Military exercises to take place in Northern Mariana Islands in coming weeks

While Valiant Shield 2022 continues in Guam until June 22, the U.S. military will hold the Joint Forces Field Training Exercise 2022 from June 5 to June 12 in Saipan and Tinian.

Participating U.S. forces include the Navy, the Army, the Marines Corps., and the Air Force with 300 personnel expected to be on Tinian and 120 personnel on Saipan, according to a release from Commonwealth Bureau of Military Affairs and Joint Region Marianas.

“The USAF will conduct airlift and refueling operations at the Saipan International [Airport] while the US Army 1st Special Forces Group will conduct maritime base training on watercraft vessels and dive operations in the Saipan port and surrounding waters.

“The Naval Surface Warfare Center Detachment will be conducting land-based command and control activities with Tactical Military Vehicles, which include four oversize semi-trucks with simulated 55’ Green High Vehicle Target onboard flatbed system platforms,” the bureau said.

Residents can expect to see convoys on public roads, with replica models of the HVTs. For an opportunity to view a static display of the military tactical vehicles, please contact the bureau of Military Affairs at (670) 488-0220.

Valiant Shield began on May 20, according to Journal files. U.S. personnel are also due to be in Palau as part of the exercise.


In related news:

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sang Kim

The Military Sealift Command’s USNS Mercy hospital ship will be briefly in Guam this week – the ship last visited Guam in 2018, according to Naval Base Guam. The visit will allow the crew “time for rest an relaxation” and to “conduct mission preparations, perform routine maintenance and load additional supplies onto the ship.”

As earlier reported, the ship is in the region for Pacific Partnership 2022. The Mercy departed San Diego May 3.  U.S. Navy, Royal Navy and Australian Defence Force military members are embarked aboard the Mercy as part of the Pacific Partnership 2022 team, according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.  The Royal Navy’s HMS Tamar will join for part of the exercise.

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps announced the Natibu Division of the Northern Mariana Islands held its first weekend drill on Saipan on May 21 at Northern Marianas Technical Institute for 25 lead recruits. The cadets participated in basic training, and seamanship, with a sailing excursion hosted by the Saipan Sailing School. USNSCC is open to all youth years 11 to 18 holding US citizenship or green card. Middle school youth join the Naval League Cadet Core and high school youth join the Naval Sea Cadet Core.


JV gets Andersen MilCon award

The Granite-Obayashi Joint Venture was awarded May 26 a $9.99 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of Hayman munitions storage igloos at Andersen Air Force Base. The work provides for demolition and construction of three earth-covered munitions storage igloos and incidental related work. Work is expected to be completed by January 2024. Fiscal 2020 military construction (Air Force) funds in the amount of $1,464,933; and fiscal 2022 military construction (Air Force) funds in the amount of $8,528,490 were obligated. The contract was competitively procured with four offers received and the award was made by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific.


Comments open for Marine Corps Guam relocation, while group to sue to stop plans

The U.S. Navy announced May 26 a 45-Day Comment Period for a PA Memo Supporting the Marine Corps Relocation to Guam, with a deadline of July 9.

The PA memo provides new cultural and natural resources information associated with planned construction projects and is available on the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific Cultural Information webpage at The URL is case sensitive.

This supplemental PA Memo is regarding the modification of the Area of Potential Effects for H-279 Military Family Housing located at Andersen Air Force Base. The H-279 project was completed in 2015 and included the demolition of Wherry-Capehart era family housing and the construction of new housing. Activities associated with this project included demolition of housing, geotechnical predesign work, grading and leveling, the installation of new utilities, and the construction of new family housing units. Comments may be emailed to [email protected].

Meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity, Blue Ocean Law and Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian said the same day they have “notified the U.S. Navy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today that they intend to sue to stop the ongoing construction of a machine gun range and the relocation of 5,000 U.S. Marines to Guam.”

These activities jeopardize the survival of 15 endangered species, including the Guam Micronesia kingfisher and the Mariana eight-spot butterfly, the group said.

