Anderson AFB is situated on the island of Guam in the western pacific ocean. The island belongs to the commonwealth of the United States and lies about 1350 nautical miles south of Tokyo / Japan and 3400 nautical miles west of Honolulu / Hawaii. This location is of high strategical value for the Unites States and therefore it´s hardly surprising to find several military installations on the island.
Andersen AFB was established in December 1944 and was named after James Roy Andersen, a Bomber pilot who died in a crash east of Guam in 1945.
Andersen AFB played it´s part during the late WW II bombing mission and during the Korean War. The base is most known for the massive bombing operations during the Vietnam War, „Arc Light“ and“ Linebacker II“ between 1965 and 1972. in excess of 100+ B-52 we´re operating out of Guam and the large aprons and dispersals still bear evidence of those times.
After the Vietnam War the 43rd Bomb Wing was based at Guam flying B-52Gs and did so until 1990. During this year Strategic Air Command passed over the command to the Pacific Air Forces. Since then no permanent flying Wing is based here.
In 1994 the 36th Wing took over responsibility for running the base. It is still a non flying Wing but takes care of all deployed or transiting aircrafts.
Since 2003 the Air Force keeps the so called „Continuous Bomber Presence“ on Guam. This means that either B-2s or B-52´s aircraft and crew deploy to Guam to take up station at the most distant outpost in the Pacific.
During our visit The 5th Bomb Wing from Minot AFB/ North Dakota was on task with several B-52H long range heavy bombers. Interesting site note, the time of the deployment is used at Minot to do necessary runway repairs. A small static display and a bomber crew was arranged and the crew was more than happy to show us their aircraft. It was clear that they still love to fly the B-52 despite its age.
Due to the remote location there is a constant need for air to air refueling aircraft. This is assured by various units and during our time the Wisconsin and New Jersey ANG KC-135s were the most numerous ones.
Guam is frequently used as stopover location for all kind of aircraft transiting the pacific ocean. A wide variety could be seen ranging from fighter like F-15s and F/A-18s to transports like C-12s or C-17s. Unfortunately most of them could not be seen from up close.
ATC can sometimes be challenging. As you can imagine, most of the time traffic is very light but can increase to large amounts during the regular exercises like Valiant Shield. Therefore the local controllers rely on the simulator to stay current on larger amount of air traffic.
The only flying unit permanently based at Andersen AFB is HSC-25. This US Navy helicopter aquadron flies 14 MH-60S. The squadron was relocated from close by NAS Adana when this base closed in 1995.
I would like to thank the Andersen AFB Public Affairs Office and the Crews from the 5th Bomb Wing and the Wisconsin ANG for their support.