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36th Wing hosts 8AF commander

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 36th Wing took an opportunity recently to show the Commander of 8th Air Force, Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, a bit of hospitality and an in-depth view of the mission here.

The mission of the Mighty Eighth is to safeguard America's interests through strategic deterrence and global combat power. The flexible, conventional and nuclear strategic mission gives Eighth Air Force the ability to deploy forces and engage enemy threats both from home station or forward positioned, anywhere and at any time.

As part of the continuous bomber presence mission and on a rotational basis, Andersen hosts several of the Air Force's strategic bomber wings. Guam's location as part of the strategic triangle with Alaska and Hawaii uniquely positions it as the best location for the mission.

"The ability to project airpower into any place is going to rely on basing," General Carpenter said. "If you don't have bases in or near an operating area, you have to rely on long-range strategic capabilities to project power. That's what makes Andersen Air Force Base and Guam so important."

A veteran of Pacific Command, General Carpenter is no stranger to the complications of the vast distances involved in operating in the Pacific theater. Launching from Guam can shave seven hours off the response time in a call for support, be it contingency or humanitarian aid. That time translates into lives saved as shown again and again when the base's Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team reacts to typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes in the Pacific.

"Strategic airpower capabilities are critical assets to deter potential adversaries," he added. "In order for deterrence to work, you have to project that capability. This base gives us a great opportunity to do just that in a nonthreatening way."

Not only is demonstrating airpower capability key to deterring potential adversaries to U.S. interests, but it's an essential component to maintaining peace and stability throughout the region and assuring U.S. allies of its commitment to that peace.

"It allows our allies in the Pacific to concentrate on their economy and helps them protect their economic prosperity, which is very important for regional security," General Carpenter said.

Not only did General Carpenter see firsthand how 8th AF's efforts to prepare its Airmen play out when they deploy here, but he was able to see how the 36th Wing supports the units entrusted to it. In recent years and continuing into the future, Andersen has cast an eye forward to upgrade living and support facilities so the deployed units can focus on the mission first.

"I think it's really come a long way forward from when I first came out here in 1980," he said. "We used to bring our own support and just used this as a place to launch from. Now, you roll in on a great infrastructure that's been provided, great facilities, great support, and you become part of a fighting team instead of just being a deployed squadron. I'm impressed."

General Carpenter says he's been really pleased to see how well the 36th Wing takes care of his Airmen and makes them a part of the team while they are here, and sees strategic airpower on Guam as remaining critical for the foreseeable future, as it has been since World War II.

"I'm glad 8th Air Force has been a part of it," he said.