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36th OG reactivates, gains new commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Don Perrien
  • 36th Operations Group
The 36th Operations Group was reactivated after more than a decade to serve as the focal point for the Air Force's expeditionary operations taking place on Guam. The 36th OG will assume the mission of the 36th Expeditionary Operations Group and establish a permanent command structure for deployed Air Force units assigned to Andersen. 

Currently, six B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are deployed to provide the U.S. Pacific commander a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Movement of U.S. Air Force bombers into the Western Pacific has been occurring for more than two years as the Pacific Command adjusts its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability. 

Col. Damian J. McCarthy formally assumed command of the newly reactivated 36th Operations Group in a ceremony held inside Andersen's Hangar One Monday. He had previously served as Chief, Combat Operations Division, 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam AFB in Hawaii, prior to his arrival at Andersen. 

"The stand up of a permanent operations group will provide greater stability and longer-range planning for our mission," Colonel McCarthy said. "This group will provide the forces needed to enhance regional security, demonstrate U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific and provide our people with integrated training opportunities. 

"I think it's really exciting starting something new and adding greater stability to the Air Expeditionary Forces that will rotate through Andersen," he said. "So I think that this will be a really great challenge where we can make an impact on our Airmen's lives." 

Prior to the unit's reactivation, the 36th OG conducted operational missions during WWII, where the unit earned its nickname, the Fightin' 36. After the war, the unit transferred to Germany as part of United States Air Forces in Europe where it served until 1994. 

During his assumption of command address, Colonel McCarthy set three goals for his new unit: help America win the Global War on Terror, develop and take care of the Airmen assigned to the unit, and assist the Air Force in recapitalizing its aging fleet of aircraft. 

"Hopefully, in three or four years when we look back on the reactivation of the 36th Operations Group, we'll see that we put in place the procedures, facilities and training to make the reception, beddown and employment of expeditionary forces seamless at Andersen," he said. 

The new 36th OG Commander placed special emphasis on the Airmen assigned to the reformed unit, stressing their importance to the mission, the base and their loved ones. 

"We are all Airmen, all warriors, all expeditionary, and all volunteers," Colonel McCarthy said. "Each of us is important to ourselves, our mission and our families. We must be good wingmen, and watch over one another - and we must all know how to save our own life." 

According to the 36th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Owens, the activation of the 36th OG and assumption of command by Colonel McCarthy demonstrates the success of the expeditionary operations at Andersen. 

"This activation closes a chapter of bomber history here," he said. "It has been almost three years to the day since the current bomber rotation stood up at Andersen, and the Airmen assigned here have performed their mission well." 

General Owens said the stand up of the 36th OG recognizes the hard work and past accomplishments of Air Force units on Guam while also underscoring the importance of the current expeditionary mission based at Andersen. 

"The Airmen assigned here throughout the years have built an outstanding record of success, and I am confident that this activation will once again result in a job well done," he said. "If the leaders and generals of WWII could see the growth and continued importance of Andersen Air Force Base, symbolized by the activation of the 36th OG, they would be proud."

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