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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, October 4) - Guam could see up to three more submarines homeported here if the Navy decides that the island can support the additional military assets.

The Navy on Guam recently completed a study on whether to homeport the additional submarines here, said Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Arwen Consaul, adding that the study looked at housing and quality-of-life issues on Guam.

"Guam is a strategic location and homeporting submarines on Guam makes them close to hotspots in the Pacific," Consaul said. "It means shorter deployments and longer family time."

The study has been sent to the Chief of Naval Operations, but there is no time line as to when a decision to homeport the additional submarines here will be made, Consaul said.

In mid-December, Guam will welcome its third home-ported submarine, the USS Houston. The Houston is currently home-ported in Bremerton, Wash.

The Houston will join the USS San Francisco and USS City of Corpus Christi. All three submarines are Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines, which can seek and destroy enemy surface ships and submarines.

The submarines are part of Submarine Squadron 15, which will have a total force of 1,550 sailors once the Houston arrives. Each submarine brings about 150 sailors, with 200 to 300 family members, Consaul said.

The Navy also is considering home-porting an aircraft-carrier strike group and an accompanying air wing in the Pacific -- either in Hawai΄i or on Guam. Senior Air Force officials have discussed basing fighter aircraft, bombers, tankers and Global Hawk unmanned-reconnaissance aircraft on Guam.

Military officials have said that the Pentagon wants to boost the number of ships and aircraft on Guam and in Hawai΄i to reduce military-transit time across the Pacific region.

October 5, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com


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