The following content contains information about Guam and its resident U.S. Navy Base (NBG) located in the village of Santa Rita. This includes basic information about the U.S. military base such as:
- the base’s purpose: it’s mission and vision statement,
- the base’s commanding officers,
- a number of military facilities and base installations, and
- services of each base facility as well as the recreational amenities, among others.
- how-to-go-there information to some of the facilities and their corresponding contact information.
Additionally, this article contains historical information about Guam: from its indigenous cultural roots to the establishment of the Naval Base. All of this information is essential and a must-read if you and your family are trying to visit Guam Navy Base. Helpful link: Townhouse for Sale in Manila.
The native inhabitants of Guam, called Chamorros, are very similar in racial stock, culture and language to most Southeast Asian cultures like the Malaysians, Indonesians, and Filipinos, all having Indo-Malayan descent. Like their continental counterparts, the Chamorros survived by advanced fishing, hunting, and horticulture.
Early documents produced by the earliest explorers there revealed that the Chamorros not only hunted, but made delicately-designed pottery and intricate weaving, also were masters of the sea through their use of canoes, and master builders of their own kind of tropical dwellings. For instance, the Chamorros made the foundations of their houses out of thick, vertical stone pillars, which they called lattes. This technique is quite unique among the Malayan cultures.
The Chamorro culture itself is also unique because it is mainly a matriarch-oriented culture. This means that more prestige, respect, honor, and authority is given to women, much more than other Southeast Asian cultures. This cultural facet has thrived even until the present times.
The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to arrive on the island. Sailing under Spanish orders, he arrived in Guam on March 6, 1521 in search of a way to circumnavigate the globe.
He made his crew stop at Guam in order to restock on supplies and bring fresh water on board. However, it was not until 1565 that the Spanish, under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, took control of the islands and claimed it for the Spanish monarchy. Catholicism was quickly introduced to the native inhabitants when Jesuit missionaries under Padre Diego Luis de San Vitores arrived in Guam in 1668.
Aside from Roman Catholicism, the Spaniards taught the native Chamorros how to breed animals, cultivate corn, and wear Western clothing. After around 333 years of Spanish occupation, Guam was ceded by Spain to the United States on June 21, 1898 through the Treaty of Paris, marking the end of the Spanish-American War and making the island officially a part of U.S. territory.
The U.S. officially purchased Guam for $20 million a year later. Then-U.S. president William McKinley put the U.S. Department of Navy in command of the administration of the island. Under the Navy, development and quality of life in the island for both the natives and American servicemen increased, notably in the areas of education, real estate management, agriculture, public works, public health, and taxes.
Guam was subject to Japanese occupation during World War II. In December 10, 1941, Guam fell into the hands of the Japanese military, after a fierce assault on the island that coincided with the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. During this time, Japan renamed Guam as “Omiya Jima”, or “Great Shine Island”.
The Chamorros during this period suffered a lot during the Japanese occupation, subjected to forced assimilation of the Japanese lifestyle, as well as forced labor, rape, mass slaughter and other brutal acts of violence. Despite these however, the Japanese were worried about the Chamorro’s fierce loyalty to America.
Near the end of World War II, the U.S. finally found composure on the Pacific side of the war and reclaimed Guam after three weeks of struggle against the Japanese Imperial Army. On July 21, 1944, Allied forces stormed Japanese positions from Asan and Agat beaches. After their victory, Allied forces raised the American flag amid the ruins of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Sumay, Apra Harbor.
Both the U.S. military and Guam Chamorros incurred a lot of war casualties. Nevertheless, it allowed America to win the war on the Pacific front since this naval operating base, nicknamed “The Pacific Supermarket”, gave large support to the campaign against Japan during that time. Today, a naval military installation stands on the very same location.
This event is commemorated by Guamanians every 21st of July and officially known as Guam Liberation Day. It is a major holiday throughout the island, and businesses, government offices, and education centers close their doors during this date and take part of the celebrations that involve a parade through the Marine Corps Drive in Hagatna.
After World War II, U.S. Naval forces were reestablished in Guam and given administrative command over the island. From 1946 to 1949, the captain of the Navy was assigned as the commander of Guam. This ended when then-president Harry S. Truman signed the Organic Act into law in 1949. Under the Organic Act, Guam became a U.S. unincorporated territory with limited self-governing power. The Act also gave native Chamorros U.S. citizenship.
