Governor says Army battalion may join Marines on Guam
July 29, 2006
As Guam looks toward a future with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their family members, island Gov. Felix Camacho says an Army battalion also may be part of the picture.
Camacho spoke to reporters Wednesday after he was briefed by Rear Adm. Joe Leidig, commander of Naval Forces Marianas, about the Guam Integrated Military Development Plan that has been submitted to the commander of the Pacific Command, Adm. William Fallon.
“There’s a potential look at maybe an Army presence here, a battalion,” Camacho said. A battalion can include anywhere from 300 to 1,000 soldiers.
Pacific Command spokesman Lt. Col. Bill Bigelow could not confirm the governor’s comments and said it is “far too premature to discuss specific unit movements to Guam.”
A portion of the 1,800-acre Navy Radio Transmitter Facility in the north-central village of Barrigada has been designated in the plan for a possible Army contingent, Camacho said. The facility currently houses National Guard buildings, a military warehouse and a smattering of communications buildings. It is otherwise empty.
Naval Base Guam officials did not respond to queries about the governor’s talk.
Also Wednesday, Camacho confirmed that 3,550 housing units would be built for the Marines at the South Finegayan housing area, about three miles away from the transmitter facility. There are no plans, he said, for the Marines to use Andersen Air Force Base’s 4,400-acre Northwest Field area, a site under development for Air Force training and support.
However, the Marine air component coming to Guam will be housed at Andersen, Camacho said. Its operations facilities are to be built on the north side of the Andersen runways, next to what now is Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25’s hangar and operations building and an area designated to house rotational fighter squadrons in the future. Andersen also will house barracks for the Marines.
Andersen South, a deserted housing annex about four miles south of the main base, is to be developed as a training area, Camacho said.
While the bulk of the development is to take place in the island’s northern part, Camacho said Apra Harbor wharf improvements — several of which are ongoing — will include facilities to handle Marine transport, Camacho said.
With all “the heavy equipment and the troops that will have to be onloaded and offloaded, they will have to build ramps for that,” Camacho said. “So there’s another section within the harbor that they will work on.”
Other wharf improvements will facilitate the arrival of aircraft carriers, submarines and logistics ships, he said.
The governor said all development will occur on land the military currently owns.
The cost of the Marine relocation has been estimated at $10.3 billion, more than $6 billion of which is to be paid by the Japanese government. The move is to be completed by 2014. Other military buildup on Guam is to cost an additional $5 billion during the next 10 years.
Air Force Gen. Daniel Leaf, PACOM deputy commander and author of the Guam development plan, is to visit the island on Aug. 24 to present the complete, 90-page plan to Camacho and to the community.
Secretary of the Navy Gordon England also is to visit the island within a week of Leaf’s visit, Camacho said.
Stripes reporter Jeff Schogol contributed to this report from the Pentagon.