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Andersen runway open for business

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  • By 36th Wing Public Affairs
After nearly two years of construction aimed at improving mission capability and safety at the "Tip of the Pacific's Strategic Triangle," a new and improved $24 million runway re-opened here 18 June. Guam.

Brig. Gen. Doug Owens, 36th Wing commander, flew the first F-16 sortie over the waiting crowd as the ribbons were cut marking the official opening of Andersen's north runway.

Officially called RWY 06L/24R, the north runway is one of two 12,000-foot parallel runways that not only serve to further enhance Andersen's strategic location in the Western Pacific, but also adds significant capability to the 36th Wing's mission.

"The completion of the runway gives us an exponential increase in the efficiency of the airfield," said Senior Master Sgt. Darron Williams, 36th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager. "With one runway, we were sometimes limited in our operations. With the second opening up, anything is possible."

The runway replacement project began in 2005 when it became evident that the older runway was not able to support the continuous operations in and out of the airfield.

According to 1st Lt. Thomas Thompson, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of construction management, the task of getting the runway finished and operational was a smooth and timely process that involved members of the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron, the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, contractors and the support of leadership at all levels.

"The teamwork and effort that went into this project is a testament to the hard-work and dedication of all the parties involved," Lieutenant Thompson said. "It was critical we all stayed in step."

Sergeant Williams reiterated Monday's opening of the North runway is an essential piece to Andersen's support for operations in the Western Pacific.

"With the two runway configuration, we can launch and recover aircraft simultaneously," said Sergeant Williams. "Translated again, it means we can better serve the combatant commander's needs by putting twice as many aircraft in the air in the same amount of time, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Now that's combat power."

Andersen's (formerly known as North Field) first runway became operational Feb. 3, 1945. 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.

Today, with its huge fuel and munitions storage facilities and dual runways, Andersen provides a U.S.-based lethal warfighting platform for the employment, deployment, reception and throughput of air and space forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

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