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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

 

 

  • Stratofortresses deploy to Pacific, support continuous bomber presence

    Airmen from the 96th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. and their B-52 Stratofortress bombers arrived in Guam this week to begin a four-month deployment. The Louisiana-based aircraft, aircrew, support and maintenance personnel replaced the Whiteman AFB, Mo. personnel who redeployed home as

  • Pacific Lifeline in full swing

    Pacific Air Forces' first-ever total force humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise is in full swing at three locations within the Hawaiian Islands. Dubbed "Pacific Lifeline," approximately 900 Department of Defense personnel are participating in the 13th Air Force-led exercise which

  • Deployed bomb squadron completes seventh global power sortie

    The 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed B-2 Spirit bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., took off late in the evening on Jan. 17 in support of a global power mission to Alaska. "A Polar lightning mission, a global power mission to Alaska, is the longest training mission we fly from

  • Andersen, Tinker rebuild B-1

    In September 2005 a B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., landed at Andersen and burst into flames while taxiing off the runway. The brakes on the right main landing gear failed, causing a catastrophic fire resulting in damage to the right wing, nacelle, structure and landing gear before being

  • CMSAF recalls legacy of Andersen's F-4

    A piece of Vietnam-era and Cold War history is resting here as a tangible legacy for all Pacific Air Forces Airmen and their contributions to the Nation's defense. The F-4E, number 71-1392, on static display here received an updated paint scheme. "Corrosion control is a non-stop battle in our

  • Airmen support Bangladesh relief operations

    Pacific Air Forces units are providing relief in Bangladesh in the wake of a tropical cyclone which struck the nation's south coast Nov. 15 causing significant damage and thousands of casualties. Elements of the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, arrived at Dhaka,

  • Spirits begin to soar

    Residents here can soon expect to see more of the distinctive triangular visage marking America's most advanced bomber. The B-2 Spirits deployed here from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., are scheduled to fly their first sorties this week. "The B-2s are normally deployed in garrison," said Lt. Col.

  • B-2s arrive for deployment to Western Pacific

    Four B-2 Spirits from the 393rd Bomb Squadron, deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, M.O., arrived here over the weekend. According to fact sheets cleared for public release, the B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward

  • Last deployment for Fireballs, 27th Fighter Wing

    The 522 Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed here from Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., is wrapping up the final deployment for their squadron and, ultimately, the 27th Fighter Wing. The 522 Fighter Squadron, known as the Fireballs, are being inactivated upon their return to home station and the 27th

  • Inert weapons dropped for first time in Koa Lightning exercise

    The 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron here went "wheels up" for exercise Koa Lightning Sept.16 and 17. But this exercise is a little different than previous Koa Lightnings. For the first time, bomber aircrews dropped ordnance. "Dropping inert munitions over the bombing range in Hawaii is a tremendous

  • Rededication ceremony brings plaque home

    In 1950, North Field was renamed Andersen Air Force Base in honor of Brig. Gen. James Roy Andersen, who was killed in an aircraft accident near Kwajelien in 1945. To commemorate  the event, a plaque was placed in front of the original wing headquarters building and has been placed at several other

  • Stratofortresses test operational skills in Koa Lightning

    Deployed B-52 bombers and aircrews demonstrated the Air Force's global reach and global power by participating in the latest Koa Lightning exercise this week Aug. 22 through 23. The 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., flew 18 hours non-stop from Guam to