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Guam, the southernmost island in the Marianas archipelago, is 212 square miles in size and part of an underwater mountain range running southward from Japan. With about 140,000 residents and more than 7,000 military personnel and their family members, Guam is the most populated island in the geographical area known as Micronesia. Situated in the Western Pacific, across the international date line at 13.28° north latitude and 144.45° east longitude, it is the largest of more than 2,000 islands scattered between Hawaii and the Philippines. Guam is only three jet-hours away from the Asian capitals of Tokyo, Taipei and Manila, and it welcomed more than one million tourists last year. The island is Japan's Miami Beach.

In 1898, Spanish rule on Guam came to an abrupt halt when Capt. Henry Glass captured the island at the start of the Spanish-American War. The Treaty of Paris (1898) allotted Guam to the United States, to be administered under the Department of the Navy. In 1950, Congress passed the Organic Act under which Guam became an organized unincorporated territory of the United States. The governor was appointed by the president, and the administration fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. Guam's first popularly elected governor took office in 1971. Guam elected its first delegate to the US Congress in 1962.

The USS FRANK CABLE (AS 40) recently changed homeport to Agaña, Guam, where it is the sole mobile-support platform for all SEVENTH Fleet ships and submarines.

The third FBM advance anchorage site, at Apra Harbor, Guam, became operational on 1 December 1964 with USS Proteus (AS-19) as the FBM tender. The USS Proteus (AS- 19) had opened all three FBM anchorage sites. Polaris system support continued until the last SSBN - the Robert E. Lee, departed Guam in July 1981.

The Navy is considering homeporting three to five attack submarines in Guam so the boats can spend more time on station in the western Pacific. Transit times from Hawaii and the West Coast substantially impact the availability of subs deploying along the Pacific rim. Creation of a homeport in Guam could not happen prior to around 2005, since the Navy would have to create an infrastructure to care for the ships, an additional 650 to 700 sailors and their families.

The primary mission of the Military Sealift Command is to provide sea transportation of equipment, supplies and ammunition to sustain US forces worldwide, during peacetime and in war, for as long as operational requirements dictate. From a small office command in 1962, to coordinating and loading thousands of tons of ammunition and supplies for the Vietnam War, and with critical involvement in the most massive sealift effort in history during the Persian Gulf War buildup, Military Sealift Command Office (MSCO) Guam has contributed to the operational readiness of the US Navy in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Through close to four decades of service, MSC’s presence on Guam has undergone many changes. In February 1962 MSCO Guam opened as a subordinate command of MSC Far East based in Yokohama, Japan. Through the years, MSCO Guam’s influence continued to grow in the Western Pacific area. In 1986, the command assumed logistical support responsibility for Military Prepositioning Ships Squadron THREE (MPS-3).

In 1992, with the closure of Navy assets in Subic Bay and the subsequent disestablishment of MSC Southeast Asia, MSC Western Pacific (WESTPAC) was established at the location of the existing MSCO. In addition to the command’s local responsibilities, it also assumed Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) responsibilities for MSC Detachment Singapore and MSC Unit Diego Garcia. This resulted in MSC WESTPAC control of the complete Western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas of responsibility for MSC support.

With the change in the world political climate following the end of the Cold War, MSC’s presence on Guam was again affected. As part of the overall downsizing of US Navy assets on Guam and in conjunction with a worldwide MSC restructure, the decision was made in 1996 to commence preparations for closure of MSC WESTPAC. In 1997, upon further review of the strategic significance of Guam for the U.S. Navy, the command was reestablished as MSCO Guam.

Although MSC representation on Guam has undergone many significant changes, the missions of providing administrative, material and logistic support to MSC vessels remain the same. In early 1998, MSCO Guam’s capabilities and mission were expanded with the assignment of a second Port Engineer and the establishment of a Contracting department. These enhancements have enabled MSCO Guam to play a major role in MSC ship engineering and maintenance support in conjunction with Guam Shipyard. Located at the site of the former Navy Ship Repair Facility, Guam Shipyard is a private company that was established in October 1997.

There are four Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force [NFAF] ships that routinely operate out of Guam: the Stores Ships USNS NIAGARA FALLS (T-AFS 3), USNS SAN JOSE (T-AFS 7) and USNS SPICA (T-AFS 9), and the Ammunition Ship USNS KILAUEA (T-AE 26). Less frequently seen here, but still officially based in Guam, is the Fleet Tug USNS NARRAGANSETT (T-ATF 167). A key component of MSCO Guam’s mission is to provide administrative, material and logistic support for these ships.

As part of the Navy's strategic sealift capability, Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron Three is responsible for the operation and administrative support to non-combatant ships of the Military Sealift Command Prepositioning Program in the Western Pacific Ocean. These time-chartered ships carry afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army. The squadron's mission is to provide sea transportation of vital equipment and supplies to a designated area of operations. MPSRON Three also has operational control of Combat Prepositioning Force and Logistics Prepositioning Ship. Combat Prepositioning Force, or CPF, ships provide quick-response delivery of U.S. Army equipment for ground troops. Logistics Prepositioning Ships do the same for the US Air Force, the US Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency. On a routine basis, MPSRON Three assumes or relinquishes operational control of these ships to its sister MPS squadrons to ensure that the correct mix of ships are available around the world. At any time, one or all of MPSRON Three's assigned CPF or Logistics Prepositioning Ships may be deployed to missions around the globe.

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Friday, July 28, 2000 9:37:51 AM