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Andersen’s newspaper a 60-year tradition

An issue of the 'Tropic Topic's' from 1945 here at Andersen.

An issue of the 'Tropic Topic's' from 1945 here at Andersen.

An issue of the 'Bomb Rack' from 1945 here at Andersen.

An issue of the 'Bomb Rack' from 1945 here at Andersen.

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Andersen dodged a bullet recently when Public Affairs managed to keep the print version of Pacific Edge coming to the base. If the paper had been cancelled in favor of on-line delivery, it would have broken a nearly 60-year tradition at Andersen. That tradition actually goes back even further, possibly to February 1945 when Andersen first became operational. 

At that time North Field (Andersen's original name) likely had its own newsletter. Harmon Field (now the Tamuning industrial park) certainly did: The Harmon Rocket. Northwest Field may also have had some sort of newsletter. 

By the end of the war 20th Air Force was producing a Marianas-wide Air Force paper called the Bomb Rack which provided news for Guam's three air bases and the bases on Tinian and Saipan. At least nine issues have survived, the earliest of which dates from October, 21 1945, while the latest is from January 21, 1946. 

Bomb Rack was geared toward young, single Airmen, focusing on such issues as sports, returning to the U.S., and women (including lots of pictures). There was a good deal of talent behind the Bomb Rack, and at least one staff member achieved some fame after the war: Dave Berg, who went on to write and draw Mad magazine's "The Lighter Side" series, originally did cartoon work for the Bomb Rack. Even during his Air Force days Berg displayed the kind of wit that undoubtedly drew Mad's attention in the 1950s. 

When, precisely, Bomb Rack ceased production is uncertain. It is also unclear whether the Air Force even had its own Guam newspaper in the years following WWII. We do know, though, that by 1949 Andersen had its own paper called Tropic Topics, and that its editor at that time was Tech. Sgt. George Osmun. Unfortunately little else is known about the Tropic Topics' early period since complete copies remain unavailable. 

On the other hand, the few clippings found suggest that it was a professional publication, and the early Tropic Topics featured such news as civilian stowaways on an Andersen-bound B-29, the arrival of the original Strategic Air Command rotational bomb wings, and typhoons. 

The newspaper increased in size in August 1956, and it is here that the History Office's collection begins. While there is definite continuity between the 1956 base paper and today's Pacific Edge, one distinct difference is how much more base-related news was covered in the old Tropic Topics, from Wives