Monday, November 23, 2009

More than ‘a few good men’ coming

More than ‘a few good men’ coming

Tuesday, 24 November 2009 02:46 by Zita Y. Taitano | Variety News Staff

THE Marines aren’t the only ones coming to Guam. The draft environmental impact statement indicated that army soldiers and their dependents will also be relocated to Guam.

Approximately 630 Army soldiers and 950 of their dependents are expected to arrive by 2015, along with an additional 126 civilian personnel.

The army personnel are part of the planned Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force, which is anticipated to occupy about 28 acres of military land. This will entail an investment of about $242 million set aside by the U.S. Army for funding in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 with which to build the required facilities for the task force.

The task force will oversee the operations of three defense missile components comprised of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD system, a long-range, land-based air defense designed to intercept ballistic missiles in late mid-course or the final stage of flight.

The more recognizable patriot missile system targets cruise missiles and any other types of threats that could threaten the THAAD or other civilian and military assets on Guam.

The task force will assume responsibility for Surface-Launched Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, which targets air threats, whether unmanned aerial vehicles or cruise missiles.

Unlike its counterparts in the Marine Corps and the Navy, the Army missile task force is basically a ground force unit and will occupy three different locations on island, comprised of housing and headquarters; a munitions storage site for missiles and weapons emplacement sites.

Although there are three alternative sites for the housing and headquarters of the taskforce, such as the Navy and the Air Force Barrigada areas, both near the Nimitz Golf Course, the preferred location is south of NCTAMS or South Finegayan in Dededo, an area where several companies have expressed interest in locating worker housing.

As for the weapons emplacement site locations, it appears the alternative sites are located on or next to Northwest Field and covers vast acres of federal property. Alternative options include two areas spanning 368 acres and another swath of land that spreads across 333 acres.

Other options with less acreage are still on the table for consideration for siting missile installations. Because the details of the weapons emplacement are classified, a security clearance is required by parties interested in learning more about this particular part of the draft impact statement.

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