Air Force Guam

Intro

This presentation acquaints readers on certain important issues about the US Air Force operations on the island of Guam. It provides them with basic and general knowledge of the conditions experienced by members of the US Air Force while on duty at the Andersen Air Force Guam Base which is the home of the US Air Force on the island in the village of Yigo.

As an information package, it is likewise deemed important in this presentation to trace the historical roots of how the US Navy began and evolved to become one of the major military commands of the United States of America. This process of going back to the beginnings of the US Air Force gives us a better perspective to see the relevance of its presence on the island of Guam. In doing this historical tracing, it is inevitable not to touch other matters related to the US defense program spearheaded by the US Defense Department wherein the US Air Force is one of the key military components and the US Air Force on the island of Guam is one of its most important installations being tasked to cover the enormous expanse of the Asia-Pacific region.

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Towards the end, the image of the US Air Force presence in Guam is given a more typically human touch as social services in terms of housing facilities, temporary lodging units, medical care facilities, schools, family and childcare centers, among others are focused upon as they are made available not only for the military servicemen but for the civilian members of their families.

 

THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE: A GENERAL OVERVIEW

The US Department of Defense and the Military

The predecessor of what is now known as the US Department of Defense was the US War Department which saw the light in 1789 following the American Revolution. Earlier, in 1775, the Revolution itself triggered the formation of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States of America which were all instrumental to finally achieve the nation’s liberation from British colonialism the following year, 1776.

In 1790, a year after the inauguration of the US War Department, the US Coast Guard (which was later absorbed within and ever since has become a part of the Homeland Security force during peace time) was established. Eight years later, i.e., in 1798, the US Department of the Navy was inaugurated.

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Generations later, the US government saw the need to integrate all the various military services of the country under a single Department and such spontaneously led to the formation in 1947 of the National Military Establishment which replaced the US War Department . Later, the said establishment became the Department of the Army. Concurrent to that event that same year was the establishment of the US Air Force which became the impetus that finally led to the founding of the Department of the Air Force.

Conclusively, by virtue of a mandate enacted by the US Senate, the new Department of Defense absorbed and took absolute control of the three major US military commands of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. In 1949, though, the National Security Act was amended leading to the dissolution of the cabinet status originally granted to secretaries of the three military service departments. This new consolidation of former cabinet-level departments was the official beginning of what we now know as the Department of Defense.

The essential character of the US Department of Defense makes it the oldest and most comprehensive system within the US federal government. Its evolution is embedded in the history of American nationalism and patriotism that began with the military exploits of the early patriots even as early as during the era before the Revolution. Now, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. is where the headquarters of the Department of Defense are located. It is the core of major defense strategic management and operationalizations that radiate to various US defense facilities and installations well-placed and well-sustained around the globe as bastions of national security protecting US interests worldwide.

The Secretary of the Department of Defense, being part of the federal government’s executive cabinet, serves as the key defense policy advisor to the President of the United States of America. One of the different sectors that constitute the Defense Department system is the military sector composed of the Departments of the Army, Navy (with the US Marine Corps under its auspices), and Air Force. Each of these military departments is a distinct entity under the leadership of a Secretary whose functions are under the authoritative direction and control of the Secretary of Defense. These military departments are tasked with the responsibility to efficiently organize, effectively train and sophisticatedly equip the military personnel within their respective commands.

The US Department of the Air Force

The US Department of Air Force is one of the military departments of the U.S. Department of Defense . The Air Force saw its beginning at the inception of the Aeronautical Division of the Army Signal Corps in 1907 which became a separate service entity by virtue of the National Security Act of 1947. When the National Security Act was amended in 1949, the US Air Force became one of the military departments of the then newly formed Department of Defense. The command responsibility chain that leads to the level of the Department of the Air Force traditionally starts from the level of the US President down to the Secretary of Defense and finally down to the Secretary of the Air Force. Among its distinguished military achievements as an indispensable component of modern warfare, the US Air Force played an extraordinarily significant role in the two world wars, in the Korean conflict as well as during the protracted Vietnam war of the 60s and 70s. In time of peace, the US Air Force has been the major player in major space exploration endeavors and in the utilization of sophisticatedly designed aircraft and space satellites for intelligence monitoring and action.

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Being a major part of the Department of Defense, the Department of the Air Force likewise locates its headquarters at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Besides, under the US Air Force command are more than thirty-six field operating agencies and units that directly report to the main command and directly support missions through the delivery of unique services.

