Report: Possible drone intrusion near Guam's missile defense site

RESTRICTED: Andersen Air Force Base posted this map showing the orange-colored airspace where drones are not authorized for security and safety concerns based on Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Illustration courtesy of Andersen Air Force Base

An incident report filed by security forces at Andersen Air Force Base describes an unauthorized drone intrusion on Northwest Field at Andersen Air Force Base in March 2019.

The incident report, which Andersen released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by The Drive, a publication that reports on military hardware and land vehicles, states the incident was recorded on March 6, 2019.

A security tower that watches over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system on Northwest Field at Andersen spotted the drone. The incident report describes it as a sighting of an "unauthorized unmanned aerial system."

"THAAD Tower No. 2 radioed to report that a bright white light was seen from location hovering over a field and quickly disappeared," according to the incident report. The drone was spotted at 11:15 p.m., and within 3 minutes, base security patrol was in the area, according to the incident report.

"None of the (Jungle Enforcement Team) patrols were able to locate the suspicious white light," the incident report states.

Andersen's JET is made up of airmen who, according to a prior base press release, "prowl in the darkness" and quietly maneuver in a nighttime jungle environment. Keeping out wildlife poachers and identifying trespassers are part of their mission, according to Andersen.

There was no response as of press time to a request for comment which The Guam Daily Post emailed to Andersen's 36th Wing Public Affairs and the military Joint Region Marianas.

Four days after the incident, Andersen posted a notice of the Federal Aviation Administration regulations "pertaining to drone flights over and near Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and the Guam International Airport."

The FAA and the Department of Defense have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these ... facilities," the base announced on March 10, 2019.

"Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges," according to the base.

In February 2020, the base further announced that people who work or live on Andersen should report any drone sighting, including on Northwest Field, by calling the base's Law Enforcement Desk at 366-2910.

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