Summer Vacation

Andrei Marks · August 8, 2007

From the 2007-08-08 print of The Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A27. An article in the Military Affairs Sections (which of course means America and/or Iraq).

Under the heading “Featured Article”, and written by Xing Tao.

American Soldiers Enjoy “5-Star Vacation Maneuvers”

-The Pentagon rented 5-star hotels to provide rest for the soldiers and officers attending these military exercises, Guam’s tourism industry welcomes the “Week of Gold”

For this set of military exercises, the United States Pacific Command spared no expense at renting out several of Guam’s 5-Star hotels to house officers and soldiers who have come from other bases in the Asia-Pacific region to take part in the exercises.

According to reports, the US military has mobilized about 20,000 soldiers for maneuvers. Aside from several thousand troops from three large aircraft carrier battle groups and members of Hawaii’s Joint Task Force 519 command unit, there were also close to 10,000 logistics-support and ground troops who disembarked in succession to be stationed on Guam. But because the three barracks facilities on Anderson Air Force Base have limited available space, the US Pacific Command simply decided to directly rent several of Guam’s 5-star hotels and let the soldiers “maneuver by day, vacation by night.”

At about six in the morning, it’s possible to see members of the Us Air Force’s F-15C 18th Wing Ground support crewmen leisurely eating breakfast in Tumon’s Reef Hotel. They’ve come from Japan’s Ryukyu Is. Kadena Air Force Base, and are now here in their general camouflage uniforms, each person with a different rucksack, with coffee and sandwiches in hand, and even some reading newspapers. A good number of them are enlisted men, with a few higher ranking non-commissioned officers. Nearly a hundred people pass the time like this as they await the morning muster.

At the morning roll call, the soldiers form a disorganized mass around the officers. There’s no calling out names, no loud shouting; every leading NCO quietly counts heads, making certain that all are accounted for.

During the day the American soldiers are on base for the exercises, and they return to the 5-star hotels in the evening. On the streets of Tumon, the American soldiers are everywhere, shopping and hanging around in their civilian clothes. It is impossible to tell from the atmosphere that Guam is carrying out the largest scale military exercises in the Asia Pacific region.

Because of these US military exercises, Guam’s tourism business is booming. Hotels especially, because this week is also the peak of Japan’s summer vacationing season, and with the “encouragement” of the American troops, nearly every hotel is at full occupancy, and all the taxis are packed with the American military.

Translator’s notes:
- I am not really sure where the “reports” this paper references are from.
- I am not entirely familiar with even American military units and jargon, despite my father having served for 20 years, hopefully the plethora of military oriented articles will cure that.
- Tumon is the center of the tourism industry in Guam, a line of hotels along a beach. Looks very, very nice.
- This article was embedded in a full page spread about the Valiant Shield military exercise currently going on, so don’t imagine that it was the sole focus.
- Finally, I feel like this article was researched from a television report, since most of it seems to describe what a seconds-long clip might look like.

Comments/criticisms welcome.

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