GUAM MILITARY BASES SECURED, STAY SILENT

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By Theresa Merton Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 9, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Military bases on the island remain at a high state of alert following air attacks in Afghanistan, but officials said they could not release specific security measures being taken.

Officials also would not say if Guam's bases and troops will be involved in future attacks.

"That's operational information that can't be released," said Air Force spokeswoman Senior Airman Stacy Coville.

American and British forces made a punishing air attack against military targets and Osama bin Laden's training camps inside Afghanistan, striking at terrorists blamed for last month's attacks on the U.S. mainland.

Two commercial jetliners crashed Sept. 11 into the World Trade Center in New York City and a third hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth airliner crashed about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The planes were hijacked by terrorists. Thousands of people were killed in the attacks.

Appropriate level

Military officials yesterday would not give their level of alert because of security reasons. Immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, military bases were put on Threatcon Delta -- the military's highest state of security and awareness.

"We are at an appropriate force protection level," Navy spokeswoman Lt. Monica Richardson said yesterday. "We cannot discuss force protection measures."

After the attacks, the U.S. military tightened security at all bases, U.S. forces were mobilized and President Bush gave the military authority to call to active duty more than 50,000 reservists.

Guam reservists were recently called to active duty to assist in homeland defense. Additional reservists were not activated following yesterday's air attacks, officials said, adding that the island already has stringent security measures in place.

Reservists

Hundreds of reservists continue to assist with heightened security at their facilities.

Prior to the Sept. 11 incidents, about 60 Guam Army National Guard and 65 Guam Air National Guard reservists were activated to help in ongoing projects, which include moving equipment from Fort Juan Muna to the new Army Guard Readiness Center. The guard reservists were scheduled to be relieved last week, but stayed on to help with security.

"We were able to keep to them on board," said Capt. John Guerrero, public information officer.

There are more than 1,100 Guam Army and Air Guard reservists on island.

About 100 Army reservists also were called to active duty following last month's attacks to help with on-island security measures.

Additional Army reservists were not called after yesterday's air attacks, said Lt. Col. Howard Sugai, public affairs officer for the 9th Regional Support Command from the Pacific Army Reserve headquarters in Hawai‘i. About 500 Guam residents are in the Army reserve.

"We have no notification of any movement. We continue to do what we have been doing since Sept. 11," which includes "vigilant security measures and force protection," Sugai said.

"We are just standing by and waiting for instructions."

Heightened state

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Lee Putnam also declined to say whether security procedures have been stepped up after yesterday morning's air strikes.

"The Coast Guard is in a heightened state of alert," Putnam said. "But I cannot talk about resources and where they are and what they are doing."

Last month, the Coast Guard increased port security in the wake of the terrorist attacks, according to Pacific Daily News files. A C-130 Hercules plane arrived from Air Station Barbers Point in Hawai‘i to be used for port security missions around Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Putnam declined to say whether the C-130 still was being used for such missions.

"We are continuing to conduct escorts," around Guam's harbor, Putnam said.

Port Authority of Guam spokesman Mike Henderson said they continue to conduct security checkpoints, but have not added more defense measures.

"We are at the highest it can be already," Henderson said, adding that the checkpoints have been in place for several weeks.

Vigilant measures

Guam International Airport Authority's security remains beefed up with the help of dozens of Guam Army National Guard members.

Additional guard reservists have not been called to active duty since the air strikes, Guerrero said.

"Right now, we have guard members for airport security and force protection," Guerrero said, adding that he has not heard any word on whether more guard reservists will be activated.

Last week, 102 Guam Army National Guard members volunteered or were called to active duty to provide additional airport security, including patrolling the borders of the property.

That move fell in line with a request from President Bush to use guard units at the nation's airports until long-term security measures are in place. All of the nation's airports have been on higher states of alert since last month.

"We are already in the highest state of alert and we are being as vigilant as we can," said Jerry Yingling, airport general manager. "I think that the airport police and the National Guard have worked very well together. We are very happy."

Yingling said that the attacks and the security measures should not be "taken lightly."

"I don't see us going off this level of alert for the next six months," Yingling said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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