Along with the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guards, the US Air Force has the distinguished global reputation as the best of its kind.

How the US Air Force Began

On September 18, 1947, the United States Air Force became a separate military command by virtue of the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947 which basically created the US Department of Defense composed of the Army, Navy and newly inaugurated Air Force as the key components of the Department’s military sector. Early before 1947, military aviation responsibilities were allocated separately with the Army and the Navy. It was actually the US Army that initiated the formation of an air force component in 1907 whose evolution finally led to its separation 40 years later as a distinct major military command which later further developed to be known as the US Air Force.

Mission-Vision and the Three Core Competencies of the US Air Force

The United States Air Force upholds its general organizational mission “to fly, fight and win in space and cyberspace.” In this connection, the US Air Force sets its vision to be a trustworthy and steadfast collaborator constantly operating efficiently and effectively side-by-side and hence in coordination and cooperation with the other major US military commands as a reliable partner in most major US military operations worldwide.

In fulfillment of this mandated duty, the US Air Force is equipped with the dynamics of three core competencies dedicated to develop: 1) the best world-class airmen; 2)the most sophisticated air and space aviation technology both in times of war and peace; and 3)the most integrally configured and assembled strategic system for air and space operations.

 

THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE IN GUAM

History of US Air Force Guam

The US Air Force in Guam began at the height of the Second World War in the Pacific theater when in 1944, four American servicemen of the 854th Airfield Construction Battalion on the island of Guam nicknamed “Spearheaders” huddled around a drafting table under a tent doing the blueprint of the conceptualized airfield with its runways, taxiways and parking spaces that would later be known as the Andersen Air Force Base. The specific place where these men finished the draft was a concealed and thickly forested area at the northern tip of Guam. The runway complex became operational in February 1945 and was given the name North Field. By February 3, 1945, the first B-29 piloted by Major General Curtis E. LeMay, Jr. landed on one of the two completed runways. Three weeks later on February 25, 1945, the first air combat mission from the island took off at the North Field. US bombing missions over Japan emanated from the North Field on a daily basis while finishing touches were still being done on the concretE grounds of the new air field in June 1945.  Please let us know if you need a townhouse for sale in Makati, as we have registered agents that assist with home purchases.

 

It was also on February 25, 1945 when a B-24 Liberator aircraft with Lieutenant General Millard F. Harmon, commanding general of the Army Air Forces/Pacific Ocean Areas (AAF/POA) and Brigadier General James R. Andersen, his chief of staff, on board took off the North Field, Guam on the way to Washington, D.C. via Kwajalein and Hawaii. Their aircraft landed safely on Kwajalein Island but failed to reach Hawaii when it disappeared over the Pacific the next day it took off Kwajalein Island.. The remains of the aircraft as well as the bodies of the passengers on board were never recovered.

When the US Air Force was declared a separate major military command in 1947, the North Field was renamed North Guam Air Force Base. A couple of years later, on October 7, 1949, North Guam Air Force Base was finally given the name that it carries until this point in time: Andersen Air Force Base, in honor of the distinguished US Air Force officer, Brigadier General James Roy Andersen. General Andersen was born (in 1904) and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. An alumnus of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, Andersen belonged to class1926. As an Air Force colonel, he took the duty of Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas in Hawaii. While there, he was the key conceptualist who planned for and spearheaded the final transfer of the said headquarters to the island of Guam in January 1945. His rank was also raised to Brigadier-General that same month.

Andersen Air Force Base in Guam

Andersen Air Force Base is a United States Air Force (USAF) base hosted by the 36th USAF Wing (36 WG) assigned to the 13th Air Force in the Pacific . It is located roughly around 4 miles northeast of Yigo, Guam. The 36 WG is a non-flying wing designated with responsibilities to support the deployment of USAF’s air and space forces and foreign air forces at Andersen. It also provides auxiliary services to tenant units at base.

Andersen Air Force Guam is home to two major air commands: 1) the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF); and 2) the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The tenant units located within its premises are: 1) the 13th Air Force; 2) the 634th Air Mobility Support Squadron (AMSS); and 3) the Navy Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Five (HC-5).
As its base mission, Andersen AFB is committed to provide peacetime and wartime support for airspace capabilities in the Asian-Pacific region.

