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36th OG reactivates to meet Pacific theater mission

A B-52 Stratofortress deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, departs Feb. 12 for a training mission over the Pacific Ocean. The bombers deployed from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are part of the 36th Operations Group that reactivated this week to provide a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Perrien)

A B-52 Stratofortress deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, departs Feb. 12 for a training mission over the Pacific Ocean. The bombers deployed from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are part of the 36th Operations Group that reactivated this week to provide a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Perrien)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Operations Group stand in formation during the unit's reactivation ceremony at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12. Six B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are deployed there to provide a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

Airmen assigned to the 36th Operations Group stand in formation during the unit's reactivation ceremony at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12. Six B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are deployed there to provide a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNEWS) -- The 36th Operations Group was reactivated after more than a decade to serve as the focal point for the Air Force's expeditionary operations taking place here. 

The 36th OG will assume the mission of the 36th Expeditionary Operations Group and establish a permanent command structure for deployed Air Force units assigned to Andersen AFB.

Currently, six B-52 Stratofortress bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, La., are deployed there to provide the U.S. Pacific commander a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Movement of Air Force bombers into the western Pacific has been occurring for more than two years as the Pacific Command adjusts its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability.

Col. Damian J. McCarthy formally assumed command of the newly reactivated 36th Operations Group in a ceremony held inside Andersen AFB's Hangar One Feb. 12. He had previously served as the 613th Air and Space Operations Center Combat Operations Division chief at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

"The stand up of a permanent operations group will provide greater stability and longer-range planning for our mission," Colonel McCarthy said. "This group will provide the forces needed to enhance regional security, demonstrate U.S. commitment to the western Pacific and provide our people with integrated training opportunities.

"It's really exciting starting something new and adding greater stability to the air expeditionary forces that will rotate through Andersen," he said.

Prior to the unit's reactivation, the 36th OG conducted operational missions during WWII, where the unit earned its nickname of the Fightin' 36. After the war, the unit transferred to Germany as part of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, where it served until 1994.

During his assumption of command address, Colonel McCarthy set three goals for his new unit -- help America win the war on terrorism; develop and take care of the Airmen assigned to the unit; and assist the Air Force in recapitalizing its aging fleet of aircraft.

"Hopefully in three or four years when we look back at the reactivation of the 36th Operations Group, we'll see that we put in place the procedures, facilities and training to make the reception, beddown and employment of expeditionary forces seamless at Andersen," he said.

The new 36th OG commander placed special emphasis on the Airmen assigned to the reformed unit, stressing their importance to the mission, the base and their loved ones.

"We are all Airmen, all warriors, all expeditionary, and all volunteers," Colonel McCarthy said. "Each of us is important to ourselves, our mission and our families. We must be good wingmen, and watch over one another -- and we must all know how to save our own life."

According to the 36th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Owens, the activation of the 36th OG and assumption of command by Colonel McCarthy demonstrates the success of the expeditionary operations here.

"This activation closes a chapter of bomber history at Guam," he said. "It has been almost three years to the day since the current bomber rotation stood up at Andersen, and the Airmen assigned here have performed their mission well."

General Owens said the stand up of the 36th OG recognizes the hard work and past accomplishments of Air Force units on Guam while also underscoring the importance of the current expeditionary mission.

"The Airmen assigned here over the years have built an outstanding record of success, and I am confident that this activation will once again result in a job well done," he said. "If the leaders and generals of WWII could see the growth and continued importance of Andersen Air Force Base, symbolized by the activation of the 36th OG, they would be proud." 

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