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AFIMSC leads Andersen rebuild in Typhoon Mawar aftermath

  • Published
  • By Emily Mifsud and Sarah McNair
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

Just four months after Typhoon Mawar pounded Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, May 24, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center response has moved from recovery to rebuild mode.  

In the days immediately following Mawar’s landfall, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center dispatched its Civil Engineer Maintenance Inspection and Repair team and its Natural Disaster Recovery Division’s Disaster Response Recovery Team to determine the scope of the damage and help define the requirements for reconstruction. CEMIRT also assisted Andersen’s 36th Wing civil engineers with repairing critical electrical power generation and heating ventilation and air conditioning across the installation.

“As soon as our boots hit the ground, our goal was to get the wells operational,” said Richard Pugh, CEMIRT’s power production technician. “The base had less than one day’s worth of drinking water, so it was a high priority for the wing commander to supply clean water to Airmen and their families.” 

In summing up the Mawar response at a recent commander’s call, AFIMSC Commander Maj. Gen. John Allen said the center’s team brought its extensive expertise across all installation and mission support capability areas to bear in the aftermath of the storm. 

“Sometimes the devastation from natural disasters is so severe that it’s not possible for an installation to recover on its own,” he said. “The strong winds from Mawar left the base with power outages, debris and limited safe drinking water, so we deployed response teams to assess the damage and help stabilize the base.”

“These damage assessments provided timely recovery cost estimates to Air Force leadership so they could make informed decisions when advocating for funding,” said Wayland Patterson, NDR’s Response Operations branch chief and DRRT team lead. “AFIMSC’s Resources Directorate procured the funding needed to meet the installation’s most critical needs.” 

The directorate’s senior cost engineers and contracting experts helped execute funding under the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program to meet urgent mission requirements. AFCAP is a contingency contract tool managed by AFIMSC that allows the Air Force to leverage capabilities from the private sector to augment civil engineer and services capabilities.

The team helped the installation evaluate more than 1,300 Air Force facilities and infrastructure on Andersen. Although most of the building surfaces looked to be intact, further inspection determined nearly 500 were damaged and more than 100 were in need significant repair. Even Andersen’s newer construction was not immune to the powerful storm, which blew hangar doors off their tracks, damaged aircraft maintenance equipment, and hit external HVAC and generator units with flying debris.

The current estimate to reconstruct Andersen AFB is more than $4 billion, an amount comparable to the five-to-seven yearlong rebuild the NDR is currently managing for Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.  

“Knowing that the depth of construction required would overwhelm normal installation resources, AFIMSC stood up a Program Management Office to tackle the massive effort,” said Col. Mike Staples, AFIMSC Detachment 2 commander. 

AFIMSC’s Detachment 2 is located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and provides dedicated installation and mission support to Pacific Air Forces. The detachment is leading Andersen’s PMO, which is responsible for integrating planning efforts, including an overhaul of Andersen’s Installation Development Plan, operational energy assessment and Indo-Pacific Command defense infrastructure assessment.

“Some of these efforts will conclude in the coming months and the preliminary cost estimate will be updated as necessary,” Staples said. “We envision the future base as resilient, resistant and easily recoverable from threats, whether natural or manmade.”

Staples said the Andersen PMO also creates a bridge to all AFIMSC resources needed for the installation rebuild and provides a local conduit for the 36th Wing commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas, Guam and Pacific Air Forces. 

“After the Air Force’s experience with Tyndall, we knew AFIMSC needed to be prepared and ready to respond when our installations suffer a catastrophic natural disaster,” Allen said. “While we were better prepared for Guam, we are focusing on how we can continue to increase our ability and bring a standing task force headquarters capability to the next place we have a challenge like this.”