Local airman in Guam tells family not to fret about North Korea
- Author: Megan Austin Aug 12, 2017,
Aug 12, 2017, 0:27
"The U.S. has maintained a regular bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific since 2004 and this mission demonstrated our continued ironclad commitment to regional allies".
The U.S. planes, which were created to carry nuclear bombs and later switched to conventional payloads, followed up the drills with Japan with a separate exercise with South Korean Forces, the ASDF said. But residents are increasingly anxious over Washington's escalating war of words with North Korea.
In the USA territory, there's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the US military.
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he doesn't believe there is "any imminent threat" from North Korea, including to Guam. Their location in a USA territory means its military is just hours from potential flashpoints in the western Pacific.
Guam has been a major base for US military aircraft since World War II. The U.S. took control of Guam in 1898, when Spanish authorities surrendered to the U.S. Navy. Guam was also a refueling and transfer spot for people heading to Southeast Asia, and many refugees fleeing Saigon were evacuated through Guam. "We have so much to be proud of in Guam's number one industry", Eddie Baza Calvo, the governor of Guam, said in a press release on Thursday. Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam. Pyongyang is only 3,380 kilometers northwest of Guam, putting it within a feasible striking distance.
"After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) F-2 fighter jets", the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) said.
Ellsworth B-1's were last sent to Guam from South Dakota in August 2016. The territory is protected with the US's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, which can intercept missiles.