Moorhouse, commander of the carrier strike group; also said in the release confirming the visit, “Since we left the U.K. in May, our journey has taken us from the familiar waters of the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, across the Indian Ocean and into the Western Pacific. During this time, we have undertaken exercises and engagements with more than 20 nations.

“Our visit to Guam provides an opportunity for some much-deserved rest and recreation. We are grateful to the U.S. Navy for the use of their facilities, and we look forward to exploring this beautiful Pacific island.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II christened the 65,000 tonne ship (with a bottle of Scotch whisky); the vessel is named for Queen Elizabeth I. The ship has a total capacity for 1,600 crew members.

According to’s figures from the Royal Navy and other sources, the £3 billion ship’s 40 chefs will be able to prepare a full English breakfast for the crew daily.

Among its multiple gyms is a dedicated boxing training facility. The ship also has a pub – The Queen’s Head.

*Commodore is a rank of the Royal Navy above captain and below rear admiral, but considered a substantive title, according to the Royal Navy. mbj