Eventually, administration of the U.S. Naval Station in Guam was turned over to the Commander of the Naval Logistics Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet. This military base grew and evolved over several decades. On October 1, 1994, the U.S. consolidated the Naval Station and Naval Magazine Guam, renaming it as Guam Naval Activities.
In 2004, the U.S. changed the base’s name again to Naval Base Guam. This base continues to provide power projection for the U.S. on the Pacific by hosting a number of key tenant commands. The Naval Base Guam supports the U.S. Pacific fleet by housing numerous Navy commands. Some of these commands that take up residence in the island are:
- Coast Guard Sector Guam,
- Naval Special Warfare Unit One,
- Commander Naval Forces Marianas, and
- Commander Submarine Squadron Fifteen.
There are around 30 other tenant commands that reside in the base, including the submarine tender USS Frank Cable. There are currently around 6,300 navy men and women on active duty, as well as around 6,900 family members of these servicemen and a significant population of military retirees in the island.
Guam navy base is also well-known for being a U.S. military base that hosts a number of significant historical sites within its premises and vicinity. One of the main reasons why the U.S. installed the U.S. Navy Base Guam is to provide support for the continued operations of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. This purpose encompasses: 1) military personnel who are stationed at the base; 2) other critical military personnel whom they are assigned to supply and support, 3) military commands of the different units assigned there, and 4) the dependents (spouses, children, extended family) who are also stationed at the base.
So, in order to fulfill that goal, the Naval Base Guam pursues towards excellence in meeting the expectations of their clients regarding their services and support activities. Additionally, they are also committed to making an environment that is humane and very conducive for work, recreation, and family life.
They also aim to be one of the best employers in the U.S., which is the goal of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). Aside from the base’s mission and vision, the Navy upholds honor, courage, and commitment as the highest virtues and principles, and these are adhered to by the constituents of the base.
They also believe in giving full heed to the customers’ needs, as well as engaging the community in a positive way. In fact, every serviceman in the base believes in taking care of the family first and foremost, so that each of them will be happy and can serve the base more effectively. On top of the base’s hierarchy of personnel are three commanding officers.
1) Cptn. Richard K. Wood II – Hailing from Anandale, Virginia, Captain Wood is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He is the Commanding Officer of the Naval Base Guam.
2) Cmdr. Kevin Gillam – the Executive Officer of the Base, he has roots in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer.
3) John T. Lawry – the Command Master Chief of the base is a native of East Moline, Illinois, and joined the U.S. Navy way back in June 1988, and recently achieved his current position in September 2010.
The entirety of the Naval Base Guam is made up of these facilities and commands:
- Orote Point/Apra Harbor Main Base
- Tenjo Valley
- Ordnance Annex
- North Finegayan
- Sasa Valley Fuel Facilities
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The Naval Base Guam Barrigada can be found near the Barrigada Village and is just south of Route 16. Inside the Barrigada site is the NCTS transmission antennas, the Admiral Nimitz Golf Course (the only golf course found in Guam), and the ANGC Sports Bar and Grill.
Known before as the Naval Magazine Guam, the Ordnance Annex of the Naval Base Guam serves as a storage and supply point for combat vehicles, weapons, ammunition, maintenance and support equipment of the Navy. The facility of the Ordnance Annex, which is open 24/7, is just 1 mile southeast of the main central base and also sports a gymnasium.
Located on the northwest side of Guam is the Navy Base Guam North Finegayan Telecommunications Site, the home of the Navy’s telecom station in Guam. The main base of Naval Base Guam is also nicknamed “Big Navy Guam“. Although the main gate is open 24/7, the back gates located in Agat is open only on weekdays from 6:00AM to 8:00AM and 3:30PM to 6:00PM.
Some of the recreational facilities found in this base include:
- a beach
- salt-water tank and pool,
- the Marina
- bowling facility
- baseball/softball/football fields
- skate park
- tennis court, and
Aside from these, the Naval Base Guam’s main facility also offers the following services:
1) Autoport Gas Station
2) Laundry/Dry Cleaning
3) Home and Garden Center
6) Clipper Landing
7) NEX Food Court
8) NEX Main Exchange
9) Autoport Service/Auto Parts
10) Home Gallery
13) Typhoons/Nap’s/C’ Street Cafe
14) Gateway Inn
The Naval Base Guam’s Polaris Point is an installation at the east side of Apra Harbor, and can be reached from the Marine Corps Drive which is two miles north of the main base front gate. Polaris Point is commonly used by the Navy as a general venue for personnel events, such as the Navy’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) events, as well as outdoor concerts and especially Independence Day celebrations.
