Marianas Islands and the Air Force

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Our Chamorro Pacific Islander civilization has been heavily influenced by all aspects of the American armed forces for many years for many reasons. The Mariana Islands have been and continue to be connected at the hip to U.S. naval and air force activity during both wartime and in peace.

Guam may be the only place on planet Earth where the Navy has had free military-led dictatorial government reign on an entire Pacific Islander civilization that lasted for decades. Tinian is the only place on planet Earth where the sole atomic bombing air attack operation series were launched against Japan by the United States, that resulted in massive devastation, creating the conditions that led to the end of World War II. 

Air Force and Guam

Prior to the end of the war, the Army Air Corps produced massive contamination throughout northern Guam due to the activity associated with the thousands of aircraft taking off from Guam on firebomb missions against Japan.  

After World War II, the Army Air Corps turned into the U.S. Air Force. Since then, thousands of Chamorros have signed up in different capacities to join Air Force ranks. Chamorros have served as non-commissioned officers, commissioned officers, and one or two may have become general officers. 

The presence of the U.S. Air Force in Guam today is overwhelming and priceless from an American imperial military perspective. 

Andersen Air Force Base may have the single largest petroleum, oil, and lubricant infrastructure system anywhere in the world. Andersen has a tremendous ability to receive, store and load weapons of war onto planes, engage in unmanned air warfare, maintain and support all Air Force assets arriving on-island, use technology to assess and survey the total airspace environment, deploy to select targets anywhere in the world, and respond to nuclear war. 

Our ancient Chamorro island home is also ground zero for some of the Air Force’s most important units. Many of our families have or are serving in the Air National Guard, the Reserves, and many of these individuals are directly supporting Air Force mission sets to move construction and engineering assets anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. 

The Air Force is heavily involved in operational activities on Tinian and Saipan because of the perceived need in part, to divert aircraft from Guam should Guam be hit by a nuclear or conventional missile attack. 

Andersen is also a base that was built and located on limestone plateau that was wrongfully taken from many Chamorro families because it was seized without prior, formal, or written consent. 

Air Force and Guam’s water lens

Over the past several decades, the Air Force, as with the Army Air Corps, has contaminated Guam’s sole underground aquifer system. Many of our family members living in Yigo and other locations have contracted rare diseases ranging from blood cancers to organ damage from unacceptable levels of exposure to toxic chemicals discharged by the Air Force in response to aircraft and base maintenance operations. 

Air Force in the region

The Air Force and the United States must continue to maintain the support of Pacific Islander civilizations throughout Micronesia and the greater Pacific Ocean region. Without securing support on an ongoing basis from Chamorros and other Pacific Islander civilizations, the Air Force would not be able to maintain and grow its presence. 

The United States, Britain, France, Canada, New Zealand, and others remain increasingly active and involved in maintaining security interests that include the preparation and deployment of air power throughout the region. Andersen provides a central location for various national air forces to meet up, operate and train for war, presumably against China, Russia and the DPRK. 

The Air Force also maintains significant interests in space and intercontinental ballistic missile activities both in the Marianas and in eastern Micronesia. 

What our Chamorro Pacific Islander civilization needs to know and remember

Andersen Air Force Base remains a Superfund site, not completely cleaned up by the Pentagon. What we should know is that our Chamorro family clans who used to own land where Andersen is located were never fully and adequately compensated for the lands stolen by the U.S. government. What we need to know and remember is that past environmental damage was never fully cleaned up by the Air Force or the federal regime. 

We need to remember that the American Air Force is a huge organization, made up of over half a million individuals worldwide, working as Reserve, National Guard, active duty, and Space Force employees. We need to remember that the Marianas sees some of the Air Force’s most prized assets locally to include unmanned aircraft combat systems, space and special operations activities, strategic bombing activities, training, cargo, and air fuel tanker activities as well as deep and wide intelligence and electronic warfare activities used to survey our immediate and broader areas to include closely monitoring of nuclear testing work performed by DPRK. 

We need to remember that the Air Force uses our island to support the air-based pillar of America’s nuclear weapons delivery triad. We need to remember that the Air Force’s ability to operate is solely based on informational and operational networks that require high technology and that are heavily present in outer space and that, without space-based satellites, the Air Force would not be able to fulfill its global military mission.

Rick Arriola Perez | Author
Rick Arriola Perez used to serve in the U.S. military and has work experiences in public policy research and public affairs. He is passionate about national security and geopolitics and runs a newsletter called Guam Affairs at guamaffairs.substack.com. For questions or comments, contact Perez at rickp7839@gmail.com.

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