The center also filed May 25 “a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect critical habitat for 49 endangered Hawaiian Islands species,” according to a separate release.  


Airline reintroduces Japan route

United Airlines is reintroducing its Osaka-Guam service beginning July 1 to meet what it says is “summer travel demand to Guam.”

DepartTimeArriveTimeDay of the Week
Guam7:20 a.m.Osaka10:10 a.m.Wed. / Fri. / Sun.
Osaka11:05 a.m.Guam3:55 p.m.Wed. / Fri. / Sun.

 United also confirmed its schedule for the Narita-Guam route from July 1:

DepartTimeArriveTimeDay of the Week
DepartTimeArriveTimeDay of the Week
Guam7:00 a.m.Narita9:55 a.m.Mon. / Tues. / Thurs. / Fri. / Sat. / Sun.
Guam12:30 p.m.Narita3:25 p.m.Daily
Guam5:00 p.m.Narita7:55 p.m.Sun.
Narita11:00 a.m.Guam3:55 p.m.Mon. / Tues. / Thurs. / Fri. / Sat. / Sun.
Narita5:00 p.m.Guam9:55 p.m.Daily
Narita9:05 p.m.Guam1:45 a.m. (+1)Sun.

Schedules may be subject to change. (+1) means the following day.

From June 3, United will operate two more morning flights per week between Guam and Narita, bringing the total number of flights to 11 per week.


In related news, Japanese media are reporting that Japan on May 26 eased travel warnings for 36 countries and areas, including the U.S. Britain, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Kyodo News reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lowered travel advisories from the third-highest Level 2 to Level 1, which advises Japanese to stay alert when traveling to those destinations.

Japan is now allowing vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country, but only in groups with specific itineraries. A doubling of the cap to 20,000 tourist arrivals in Japan has yet to be confirmed for June 1.

The Marianas Visitors Authority said arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota grew 2027% to 5,593 visitors in April 2022, compared to 263 visitors to the Northern Mariana Islands in April 2021. The figure is an overall decrease of 86% from 39,663 visitors received in April 2020, MVA said.


Telecom providers charge more for 911 than national average, release said

Sen. Telo Taitague introduced Bill 308, limiting telephone service and commercial mobile radio service providers to assess no more than 5% of 911 surcharges.

The measure responds to issues raised during a legislative budget hearing involving the Guam Fire Department for fiscal 2023. According to GFD representatives, an average of 85¢ of the $1 monthly surcharge is remitted to the Government of Guam, with the remaining 15¢ retained by service providers for administrative costs, according to a May 24 release.

The Office of Public Accountability Report No. 2010-06 said administrative costs in Guam are inconsistent and are higher than the rates assessed in other U.S. jurisdictions. The OPA found that provider costs ranged from a low of 1% in Texas to a high of 5% in North Dakota. New York City and Pennsylvania providers charged 2%. The OPA determined that local service providers administratively retained a low of 3% to a high of 31% for each surcharge dollar.

The government of Guam collected $2,210,810.00 in 911 surcharges from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 according to the 13th Annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges.


For your diary:

The Guam branch of the American Association of University Women will begin in-person lunches from May 28 at noon at the Hagatna Jamaican Grill. Several Guam Makers will be featured speakers, explaining their locally made sustainable products. A tour of the Makers’ Space at the Hagatna Chamorro Markets will follow the luncheon. Tickets are on

The Guam Conservatory of Arts will hold an Open House and Potluck on May 28 from noon to 4 p.m. RSVP to GuamConservator.Org/Events.

Marine Corps Memorial Day flyover by four F/A-18 Hornets: From south to North from Agat – passing over the Guam Veterans Cemetery at 10.a.m. and then continuing to Saipan where the planes will pass over the Veterans Cemetery at 10.45 a.m. on Monday, May 30.

The Imbentibu Famalao’an II Art Exhibit will open June 4 at the Lees-Reyes Gallery in Tumon Sands Plaza with a Meet the Artists from 4 to 6 p.m.

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero’s State of the Island Address – 6.30 p.m. on June 7, Guam Legislature. mbj