First look at Wake: Less damage than feared

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Members of the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, completed their initial assessment of Wake Island Sept. 11, finding the island's runway intact and operational with fuel tanks secure, but runway lights are missing and there is minor damage to the fuels transfer system.

Pacific Air Forces officials said about 70 percent of buildings on the island, many of which were about 30 years old, were moderately to severely damaged by Super Typhoon Ioke. While there is currently no running water, about 8,000 gallons of water that can be purified were found behind the water plant.

Only three of the 31 transportation and fuels vehicles aren't operational; another nine will need minor maintenance, officials said. The power grid sustained extensive damage to switches and transformers, and power lines to most buildings and backup generators were damaged.

The Andersen team repaired a generator to provide power in billeting facilities for the follow-on assessment team of 53 people from the 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, which flew into Wake Island Sept. 13.

The 20-member Andersen team left Guam Sept. 4 aboard the USNS San Jose and arrived at Wake Sept. 8. The San Jose is an auxiliary fleet support ship with a primary mission of resupplying Navy ships. 

The Hickam AFB team will further assess Wake Island and provide PACAF leaders with information needed to decide its future, officials said.