Like some other installations, Polaris Point also has recreational facilities like beaches with cabanas and restrooms, and camping areas. In here is also the Polaris Point Club and the NEX Mini-mart, where one can arrange for special events with the MWR.
The gates of Polaris Point are manned 24/7. Another official facility of the Naval Base Guam is the Defense Fuel Support Point Guam. Commonly called the “”fuel farm”", this installation operates storage, transfer, and pumping equipment for various kinds of aviation and marine fuels.
This portion of the base is not open to all and only welcomes official business transactions. Visitors need to call (671) 339-7106 to access the facility. As we have read before, the Naval Base Guam is not only for the U.S. military, it also provides an environment for and promotes better family life, between officers and their immediate family. As such, the base operates facilities for fitness and sports, food and beverage outlets, entertainment, and recreation centers, Also, they have programs such as travel and tours, liberty programs, and the like.
As said, Guam navy base has several entertainment options for the entire year. In particular, the base has the so-called Big Screen Theater where people can watch movies free of charge and at the same time eat at the snack bar inside adjacent to the Theater. One can also make reservations so that various events can be held at the Big Screen Theater. Located in Building 1981, the Theater is open on 7:00PM and 9:30PM on Fridays, and 1:00PM, 3:30PM, and 7:00PM on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also check online or call their 24-hour movie hotline in order to know what movies are lined up for showing.
The Navy MWR Information, Tickets, and Travels Office can assist travelers in booking their tours in advance. Condo for sale in Manila might be a helpful term for you. This tour office is located at the MWR Administration Office Building, SB1, Aldrich, Road, Naval Base Guam, and is open from Mondays to Fridays at 9:00AM-12:00PM and 1:00PM-5:00PM.
Included in their list of packaged tours are:
- Dolphin Watching Adventure
- City Sightseeing Tour
- River Boat Cruise
- Tarza Waterpark
- Onward Waterpark
- Underwater World, and
- Atlantis Submarine, among others.
These are definitely places to go to bond with your family. Aside from these, the Navy MWR Information, Tickets, and Travels outfit can customize your recreational and travel needs, if you want some R&R in Guam. For example, if one is into outdoor adventuring, the MWR Office has bikes, kayaks, snorkeling and camping gear for rent.
There are other places in the Guam Navy Base where tourists must go. Some of these are the Dadi, San Luis, and Gab Gab Beaches, as well as the Silver Dolphin Recreation Center, where you can find amenities and games that can help you unwind and relax.
The Liberty program offered by the Naval Base Guam is especially tailored to single servicemen and bachelors, aged 18-25, who are in active duty. These men can visit the Single Sailor Sanctuary which has services like free computer and wireless Internet access, games in PS2/PS3 and X-box, and such other kinds of diversions. The MWR offers a variety of dishes and cuisine. For example, the Top o’the Mar serves the Weekly Mongolian BBQ and the Sunday Brunch, as well as serving catering to clients for special occasions. They have function rooms for banquet and conference occasions.
The base itself also has several spots that offer fine dining, great-tasting food, a relaxing ambiance and great customer service. Some of these chow spots include:
- Mean Gene’s Burgers
- Molly McGees Irish Pub
- Clipper Landing
- C-Street Cafe
- Naps Alabama BBQ
- Game Time Sports Grill, and
- Hot Stuff Pizza.
Lastly, there are fitness programs and facilities that help the residents, navy members, and tourists get their respective bodies in shape. An example of these is the NBG’s Charles King Gym where one can find weight-lifting equipment, aerobic fitness equipment, sauna rooms, indoor racquetball courts, basketball courts, dance rooms, and family fitness rooms. The base also has fitness programs like aquatics and youth sports.
There are swimming pools in the MWR, and these are often used to give swimming lessons and water aerobics for both children and adults. You might want to cool off here under the heat of the sun.
On Guam Navy Base one can also find the Guam Youth Sports Association (GYSA) very active in maintaining and promoting an healthy lifestyle among its athlete members, training them for teamwork, discipline, and leadership.”
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