Andersen Air Force Base, originally known as North Field when it opened in 1944. was basically a launching base in the Pacific for B-29 bombers during the Second World War. It was later renamed in honor of Brigadier General James R. Andersen (1904–1945), former Chief of Staff of the Army Air Force in the Pacific, who was lost and never found as he flew back to Honolulu in 1945. Andersen AFB maintains its major auxiliary role for the effective and sustained strategic firepower in the Pacific region. It also continues to undertake its capabilities as a launching base for significant military operations in the area. As a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base, Andersen AFB has always been a dependable support network since the Second World War and more significantly during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

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Two years after the end of the Vietnam war, Andersen became a major participant in the implementation of Operation New Life, a rehabilitation program designed to provide temporary homes for thousands of Vietnamese refugees right within the base compound. In this connection, Andersen facilities were used for the processing of these refugees until they were given the go-signal to be finally transferred to and absorbed in the United States.

Presently located within Andersen AFB are enormous storage facilities for fuel and munitions supportive of whatever future large-scale military operations in the region. It also maintains dual runways, being a vital logistics center for the deployment of contingency forces both in the southwest part of the Pacific Ocean as well as in Indian Ocean. Andersen’s expansive airspace and stable flying conditions are prime factors that have made it a preferred training ground for various military units of the US and other allied countries.

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE AS PART OF THE JOINT REGION MARIANAS

Through the implementation of the recommendations arrived at in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, an ad hoc body formed by US Congress’ legislative act, the Joint Region Marianas was created and inaugurated on February 6, 2009 to integrate the two existing military bases on Guam— Navy Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base—into a single and united entity consolidating all of the two military installations’ adjacent facilities.

Joint Region Marianas represents the historic culmination of the lasting cooperation between the Navy and the Air Force on Guam, connecting with the spirit of America’s commitment to freedom and democracy the roughly 30-mile distance between Andersen Air Force Base and US Naval Base Guam. Under the aegis of Joint Region Marianas, each of the two united bases still has to have a commanding officer responsible to supervise their corresponding needs and operations assessment pertinent to their respective missions. Joint Region Marianas is properly viewed as a coordinating and monitoring entity that looks into the effective and efficient performances of support services, the spontaneous practicability of existing policies, and the sustainability and stability of both material and human resources.

The Commander of Joint Region Marianas has the concurrent duties and responsibilities as 1) Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas; and 2) US Defense Representative to Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia.

SERVICE FACILITIES AT ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE

Temporary Lodging

It is a general rule at Andersen Air Force Base that newly arrived military servicemen are required to check in at the Andersen AFB Housing Office. Those who come to Guam for permanent change of station (PCS) need to accomplish a TLA form for off-base lodging as there is no available temporary on-base lodging at Andersen. Though, advanced reservations may be worked out regarding this matter. However, to arrange reservations at a hotel downtown, they need to coordinate with their sponsors. The high tourism value of Guam is its major economic asset and this situation makes possible the availability of a number of lodging places where guests may stay on either a short-term or long-term basis. Two lodging places highly recommended by both federal and military personnel who previously held official assignments in Guam are Tour of Duty Guam and Island Reservations.

Kennel or other types of pet shelters are provided in a typical temporary lodging place as pets are not allowed in its premises. In this connection, Andersen operates a specific place for pets —the Andersen Pet Lodge—which is: 1) a pet quarantine where medical processes, especially anti-rabies vaccination, are administered considering that Guam is a rabies-free locale; 2) a boarding space for long-time Guam-resident pets; and 3) a center that facilitates the improvement of the pets’ quality of life once they arrived and have become residents of Andersen AFB.

Housing

There are 1,339 residential units located at Andersen Air Force Base. Command sponsorship is the basic requirement for a serviceman to avail of a military family housing (MFH) unit. However, on-base housing opportunity is not readily granted as an average waiting period which varies on a monthly basis has to pass. In fact, there are times when applicants have to actually wait longer as units are renovated. The base’s housing office is the best place to find out if there are available housing units that fit the category of the applicants.

Overseas temporary lodging allowance (TLA) invalidates the issue of housing preference unit at Andersen. First-come-first-served policy is applied though respective of rank category and bed entitle ment. An housing unit applicant may however turn down only one offer without the risk of being discarded from the waiting list. In this connection, one is given a 24-hour period—equivalent to an entire duty day—to accept or turn down an offer. In the case of a turned-down unit, the next member on the waiting list automatically gets the chance. Another turn-down done by the same applicant who earlier did the same, automatically leads to the cancellation of his or her name from the waiting list. In such a case, the applicant is given a period of three months to re-apply.

