Guam Army National Guard
The Guam Army National Guard (GUARNG) maintains 2 armories in 2 communities and is the most forward-positioned Joint Force Headquarters in the nation. The GUARNG continues to make significant economic contributions to the communities and works jointly with the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas; 13th Air Force. Andersen Air Force Base; the Armed Forces Committee, Guam Chamber of Commerce; and the local chapter of the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve.
Guam has the highest membership per capita of all Guard organizations in the nation: 1,100 Guard members for 160,000 residents or .69% of Guam's population are active Guard members. The GUARNG completed the ribbon cutting for its newest facility, a $7.6 million Guam National Guard (GUNG) Joint Force Headquarters, on 4 November 2004. The collaborative efforts, of former Congressman Robert A. Underwood, Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Governor Felix P. Camacho and Brigadier General Robert M. Cockey, to secure additional military construction appropriations allowed for the March 2004 groundbreaking of a $6.7 million Troop Command Headquarters and future facilities which include: 1) $1 million Controlled Humidity Preservation Facility for the 909th/910th Quartermaster Detachments; 2) $5 million 909th/910th Quartermaster Ready Building; 3) $8 million Civil Support Team Operations & Training Facility; and 4) $24 million Combined Support Maintenance Shop.
Through its strong community-based programs, the GUNG Drug Demand Reduction Program reaches out annually to over 10,000 plus students, attending federal, public and private academic institutions, throughout Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The program also promotes dynamic programs focusing on drug education, team-building, self-esteem/confidence, and the positive development of the youth. The Counterdrug Task Force also supports the Drug Enforcement Agency's annual marijuana eradication operation, called "Operation Joint Venture", which has confiscated and destroyed in excess of $3 million dollars worth of marijuana plants each year.
Natural disasters are a way of life in the Western Pacific and Guam has the reputation for having the highest frequency of natural disasters amongst the 54 states and territories. The GUNG has over two decades of proven disaster recovery experience with numerous super typhoons, earthquakes to include a real-world 747 jumbo jet airline disaster.
As part of Exercise Tandem Thrust 97 (TT 97), engineers from Australia's 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, the US Guam National Guard and a US Navy Construction Battalion are now engaged in preliminary maintenance and construction activity in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA). The Guam National Guard Engineers also completed some restoration work on an historic homestead near Byfield as a gesture of goodwill toward the local community.
On August 6, 1997, at approximately 1:42 a.m. Guam time, a Korean Air Boeing 747 enroute from Seoul to Guam crashed into a hill 3 miles short of the runway at the airport. The jumbo jet carried 254 people, 228 of whom have perished. The Navy, on whose property the crash occurred, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Guam National Guard, and the U.S. Army all responded quickly, professionally and compassionately.
For more than 27 hours, people at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, endured Supertyphoon Paka. The typhoon brought recorded wind gusts in excess of 201 mph and sea levels rising to 35 feet above normal during December 1997. Damage to the island was estimated at more than $200 million. Guam Gov. Carl T. C. Gutierrez mobilized the Guam National Guard and requested military assistance.
On January 1 and 2, 1998, Army Reservists from the 411th Engineer Battalion, 9th Regional Support Command, arrive on Guam to join their Guam-based comrades in recovery operations in the wake of the devastation brought by Typhoon Paka. The typhoon hit Guam on December 16 and caused extensive damage, leaving 20 percent of Guam's residents homeless and knocking out electricity and water to 75 percent of the island. The Guam-based citizen-soldiers of the 9th RSC reacted immediately to safeguard military property and help their families and neighbors. Additional USAR help came from 9th RSC soldiers in Alaska and Hawaii. The recovery operation was a joint effort, with Army Reservists working alongside the Guam National Guard and Guam-based members of the active Air Force and Navy.
The men and women of the Guam Army National Guard maintained readiness during FY99 as part of the overall national strategic defense. The Island's geographical location allows the GUARNG to utilize a host of diverse international training areas that enhance its readiness. Their location also allows the GUARNG to respond rapidly to international crises in the immediate area.
