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‘Bring the mission home’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brian Bahret
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens addressed Airmen and their families at two Town Hall meetings held Tuesday at the base Theater. 

The meetings were a forum for wing leadership to inform the base populace about the wing and listen to the concerns of the men and women who live and work here.
General Owens opened the meeting by outlining the base's role in national defense and describing some of the changes Andersen will face. 

"We are here to provide a lethal U.S.-based warfighting platform," he said. 

"It's the two 10,000 foot runways," said General Owens. "It's the seven and a half million square feet of ramp space that we can put over 150 airplanes on; it's the 66 million gallons of JP-8 stored in the tanks that you can see; it's the 70,000 weapons you can't see that are waiting to be loaded up and used." 

He put that in perspective by describing a crucial moment in the base's history dating to December 1972 when Operation Linebacker II began. 

At the time, 155 B-52 bombers occupied Andersen's flightline. Their aircrews occupied every available room and tent available. 

"There were tent cities all over the place," he said. "There were people whose homes were 7,000 miles away, just like ours, and they were out here doing the nations' business." 

They flew hundreds of bombing missions striking targets in and near Hanoi. 

While the Vietnam War is over, Andersen is here as a platform where Airmen can respond to any crisis that may arise, the general said. 

"Make no mistake that that's what we're here to do today," he said. "We're postured to put that many planes on the ramp again and quadruple the size of the base population today, to bring those people in here, to bed them down and to load bombs and conduct sustained combat operations out of this base, that is why we are here." 

He mentioned that Andersen Airmen also participate in the missions world wide. He said that more than 100 Airmen will deploy for Air Expeditionary Force cycle 9 and 10 to locations throughout the world. 

He also touched on the throughput of aircraft and cargo. 

"We funnel passengers and cargo through here from the mainland and Hawaii to all parts of West Pac and east Asia. During crisis and wartime, that capability will quadruple with augmentation forces to manage the increased cargo and passengers." 

The ability to receive and employ personnel and cargo are the final two elements of the base's mission that he described. 

"Every day, between 400 and 800 people are deployed here," he said. "This summer that's going to grow to some where between 1,000 to 2,000 based on other forces who are going to flow in because of exercises. 

"If the balloon goes up, you're going to see 1972 again. We are going to fill that seven and one half million square feet of ramp in a way that will amaze all of you." 

"We are a strategically located forward operating base. We are arguably the linchpin in the Pacific in terms of our flexibility to conduct operations for Pacific Command." 

The future holds additions in aircraft and infrastructure: the general discussed the Global Hawk's facility being constructed and the equipment and personnel operate out of there. 

"This will be the central piece of the Pacific's capacity for intelligence gathering," he said.
Forty-eight fighter shelters will be built on the north side of the runway to house rotational fighters like the F-22. 

"We have a tremendous future here at Andersen," he said. "This base has nothing but potential. Right now, Andersen is an exciting place to be."

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