Permanent change of station assignments to Air Force and Navy bases on Guam have been temporarily paused at least through the end of this month as the Pacific island territory recovers from a historic typhoon that hit late last month.
Military families and other island residents were still without power this week after Typhoon Mawar, a massive Category 4 storm, hit the U.S. territory. It caused widespread damage and power outages that sparked clean-up efforts at Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz.
A Navy administrative message sent out just after the storm on May 23 said "due to damage as a result of Typhoon Mawar, a stop movement for all permanent change of station (PCS) moves to Guam for Navy uniformed members, civilians, and their dependents is in effect until 30 June 2023."
The order does not apply to sailors on temporary additional duty orders, but those scheduled to report there "over the next 30 days are advised to contact their chain of command to determine whether they should execute their TAD orders as scheduled," the administrative message continued.
Maj. Christopher Merian, a spokesperson for Pacific Air Forces, confirmed to Military.com in a phone interview Thursday that PCS moves to Andersen Air Force Base have also been temporarily halted due to the ongoing situation with the typhoon, but those who are already en route to the base should continue their move and keep the chain of command in the loop on their situation.
The stop on inbound PCS moves was put into place May 25, "in order to ensure incoming service members and their families have adequate resources available to them when it comes time for them to PCS," an Air Force official told Military.com.
"The stop movement also gives 36th Wing leadership time to evaluate the damage done to our resources while also making sure we're prepared to take care of the families that are due to PCS to Andersen," the official added.
The tentative stop date is 60 days from May 25, but it could fluctuate, the Air Force official said. Representatives from the Army and the Marine Corps did not immediately respond to Military.com questions asking whether they had stopped PCS moves to Guam as well.
Mawar was the strongest typhoon to engulf the island since Pongsona in 2002. It brought an estimated two feet of rain in certain parts of the island, Al Jazeera reported, though no fatalities were immediately reported following the storm. More than 51,000 households and customers were reportedly left without electricity in the immediate aftermath.
The Guam Power Authority, the electricity provider on the island, said in a June 8 press release that more than 50% of its customers are still waiting for power to be restored.
Guam is home to 21,700 service members and dependents, the Pacific Island Times -- which cited the 2020 census -- reported, accounting for 14% of the island's population.
Military relief societies are also offering financial support to those who may be affected by the typhoon.
The Air Force Aid Society said on Facebook that it has provided $775,000 in grants to "help those impacted by this devastating natural disaster."
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society said on social media the group "has assisted over 2,000 sea service members and their families with over $1.1 million due to Typhoon Mawar."
-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.