During FY99 the GUARNG participated in many significant operations. Due to the overwhelming demand for local and federal uniformed officers during the XI South Pacific Games, the GUARNG was called into state active duty. Members administratively augmented state and federal law enforcement agencies and managed command and operation centers 24 hours a day while utilizing their operational expertise. Guam hosted this momentous event for over 4,000 athletes and dignitaries from 21 island nations.
Guam Guard soldiers and airmen were are able to mobilize in 24 hours or less, as seen after the July 2002 Typhoon Chata'an and the December 2002 Super Typhoon Pongsona, and performed myriad of missions including debris cleanup, traffic control, search and rescue, reverse osmosis water production/distribution, crowd control, building reconstruction and tactical communications.
Balikatan (which translates to "shouldering the load together" in the national language of the Philippines, Tagalog) is an annual exercise designed at improving United States-Philippines combined planning, combat readiness, and interoperability while enhancing security relations and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the Philippines against external aggression. The GUARNG has been a regular participant in Balikatan exercises since 2000 with significant involvement in force protection, medical civil-action projects, engineer civil-action projects and a command post exercises.
The Hawaii-Philippines-Guam State Partnership Program (SPP) is a bilateral engagement program which improves military interoperability between the parties involved, assists with the development of democratic institutions, fosters open market economies to help promote stability and projects/represents United States humanitarian values. This Guard-unique program, formed in 2000, has already expanded to numerous subject matter exchanges (SME) with General Officers, Reserve Officer Training Program cadres, Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDR) training, Annual Training and Combat Lifesaver Training. The SPP has unlimited potential and new ideas and initiatives continue to develop between the SPP partners including a future Joint Web Site Development project.
Since 9/11, the GUARNG has been mobilized for the following Operation Noble Eagle (ONE)/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Force Protection missions: International airports in Guam and the CNMI; Critical U.S. military installations in Japan & Okinawa; Guam power generation plants/grids; and GUARNG owned installations. With regards to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the GUARNG has provided soldiers proficient in the following disciplines: Medical (MD), Dental (DDS), Truck Drivers, Military Intelligence, Legal, Public Affairs, Engineering and Quartermaster. One of the most unique OEF deployments is in the Horn of Africa region where Guam Guard soldiers are the first and only Army National Guard units assigned this mission.
The men and women of the GUNG continue to make personnel, medical and family readiness their number top priority in preparation for subsequent mobilizations and deployments. The GUNG has opened its first Family Assistance Center (FAC) which provides a friendly and neutral atmosphere for unit Family Readiness Groups (FRG) equipped with INTERNET-ready computers, copier/fax machine, conference room, unit storage closets and children's play room. The unit FRGs, along with sister service family organizations, have formed the Joint Force Purple Ribbon Campaign (PRC). The PRC's mission is to assist families who are seeking information/specialized assistance but are unsure of where to go and have no extended family to turn to. This initiative will allow deployed troops to focus on their federal missions knowing someone is assisting their loved ones with problems that may arise during their absence. An initiative to make establish a National Joint Force Purple Ribbon Campaign has been submitted to the National Guard Bureau's Family Program for implementation in FY 2005.
The GUARNG performed exceptionally well during the January 2003 Command Logistics Review Team inspection and received 1st Runner Up in the Army's Supply Excellence Award Evaluation Army-wide competition. The award was presented to the 909th Quartermaster Detachment (ROWPU) for their superior attention to detail, outstanding equipment maintenance systems and noteworthy supply and accounting record keeping.
The GUNG participated in the planning, coordination and execution of a highly successful 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Guam. Guam remains the first and only U.S. soil to this date, with a sizeable population, to ever be occupied by a foreign military power for 31 months where the indigenous people were subjected to countless atrocities by occupying enemy forces. More than 1,800 Soldiers and Marines stormed the beaches of Guam on 21 July 1944 and gave their lives to defeat the Japanese Imperial Army. Each year on this date, the surviving American liberators return to Guam to honor their fallen comrades and receive community recognition as the hometown heroes during the annual Liberation of Guam festivities.
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