Edwin Andrews Air Base
San Roque Airfield
San Roque Airfield
Colonel Edwin Andrews Air Base is located near the extreme south of the Philippines, on the outskirts of the coastal city of Zamboanga. The base has 4 helipads and shares a single, 8,000-foot long runway with Zamboanga International Airport. It is used extensively for air operations against insurgents in the southern Philippines. (Coordinates: 6o55'40.40 N, 122o03'34.13 E)
The base's origins can be traced to World War II, when the Japanese constructed a military airfield on the site and used it to support operations in Borneo. During this time, it was known as "San Roque Airfield." It was bombed several times by US planes during late 1944 and into early 1945. The area was recaputed by American ground forces in March 1945. The USMC and Army improved the existing facilities and lengthened the airstrip to 4,500 feet. The base was renamed Moret Field in honor of USMC Lieutenant Colonel Paul Moret, who died in a plane crash off the Solomon Islands in 1943. American warplanes operated out for Moret Field to attack Japanese forces still in the southern Philippines, and at its peak, around 300 aircraft were based there.
After the war, the airfield was quickly turned over to Philippine control and became a civilian facility called Zamboanga Airport. On 6 December 1956, the Philippine Air Force established a military base at the eastern end of the airport. In 1966 the facility was named Colonel Edwin Andrew Air Base after a past PAF commander Colonel who had been killed in a plane crash on 18 May 1947. Edwin Andrews AB was an important asset to the Philippines in fighting insurgent groups in the south.
In 2002, after a 10 year hiatus, US troops returned to the Philippines on a permanent basis to fight Islamic terrorists in the country as part of the broader War on Terror. US special forces were initally based at Edwin Andrews AB before and then moved to Camp Navarro, which was also located in Zamboanga City. The air base was still frequented by American military transport aircraft, either to drop supplies off in the Philippines or merely stop on the way to some other destination.
Two civilians were killed at the base in May 2008 when MILF terrorists detonated a small remote-controlled bomb among a crowd of people.
As of 2009 the 530th Air Base Wing provided all logistical and support services at Edwin Andrews AB and was permanently stationed there, as was the 1306th Dental Dispensary. The 25th Composite Attack Squadron of the 15th Strike Wing operated ground attack and COIN aircraft, while the rest of the Wing's aircraft remain at Danilo Atienza AB. Tactical Operations Group 9 was based at the facility, but had additional detachments on Pulacan, Jolo and Sulu. A squadron from the 205th Tactical Operations Wing, the 206th Tactical Operations Squadron, provided helicopter support in the region.
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