Andersen Air Force Base history

 

In a tent on Pati Point in 1944, four men of the 854th Airfield Construction Battalion stood at a draftsman's table drawing lines on a blueprint that would become runways, taxiways and parking aprons for World War II B-29 operations. North Field's first runway became operational Feb. 3, 1945. The first combat mission from North Field took place Feb. 25.

After World War II, the Army Air Forces in the Pacific closed many airfields, leaving the 19th Bomb Group at North Field as the only bombardment unit of the Far East Air Forces.

In the fall of 1946, construction began for permanent structures. When the Air Force became a separate service in 1947, North Field became North Guam Air Force Base. The installation was renamed Andersen AFB on Oct. 7, 1949, in honor of Brig. Gen. James R. Andersen, who was presumed lost at sea in the crash of his B-24 Liberator, Feb. 26, 1945, on a flight from Kwajalein to Hawaii.

During the Korean War, Andersen served in an administrative and logistical capacity, operating ammunition dumps and providing maintenance to transient aircraft. Following the war, Andersen began supporting bomber and aerial refueling units on rotational deployments from the United States. During this time, Andersen was home to the B-36, B-47, B-50, B-52, B-29, KC-97 and KC-135.

Andersen's role in Vietnam is legendary, starting on June 18, 1965, when 27 B-52 bombers were launched from its runway. These flights began Operation Arc Light, bombing missions against Viet Cong base operations, troop concentrations and supply lines. In early 1972, 153 B-52s lined the airfield in a surge of Arc Light missions titled Bullet Shot. It took five miles of ramp space to park them and an expert to ensure their orderly movement since a blocked taxiway could prove a mission-crippling impasse.

Later that year Operation Linebacker II got underway when, on December 18, 1972, 87 B-52s were launched from Andersen in one hour and 43 minutes. Throughout the 11-day operation, Andersen-based B-52s flew 379 of the 729 sorties. Often called the "11-day war," Linebacker II led to the renewal of the Paris Peace Talks and, on January 28, 1973, the signing of a cease-fire agreement with the government of North Vietnam.

Two years after U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War ended Andersen participated in Operation New Life, becoming home to thousands of Vietnamese refugees until officials could process them into the United States. In the end, 109,553 refugees departed Andersen for the United States aboard 518 aircraft.

The post-Vietnam period brought a return to routine operations at Andersen, with B-52s on the ramp throughout the 1980s and the base remaining a vital overseas platform for carrying out the USAF's mission of global deterrence.

In support of the Gulf War in 1991, Andersen aided in transporting and deploying 200 aircraft, 2,200 troops and 2,212 tons of cargo. In addition, Andersen munitions specialists shipped more than 75 million pounds of bombs to the Gulf.

During Operation Fiery Vigil in June 1991, more than 21,000 people and their pets evacuated from Clark Air Base in the Philippines, came through Andersen following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
The Air Force inactivated 633rd Air Base Wing Oct. 1, 1994, and activated the 36th Air Base Wing, in keeping with the Air Force chief of staff's policy of keeping the most highly decorated and longest serving Air Force units on active duty. The Air Force had inactivated the 36th Fighter Wing at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, Oct. 1, 1994.

In October 1994, the U.S. Navy Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Five relocated to Andersen from the now closed Naval Air Station, Guam.

Today, with its huge fuel and munitions storage facilities and dual runways, Andersen is an important forward-based logistics support center for contingency forces deploying throughout the southwest Pacific and Indian oceans. Andersen's ideal flying conditions, relatively unlimited airspace and nearby air-to-ground range make this an ideal training area for the U.S. military and militaries of nearby countries.

Printable Fact Sheet

 

 

  • Making history: B-52, B-1, B-2s maintain regional stability in PACOM theater

    For the first time in history, a B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit are conducting operations in the U.S. Pacific Command region. The bombers located at Andersen Air Force Base in support of Continuous Bomber Presence and Bomber Assurance and Deterrence missions. The CBP mission and BAAD

  • End of era: B-1s replace B-52s at Andersen AFB

    Several B-1B Lancers with the 28th Bomb Wing from Ellsworth Air Force Base​, South Dakota, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Aug. 6 in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) Continuous Bomber Presence mission. Approximately 300 Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing will supplement the

  • Continuous Bomber Presence Airframe Changeover

    The U.S. Air Force’s B-1B Lancers are scheduled to deploy to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, 6 Aug. 2016 for the first time since April 2006 in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission. The B-1’s will replace the B-52’s currently deployed from Minot AFB, N.D. While this is

  • Andersen receives B-52 Stratofortress

    A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived June 2, at Andersen AFB, Guam. The aircraft is deployed in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence operations. This forward deployed presence demonstrates continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security

  • Andersen receives B-52 Stratofortress

    A B-52 Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived June 2, at Andersen AFB, Guam. The aircraft is deployed in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence operations. This forward deployed presence demonstrates continuing U.S. commitment to stability and security

  • Never forgotten: Team Andersen honors fallen comrades

    A ceremony was held May 28, 2016, in Adelup, Guam, to honor the six B-52 Stratofortress aviators who lost their lives during a training mission July 21, 2008. The six aviators, from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, were slated to participate in a flyover for Guam's Liberation Day Parade.

  • 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron arrives at Andersen

    U.S. Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence mission continues with the arrival of the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to replace their sister home unit, the 23rd EBS.Since March 2004, Andersen has hosted the CBP mission, which is designed to enhance regional

  • First multilateral Partner Nation Silver Flag concludes at Andersen AFB

    After spending more than a week sharing civil engineering techniques, 54 engineers from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force concluded the Partner Nation Silver Flag exercise Feb. 19, 2016, at

  • Volunteer spirit thrives at heritage hall museum

    Tucked in the 734th Air Mobility Squadron passenger terminal is a collection of artifacts that show Andersen Air Force Base’s rich heritage. Uniformed mannequins, paintings, photographs, models of planes and glass covered panels of written history fill the museum, telling the story of Andersen AFB

  • Operation Linebacker II: The 11 days that ended 11 years of war

    The day was Dec. 18, 1972, a day where the flightline roared ferociously as B-52 Stratofortresses were generated for what is known as the largest bombing campaign in history. More than 700 sorties were conductedout of Guam.During the 11 days, Operation Linebacker II intended to force the North

  • Joint military response makes a difference in Saipan recovery

    Over the last week, a joint military team including Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coastguardsmen supported relief efforts in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) after Typhoon Soudelor hit the U.S. territory with tremendous force Aug. 3. Particularly hard hit was the capital

  • 734th AMS opens new air freight terminal

    The 734th Air Mobility Squadron hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand opening of the new air freight terminal June 26, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.The new $35.6 million air freight terminal complex moved closer to the Air Mobility Command parking ramp and includes a