HomeNewsFeatures

Feature Search

Saipan native returns home, supports typhoon exercise

Lt. Col. Shane Nagatani, 199th Fighter Squadron commander, David M. Apatang, Saipan Mayor, Senior Airman Mark Abriham, 36th Communications Squadron radio technician, and Ralph Torres, Governor of Saipan, gather during an F-22 static display tour April 23, 2019, at the Francisco C. Ada International Airport, Saipan. Abriham, a Saipan native, returned home on military orders and supported the ‘Hawaiian Raptors’ during their inaugural visit to his home island. The movement of F-22 Raptor aircraft was part of the Pacific Air Forces exercise Resilient Typhoon, designed to prepare aircraft and personnel to disperse in the face of inclement weather. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

Lt. Col. Shane Nagatani, 199th Fighter Squadron commander, David M. Apatang, Saipan Mayor, Senior Airman Mark Abriham, 36th Communications Squadron radio technician, and Ralph Torres, Governor of Saipan, gather during an F-22 static display tour April 23, 2019, at the Francisco C. Ada International Airport, Saipan. Abriham, a Saipan native, returned home on military orders and supported the ‘Hawaiian Raptors’ during their inaugural visit to his home island. The movement of F-22 Raptor aircraft was part of the Pacific Air Forces exercise Resilient Typhoon, designed to prepare aircraft and personnel to disperse in the face of inclement weather. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

FRANCISCO C. ADA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SAIPAN --

Being stationed overseas in a foreign country is quite an adventure, but for some Airmen, home is always where the heart is. This phenomenon can be especially understandable when growing up on a small tropical island.

Senior Airman Mark Abrihan, was born and raised in Saipan, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Early on in his college education, he decided to shift directions and become the first member of his family to enlist in 2015 with the intent of trying something completely different; and the Air Force delivered. Half way through his technical training, as a radio technician, he was informed of his first assignment - a year-long tour at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Abrihan said he enjoyed his overseas experience and was able to visit several other European countries and support a vital NATO mission, but when given the opportunity to relocate to Andersen Air Force base, Guam, Abrihan didn’t hesitate to accept, knowing it was only 130 miles away from his home island.

His career progressed and he reacclimated to his new island community in the 36th Wing. He said being closer to his family and friends was important to him, since they’re now only about an hour’s flight away.

“After my assignment in Turkey,” said Abrihan, “I realized that every opportunity to go home is very special. I feel lucky because not a lot of active duty Airmen get stationed so close to home. I’d just like to enjoy this while it lasts, because you never know what's in store next.”

Abrihan's new duty station, Andersen AFB, is known for hosting large-scale exercises with military forces from around the world. Its strategic location has played a key role in projecting air superiority and maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.

While having a military presence in Guam is an invaluable asset, the island is susceptible to a multitude of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons – all potential scenarios Abrihan grew up with.

As an initiative to improve mission readiness and protect valuable aircraft in the face of inclement weather, Pacific Air Forces held a new training exercise called Resilient Typhoon. The exercise entails a rapid dispersal of flying squadrons and support personnel to various neighboring islands, such as Palau, Tinian, Yap and Abiham’s home island, Saipan.

“I was working in my shop, thinking it was going to be a regular day, until my section chief came up and told me that I’m going home for a temporary assignment. This got me thrilled and so I started immediately pushing paperwork and prepping up.”

Within days of being informed about his temporary assignment, Abrihan was bound for home on a C-130J Super Hercules from Yokota Air Base, Japan. He was tasked to support a team of F-22 Raptors and support personnel, based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, during their inaugural appearance at the Francisco C. Ada International Airport.

After Abrihan's aircraft touched the ground, pallets of aircraft ground equipment were offloaded, followed by the first arrival of the ‘Hawaiian Raptors.’

This rapid-deployment was a collaboration of active-duty Airman from Guam, Japan, and Hawaii and the Hawaii Air National Guard. This combination of military components is known as total-force integration.
The event also turned out to be a unique occasion for government officials, first responders and aviation enthusiasts. Representatives from the 19th and 199th Fighter Squadrons hosted a static display tour for residents to see.

