Pamphlet highlighting leadership during WWII. (Courtesy Graphic)

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



  • Blast from the past: 20th EBS drops last M117 bomb in PACAF

    Airmen from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, with the help of 36th Munitions Squadron Airmen, dropped the final M117 bomb in the Pacific Air Force's inventory June 26 on an uninhabited island off the coast of Guam.The M117 bomb dates back to the mid-1950s when it was first used during the

  • Happy Birthday 36th Wing and Andersen

    The first week of February is a special time for Andersen Air Force Base and the 36th Wing.This year probably meant more than others because it was the 75th Anniversary of the 36th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) activation on February 1, 1940, and the 70th Anniversary of North Field, Guam's opening on

  • B-2 Spirits depart Andersen AFB following routine deployment

    Three U.S. B-2 Spirits redeployed to the continental United States following a deployment here as part of U.S. Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. The bombers, and approximately 200 support Airmen, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base,

  • B-2 Spirits Conduct Routine Deployment to Andersen AFB

    Three B-2 Spirit aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 7, 2014, to conduct familiarization training activities in the Pacific region. This training deployment demonstrates continuing U.S. commitment to regular, global strategic bomber operations

  • Andersen conducts first Silver Flag course

    The 554th Red Horse Squadron concluded the first mock course rotation of Silver Flag June 20, on Northwest Field, Guam.Members of a U.S. Navy construction battalion from Naval Base Guam participated in the course to give the Andersen instructors experience with conducting the training with actual

  • Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth takes command of 36th Wing

    Brig. Gen. Steven Garland relinquished command of the 36th Wing to Brig. Gen. Andrew Toth during a change of command ceremony here June 19. With the simple statement of, "I assume command," the guidon was passed from Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, 11th Air Force commander, to Toth, symbolizing the new

  • Arc Light B-52 removal work continues

    Sections from the "Old-100" static display B-52D Stratofortress at Arc Light Memorial Park were removed April 22, 2014 on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The aircraft was removed due to irreparable deterioration from weather after being on display for more than 30 years. The vertical tail section

  • 60th Anniversary of the worst peacetime accident at Andersen

    (The following contains research and photos from Lee Corbin for the book he wrote for the survivors and families of the victims of this accident called: "The Crash of 44-87741") December 17, 1953, was a typical beautiful Thursday morning on Guam. Typhoon Doris had just passed north of the island two

  • 36th CRG sends more Airmen, equipment to Tacloban

    Airmen from the 36th Contingency Response Group packed their bags, equipment and vehicles and departed from the flightline here Nov. 15 to support Operation Damayan in Tacloban, Philippines.The Pacific Air Forces is poised to provide any requested support to Operation Damayan and the Philippine

  • Annual memorial honors fallen medic, crew of Raider 21

    Members of Team Andersen gathered here July 19 to honor the memory of a former 36th Medical Group deputy commander, who lost his life in a plane crash five years ago, with a ceremony in a garden near the flight medicine clinic . The memorial was a chance for Airmen to pay respects to Col. George

  • Team Andersen to transfer installation management functions to the Navy

    As a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission legislation in 2005, the Air Force will relocate 'installation management functions [at Andersen] to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas.' Following almost four years of planning, this January will see the unveiling of Joint Region Marianas