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Homeland Security

Guam Agencies, Military Complete Typhoon Readiness Exercise

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110622-12

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Corwin Colbert, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Joint Region Marianas (JRM), Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) and several Government of Guam agencies conducted Exercise Typhoon Pakyo, a typhoon preparation and recovery exercise, June 10-17.

The week long exercise allowed Guam's military installations and government organizations to have real-time experience preparing for a typhoon and launching recovery efforts after the disaster.

"The exercise was a success," said JRM Training and Readiness Officer Timothy Moon. "We further enhanced our understanding of military and civilian capabilities in response to a typhoon. We have strengthened ties with our partners to allow better coordination in preparation for and recovery in the event Guam experiences heavy weather conditions."

Due to the location of Guam in the Pacific, the island can be affected by a typhoon anytime at short notice. Super typhoon Pongsona struck Guam in December 2002 with sustained winds of 144 miles per hours and gusts to 173 mile per hour. It was Guam's third biggest storm, causing an estimated $700 million in preliminary damages, according to the National Weather Service.

Moon said the first two days of the exercise focused on typhoon preparation and were followed by two days of recovery operations. Throughout the week, participating organizations followed through with preparation and recovery procedures in response to scenarios.

NBG personnel conducted crowd control at the base gas station and Orote Point Commissary and responded to simulated oil and chlorine spills. The exercise on Andersen AFB included a boil water notification to base housing residents, a damaged gate that prohibited traffic flow, a medical emergency regarding a pregnant woman in labor during the typhoon, and hazards in the form of displaced cars on roadways.

Maj. Bruce Murren, 36th Wing inspector general, who oversaw the exercise at Andersen AFB, said the exercise went as planned on the base.

"The preparatory phase was key for Andersen AFB as it has been two years since our last typhoon exercise," he said. "The majority of our housing residents had planned in advance and had no problems securing outdoor items when the time came. This exercise will help all of us if and when we are presented with the real thing."

Guam Homeland Security and the Office of Civil Defense were also involved in the exercise. Together with Guam's first responders, the local entities focused on preparation and emergency scenarios and combated potential communication issues faced during storms. The Government of Guam teams also addressed the possible use of tent cities after a storm.

Moon said it was important to have the military and local government work together during the exercise.

"The approach that we took for the exercise was that natural disasters like typhoons don't just impact the military installations," Moon said. "Typhoons affect the entire island effect so it was important to have a total island approach. Our end result is enhancing the lines of communication and coordination, which will be beneficial in the time of real need."

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