Abrihan said he was enthusiastic to be in the middle of the operation, although he could hardly wait to finish up his work so he could reunite with family and friends. However, while Abiham was greeting his fellow islanders for the tour, one particular guest stood out and really made his day – Ralph Torres, the Governor of Saipan.

“This was a pretty big deal for me,” said Abiham, “I didn’t expect Governor Torres to be so interested in taking all that time to talk to me about my career. He was so happy to discover that I was born and raised in Saipan; he welcomed me with a hug. He also wanted to talk about my goals and other life ambitions.”

Along with the Governor, Abiham’s ran into another familiar face. His godfather, retired Col. Harry Blanco.

“He was surprised to see me as one of the ambassadors for Pacific Air Forces and was so proud to see me join the military,” said Abiham. “It was really cool tell my dad all about it afterword’s.”

With a non-stop and global mission, life in the Air Force is overflowing with possibilities. Some may not always be a homerun, but every now and then people find themselves being reunited with places they call home – wherever it may be.

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
Not just a right - It's your responsibility. #Vote
Tomorrow (Jan 31st) CE Customer Service and both Andersen Family and Unaccompanied Housing Offices will be closed from 11 A.M.–4 P.M. For emergencies, please see additional information below: CE Customer Service: For any emergency issues, please call 366-2916/2917/2918. All other non-emergency issues can be sent to the CE Customer Service email org box at 36ces.service@us.af.mil. Housing Office: For any urgent Housing matters, please call 366-6240 or 653-4731. Normal operating hours will resume Monday, 3 February. Thank you, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron
The Readiness & Emergency Management Flight will be conducting training today (Jan 30) from 7 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.. It will involve personnel driving around base in MOPP 4 and setting out detectors on main base. It is all for training purpose only.
Congratulations to our 4th Quarterly Award winners! Airman of the Quarter: SrA Tiffany Arquette- 36th Mission Support Group Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter: SSgt Bryan Koch- 36th Mission Support Group Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter: MSgt Coreena Dejesus-36th Wing Staff Agency Company Grade Officer of the Quarter: 2Lt Megan Barrick- 36th Maintenance Group Civilian Category I of the Quarter: Mr. Nathan Atalig- 36th Mission Support Group Civilian Category II of the Quarter: Mr. Shawn McMahon – 36th Mission Support Group Civilian Category III of the Quarter: Ms. Lucy Benavente - 36th Wing Staff Agency Honor Guard of the Quarter: SrA Brandi Dennis – 36th Communications Squadron Volunteer of the Quarter: SSgt Duawana Robinson – 36th Maintenance Group Team of the Quarter: Family Health- 36th Medical Group
Don't miss this great training opportunity on Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention, and Bystander Intervention, 31st Jan, 11 A.M. at the Meehan Theater. This event is FREE and open to all! Joint Region Marianas
Andersen is proud to host the U.S. Navy's Tritons!
Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Jolesa Scott from the 36th Force Support Squadron team for being recognized as one of Team Andersen's Best! Great job!
#TeamAndersenDYK the fire prevention experts recommend to never leave open flames or cooking unattended, to check lint traps regularly as well as checking electrical outlets to make sure they are being used properly. In addition, family members of all ages should know and follow a shared emergency escape plan. Andersen firefighters recommend that, in case of fire, residents use their established escape plan and proceed to a designated rally point, a safe distance away from the flames and smoke. Once outside, immediately call 911 and describe the situation to dispatchers as calmly as possible. Fires happen sporadically, so please pay attention to your housekeeping, your surroundings and when you’re cooking or even just near a flame. #safety
Calling all football fans and history buffs!!! Immediately after World War II, the American military stationed in the South Pacific began playing full-contact football - pads and all. Andersen Air Force Base's Gilkeson Field, named after Brig. Gen. Adlai H. Gilkeson, commanding general of the 19th Bombardment Wing from 1949 to 1951, served as home of the North Field Bombers, the base football team! Teams in Japan, the Philippines, and Guam played in local military leagues, occasionally flying long distances to compete. A league champ on Guam wasn't determined until 1947, when the 1st Marine Brigade and the 501st Port Battalion tied for the island championship. The North Field (later Andersen) Bombers went undefeated in the 1948 season to capture the island title, which began a long legacy of the most successful football team on Guam for the next 34 years. The Bombers won at least 17 league/island championships - including 11 titles in a row from 1955 to 1966. The last Bomber championship was in 1974. Other teams on the island were also rich in tradition and history. In short, while the Navy dominated the league with their number of teams in action, it was the Andersen Bombers that dominated on the scoreboard and in the standings. The Bombers lasted until the leagues' end after the 1981 season. #TeamAndersen #TBT #NorthFieldBombers Joint Region Marianas US Naval Base Guam U.S. Pacific Air Forces 1st Marine Brigade
