ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 36th Installation Deployment Readiness Cell (IDRC) of the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron is the lead section for the wing’s reception, staging, onward movement, and integration mission on Andersen AFB. The IDRC in tandem with all the other support functions collaborate on requirements in support of exercises, and operations through the Reception Working Group.
Exercise Forager 21 is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) exercise designed to test and refine the Army’s ability to flow forces into the region, execute command and control of those forces and effectively employ them in support of our allies, partners, and national security objectives. The RWG coordinated with USARPAC in early January. One of the main objectives was to build a Life Support Area in less than 30 days in preparation of exercise Forager 21 on Andersen AFB.
A LSA will house incoming soldiers for Forager 21. It is composed of tents with electrical access and environmental control units. The tents provide spaces for dining, workspaces and sleep quarters for 1,300 people for each LSA. Two LSAs are currently under construction; one in the fields near the Andersen AFB USO and the other out on North West Field.
“In any exercise, there are dozens of requirements to address before a requirement like a LSA can be constructed,” said 1st Lt. Jannell Vierahernandez, Installation Deployment Officer, 36th Installation Deployment Readiness Cell. “The Reception Working Group is a cohesive team that collaborates on requirements and coordinates with entities such as Civil Engineering Squdron, bio-environmental, safety, fire department, and dozens of other organizations to make sure the units are safe, supplied, and supported. The RWG with each member’s expertise tirelessly worked to ensure Andersen and the Army can support over 2,000 troops.”
Site preparation, an influx of soldiers, and mitigating a myriad of guidelines to ensure a successful LSA buildup is only half the job. The tear down of such a facility is equally as challenging, especially in an emergency.
“This exercise is being held in the middle of the rainy season here on Guam,” said Vierahernandez. “The Army has to be ready to break down the LSA in case of a typhoon. The development of a 48 hour plan was led by our CES experts, and was a critical requirement to ensure we are protecting the base population and equipment in case of a storm.”
Speed is a critical elemental to rapid operationalization of a base and the ability to project constant pressure against the great power competitors.
“These LSAs are important for agile combat,” said Vierahernandez. “As we think about multi-capability and its role in the region, it’s impressive to see these kinds of exercises here at Andersen as proof of concepts. We want to catch any setbacks at home station, so when our forces deploy to austere conditions they are efficient, and effective in executing the mission.”
Andersen AFB’s history and strategic importance rests on this foundation. During the Vietnam War, 5,000 troops with their heavy equipment were bed down in tent cities throughout the conflict. When supporting Operation New Life, where Vietnamese refugees were evacuated from the country, Andersen increased this capacity to 50,000, more than one-half the permanent population of Guam in 1975.
“We aren’t just testing capacity,” said Vierahernandez. “These large movements through Andersen will continue as we support exercises for our sister services and foreign militaries. Strengthening our interoperability with our regional partnership will help capture the receptions mission to expand our combat lethality.”
The wing reception team is composed of 30 subject matter experts from participating agencies. Their job is essential to advance Indo-Pacific’s operations in the region and ensure visiting units are successful in projecting power from the forward edge.
“Not to be bias, but I believe this is the premiere working group on Andersen,” said Vierahernandez. “We support so many exercises and refinement is the thing we strive for.”
The LSAs are scheduled to be removed after exercise Forager 21 is complete.