American Samoa Military Bases
American Samoa is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. The historical capital of Pago Pago is the seat of government at Fagatogo and the office of the Governor is in Utulei. In 1839, a navy ship landed at American Samoa and was the first that any United States contact was made. The need for a coaling station prompted an agreement between American Samoa and the United States Navy for use of the Pago Pago harbor. Although the agreement was never passed in the United States Senate, other nations could not use Pago Pago harbor as a base in the South Pacific. This international location provided a logical station for the United States Navy. The United Sates navy was given authority over the area in 1899, followed by negotiations of deeds with the chiefs of Tutuila. The Swains Islands, a coral atoll was settled by an American in 1856 and his citizenship made it part of the United States, the island was, in 1925 an official part of American Samoa. The United States Navy ruled over the islands until 1951 when Harry Truman, then president of the United States ordered the American Samoa territory be administered by the Department of the Interior.
The economy of the Pacific Islands relies heavily on the United States military installations located there. The United States navy, Air Force, marines and Coast Guard all have troops stationed in nearby Guan. Andersen Air Force Base on the island’s northeastern plateau is a major United States defense base. Together, the air force and navy operate a research, reconnaissance, and forecasting facility called the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
With many naval bases supporting the Pacific fleets, the naval Activities of Guam is the closest military base outside of Andersen naval base to American Samoa territories. The Naval Base in the Guam area has numerous naval stations, some of which were closed in 1995. Activities done at these naval bases include fleet and industrial centers, ship repair facilities, and the engineering command post, Marianas. Various support shops and photographic print shops, a dry cleaning plant and power plants including boilers, pest control operations and medicine laboratories are all included in the base activities.
The military base is an important point of strength for the Western Pacific as it holds many tenant commands servicing as the home of the USS Frank Cable, a submarine. The navy magazine, now the Ordinance Annex is located in the south central section of the island on eight thousand and eight hundred acres. This wildlife refuge helps to provide support to the Pacific fleet.
There are many activities that off duty personnel can choose from to keep their minds and bodies sharp. Outdoor sports and recreational activities are typically enjoyed as the weather in the South pacific island of American Samoa is constant with temperatures ranging from sixty eight degrees Fahrenheit to about ninety degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime hours. Those that take part in this type of activity, however, must be careful. The waves tide and current can sweep enthusiasts over the reefs and cause them to drown. The naval base in American Samoa is highly life guarded on the water at Andersen. Unless there are on duty lifeguards, people are not allowed to swim there. People who want to engage in swimming at this location should always use common sense. If the tide is high, don’t swim, etc. All Navy members have to watch a safety video before they can go into the water. Ensuring the safety of those who used the water is the United States Coast Guard.
The Navy’s physical fitness centers include aerobic equipment, free weights, basketball and racquetball courts and showering rooms. The naval Hospital gym and The Charles King Gym are also available on base. Located on Andersen, the Coral Reef Fitness Center is home to may fitness and sports programs geared at the training and fitness levels of all on base. There are torture runs and strength resistance workout machines to maximize the overall fitness of the Navy men and women who protect American Samoa.
There is also a Navy Historical Exhibit that is a museum focusing on World War II and its impact on the South Pacific Islands. Andersen’s Heritage hall has many historical items of interest as well. Showing off the history and aviation in the West Pacific, pre 1941 and World Ward II, atomic age and the Arc Light periods of aviation with the present technology also included are great learning opportunities for those children of the naval officers on base.
Outside of one conflict with a French ship that arrived in the South pacific island of American Samoa, there have been no major attacks or military events. The French explorers that arrived in 1768 met with opposition and since this time, the American Samoa people were labeled as violent. The London Missionary society traveled to the island and found the people to be gentle and not hostile at all. It was assumed after this that the French must have threatened the people in some way as to invoke such hostility in such a quiet culture.
The military bases that are located in the South pacific are home to over 20,000 officers.