Every flight starts with planning! And a trip to Aircrew Flight Equipment. AFE Airmen maintain equipment used by pilots, which are essential for survival capabilities. AFE Airmen provide direct support to the Continuous Bomber Presence. Thanks, AFE!
The United States, along with Mexico and the Philippines, were ranked one of the world's worst places for human trafficking in 2018. In the U.S., there is no official number of human trafficking victims, but estimates place it in the hundreds of thousands. Look for these indicators to help combat human trafficking.
WARNING: Security Forces will deny access to the base and/or issue fines for not updating your vehicle registration or not having insurance.
Exercise the very right you protect - your right to vote! We can help with registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot and notifying your local election officials back home of a change of address. Below is Voter Registration application, Absentee Ballot Request form (SF-76), and mailing address. This form is for Uniformed Service members, family members of voting age, DoD civilians, and citizens residing outside the United States. You may access many voting related questions and answers on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov. Please click the link below to access the direct-to-voter training video which goes through the process step by step. https://www.fvap.gov/militaryhowto If you have any questions please contact your designated squadron UVAO or IVAO at DSN: 366-8137 or email: Andersen.vote@us.af.mil
Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Shannen Lisbourne from the 36th WG/JA team for being recognized as one of Team Andersen's Best! Great job!
#TeamAndersenDYK every day in the United States, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. Many Airmen and families enjoy swimming within the shallow water, but some choose to swim beyond the reef into deeper depths. Since there is no continental shelf around Guam, the landmass underwater does not have a gradual slope; therefore, the water depth drops suddenly. Swimmers are advised not to swim beyond the reef and into the deep open water to avoid hazardous waves and currents or other harmful conditions. Alcohol is also a major cause of water-related incidents. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation, according to the CDC. Drinking alcohol causes a lack of coordination, disturbance of the inner ear, impaired reaction time and impaired judgment, which can cause someone to become injured or drown while swimming. Please be safe when out swimming. Never swim alone, drink while swimming, and pay attention to the flag conditions. #safety
Way to go, Security Forces! Sen. Joe San Augustin from the 35th Guam Legislature presented Airmen from the 36th Security Forces Squadron with a legislative resolution and certificates of appreciation, recognizing their volunteer efforts throughout the island community, Jan.16 at Tarague Beach. #TeamAndersen #OneGuam #Community #GoodNeighbors The Office of Senator Joe S. San Agustin Joint Region Marianas U.S. Pacific Air Forces The Guam Legislature
Showing love to Guam and promoting #environmental stewardship with #partners! Airmen from the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and 190th Air Refueling Wing - Kansas Air National Guard partnered with Sailors from Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen and members of Love Guam for a roadside cleanup Jan. 11 in Yigo. #OneGuam #GreenGuam #GoodNeighbors #Community #TeamAndersen #TeamAndersenTBT Joint Region Marianas U.S. Pacific Air Forces Yigo Mayor's Office
The "First Lady" of Andersen Air Force Base has retired. Please join Team Andersen in giving our thanks and well wishes to Mrs. Joyce Martratt after her more than 54 years of service to the U.S. Air Force. Mrs. Joyce has been guiding and assisting the leadership of AAFB as an invaluable secretary since the height of the Vietnam war. Serving with 27 general officers during her tenure, she has been essential in the continued success of Andersen, and by extension the security and safety of the indo-pacific region. Thank you for all that you have done for all of us in Team Andersen and may you have a blessed retirement. Si Yu'us ma'åse' Mrs. Joyce U.S. Pacific Air Forces U.S. Indo-Pacific Command #retirement