Single applicants should get in touch with the base’s Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) office at the Saipan Hall in Bldg 25007, Saipan Hall.It may be contacted via DSN telephone number 315-366-2725, or 671-366-2725. It is also a requirement that all new arrivals with authority for on- or off-base residence should get in touch with the UPH office.

Andersen manages four on-base dormitories: 1) Four Unaccompanied Enlisted Quarters (UEQ); 2) One Unaccompanied Non-Commissioned Officer Quarters (UNCOQ); 3)Unaccompanied Officer Quarters (UOQ); and 4) the very limited Unaccompanied Senior Non-Commissioned Quarters (SNCO). Off-base housing is the most available option for many unaccompanied officers and SNCOs.

Schools

School children who are dependents of military personnel at Andersen may either opt for home schooling subject to certain government regulations or may attend formal schooling in available schools schools as: Andersen Elementary (K-5) and Andersen Middle School (6-8) at Andersen AFB; McCool Elementary/Middle School (K-8) at Apra Heights; and Guam High School (9-12) at Nimitz Hills. Special education is also provided through the Guam District Special Education program. Military members with children who need special education should go through a screening process to determine proper placement.

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Tertiary-level and graduate school education may likewise be availed of by Air Force servicemen under the auspices of Joint Region Marianas which integrates Navy Base Guam (NBG) and Andersen Air Force Base. An official agreement has been forged with the undergraduate sectors of the University of Maryland and Central Texas College to make their collegiate-level degree programs available to military enlisted men in Guam. These educational institutions located in mainland US provide instruction and materials in diverse academic fields and disciplines. Meanwhile, graduate-level academic programs leading to masters degrees are made available by the University of Oklahoma and the University of Phoenix.

Besides the above US academic institutions, there is also the University of Guam (UOG) which opens its doors for servicemen who desire to get enrolled in the university’s undergraduate and graduate schools within the university’s five colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College of Education (ColEd), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) and the College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS). For additional information, one may access the university website (www.uog.edu) or call 671-735-2207.

If one is more interested in taking up a two-year degree course or a choice of a certificate program from an array of different vocational and technical fields of study, Guam Community College (GCC) will make it possible. The community college also offers GED, adult education and continuing education courses. UOG and GCC are both accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. More information may be obtained through GCC’s telephone number: 671-735-5583 or by visiting its website: http://www.guamcc.net/

Child Care Center

Andersen AFB also operates a Child Development Center which is located in Building 1625 and may be contacted through telephone number 671-362-6280/366-1601. A full daycare program is offered for pre-school children. However, there are some space limitations at the Center. It is therefore advised that reservation be at least two weeks in advance. Total family income serves as the basis for fees and charges relevant to avail of a slot at the childcare center.

Infants 6 weeks old and school age children may get into the base’s Family Child Care (FCC) program. Information about licensed FDC homes are always available at the CDC, Youth Center (YC) and the Family Support Center.

Medical Care Facilities

Medical facilities to serve military personnel in Guam—both at Andersen and NBG—are basically made available through either the Navy or Air Force clinics as well as through the US Naval Hospital,Guam (NAVHOSP). There are dental and medical clinics on both Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.

U.S. Naval Hospital, Guam (NAVHOSP) is an accredited in-patient/out-patient hospital providing care and treatment to eligible beneficiaries. As a comprehensive medical center, NAVHOSP is trusted in terms of many specializations and subspecializations.

NAVHOSP provides the following medical services: 1)family practice: 2)ob/gyn; 3)pediatrics; 4) internal medicine; 5) pathology; 6) optometry; 7) orthopedics; 8)dermatology; and 9) physical therapy. Reliable non-military medical facilities are also available in Guam for the civilians family members of military personnel.
The following clinics are also available at NAVHOSP: 1)Dermatology; 2)ENT;3) Internal Medicine; 3)OB/GYN; 4)Ophthalmology/Optometry; 5) Orthopedics; 6) Pediatrics; 7) Mental Health; 8) Surgery; 9) Urology; and 10) Family Practice.

However, Andersen Air Force Guam being in an isolated location, has limited health care facilities. Family members of military personnel traveling to Guam are therefore advised to undergo general medical screening as a preliminary step before departure.


References


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