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Motor vehicles pass through Naval Base Guam’s new front gate for the first time in several weeks after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.
Motor vehicles pass through Naval Base Guam’s new front gate for the first time in several weeks after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. (Kelly Nicholas / Courtesy U.S. Navy)

A new, $1.2 million main gate is boosting security at Commander, Naval Forces Marianas and keeping gate guards out of Guam’s tropical sun and rain, Navy officials said.

The gate off Marine Corps Drive at the base’s north end reopened Tuesday after more than a month of construction.

Force-protection upgrades include a new, typhoon-resistant concrete facility that includes a roof, guard house with bullet-proof glass, closed-circuit televisions, a rest room and an emergency generator. The structure is built to withstand up to 175-mph winds, Navy officials said.

“It’s partially anti-terrorism, force-protection measures, and it’s also because we needed a new gate,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Annis, a spokesman for Commander, Naval Forces Marianas. “We needed to provide for security forces so they could do their job better.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michelle Fonseca, a master at arms, stood watch at the gate Tuesday and said her eight-hour shift was more comfortable than it used to be.

“Oh, it was really nice,” she said. Best of all, she said, is the roof — a concrete structure that straddles the road.

“We got lots of compliments and there’s more shade” and staff won’t get as wet, she said.

Navy officials said the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks also prompted the need for a more high-tech entrance. Security officers now will be able to read license plates with a special camera and pedestrians enter by swiping their ID cards and walking through a metal gate.

The gate, Annis said, is also much more prominent than the old one. It was easy for tourists to miss the 90-degree turn on Marine Corps Drive just outside the Navy base and end up at the gate, he said. “Now it’s very clear that this is a Naval base.”

Kellog, Brown and Root were the contractors for the project; Annis did not know the source of the construction funding.

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