Guam Guard to assume responsibility for THAAD mission
Gov. Eddie Calvo led other local officials who greeted the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Unit, Task Force Talon at Andersen Air Force Base in this Dec. 20, 2017 file photo, Photo courtesty of the Office of the Governor
The Guam National Guard has received a Department of the Army Activation Order to provide security forces to Task Force Talon on Anderson Air Force Base. Task Force Talon is responsible for operating the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on Guam.
The THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase (descent or reentry) by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
“The men and women of the Guam National Guard have proven themselves to be a professional and capable of executing their missions,” said Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo, who also serves as the Commander-In-Chief of the Guam Guard. “They’ve earned the respect of many fellow military personnel and high regard from leaders - both national and international. I have no doubt that they will focus on this new mission to protect our island and nation with the same level of thoughtfulness and fierce efficiency.”
The soldiers will be on an active duty status, while serving on the mission on Guam, resulting in a positive economic impact for their families and the island.
“Receiving the mission,” according to Maj. Gen. Roderick R. Leon Guerrero, The Adjutant General for the Guam National Guard, “was a result of the collective efforts of The Governor of Guam, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Our Congressional Delegate and the Guam Chamber of Commerce.”
“Having the Guam National Guard performing the mission will save the Department of Defense millions of dollars by aligning active duty components to be assigned other missions and provide an opportunity for our Guard Soldiers to play an active role in the defense of our homeland,” said Leon Guerrero.
The Guam National Guard’s mission will be to provide security forces (SECFOR) to protect the THAAD system stationed on Anderson Air Force Base.
“It’s is a great mission for the Guam National Guard and they will do a superb job,” said General Robert Brown, commander of the U.S. Army Pacific Command.
Upon receiving the decision, Congresswoman Madeline Z. Bordallo, Guam Delegate to Congress, said, "I am pleased that the Guam National Guard has been tasked to carry out the security force mission for Guam’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. I fought to secure this mission for the Guam National Guard and raised the issue directly with Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, and National Guard Chief, General Joseph Lengyel."
"The THAAD security force mission is perfect extension of the Guam National Guard’s duty to defend Guam and the homeland, and this assignment is a testament to the Guard’s professionalism and readiness. I thank Major General Roderick Leon Guerrero for his constant support for these efforts and for his leadership in ensuring that the Guam National Guard remains the best in the nation."
From a strategic perspective, the THAAD is critical to the protection of Guam’s residents and U.S. military bases on Guam from any threats in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The Guam Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Guam National Guard on the designation of this new mission, which is a reaffirmation of the confidence the Department of Defense has in our Guard,” said Catherine Castro, Chamber President. “It speaks to the high level of leadership, competence and capability in the Guard's past performance in carrying out the mission during deployment, as well as the quality and expertise of our people who serve. We are all proud of the skills our Guard has in carrying out very serious responsibilities and will continue to support their efforts in protecting our island and our nation.”
The Guam National Guard will assume responsibility for the mission in early 2019.