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VCSAF visits Andersen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Carrol "Howie" Chandler stopped here Aug. 2 through 4 to see firsthand how the 36th Wing furthers regional security in the Pacific theater.

General Chandler was joined on his trip by Pacific Air Forces Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Douglas Owens, himself a 36th Wing commander from October 2006 to September 2008.

As a former PACAF commander, General Chandler is no stranger to the mission of the 36th Wing. He said he sees it as a critical component to a secure Asia-Pacific region, both now and into the future.

"There is no doubt that Guam will continue to be important to us in helping maintain regional stability," he said. "Modern aerospace technology has dramatically increased the power and range of our aircraft, but it has not eliminated the need for presence."

The Continuous Bomber Presence began in 2004. Since that time there have always been bombers deployed to Andersen, whether they are B-1 Lancers, B-2 Spirits or B-52 Stratofortresses.

Operations tempo at Andersen is also high due to rotating fighter aircraft units as part of the overall Theater Security Package. Both TSP and CBP help keep the region secure thanks to Andersen's key location in the Pacific, General Chandler said.

"Our current posture reflects this reality and relies on our presence on Guam and the Northern Marianas," said General Chandler. "Andersen Air Force Base is a key component of our long-term commitment to the region."

General Chandler also highlighted the important part Andersen plays in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The location of the island serves as an ideal jumping off point for these types of missions.

Operation Pacific Angel, in which the United States works with local authorities to help underserved areas with medical and engineering assistance, typically stages from or goes through Andersen.

"First and foremost, humanitarian missions like Pacific Angel let us help those in need around the Asia-Pacific region," General Chandler said. "In doing so, these kinds of missions allow us to work with partner nations."

When the United States works together with other nations, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh in recent Pacific Angel missions, it builds friendships that are vital to maintaining a peaceful and stable region, General Chandler said.

During his visit here, General Chandler viewed infrastructure projects set to improve the working environment, as well as initiatives geared toward improving quality of life and readiness.

A notable stop was at the new Hangar 6, destined to support the RQ-4 Global Hawk mission scheduled to begin this fall.

"Global Hawk operations will enhance Andersen's and PACAF's total force structure in the Pacific," said Col. Tod Fingal, the 36th Wing vice commander. "The Global Hawk can be used to address common challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, piracy, and terrorism in the Pacific region."

After spending a few days at Andersen, General Chandler said he was leaving impressed by the professionalism and the esprit de corps of those stationed and deployed here.

"It is clear that Andersen's Airmen understand the important role they play in the region, and that they are truly dedicated to the mission," General Chandler said. "I just want to say 'thank you' to all the Airmen and their families who continue to serve proudly at Andersen."