Carriere woman’s granddaughter is stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

Published 6:25 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Most people are drawn to this tiny Pacific island for the warm weather, pristine coral reefs and lush tropical flora. Japanese honeymooners flock here and this U.S. territory is closer to Japan, the Philippines and Australia than to its closest American neighbor Hawaii. Because of its location in the western Pacific and west of the international dateline, it’s the first place on American soil to see the sun rise each morning.

But for the granddaughter of a Carriere woman, this tropical paradise is the backdrop to what is shaping up to be one of the most strategic and important staging areas for the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific region.

Tech. Sgt. Tiffany L. Perone, granddaughter of Myra Dawsey of Old Highway 11, Carriere, is helping transform this sleepy outpost into one of national importance for U.S. military strategy in the 21st Century.

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Perone is a unit training manager with the 36th Communication Squadron.

“I ensure that everyone is up to date on their mobility training and that all airmen receive quality on the job training in their respective career fields in a timely manner,” said Perone, who graduated in 1999 from Pearl River Central High School, Carriere, and received an associate degree in 2006 from the Community College of the Air Force.

Andersen is no stranger to strategic importance, though. The base was created as a staging area and airstrip in 1944 to allow B-29 bombers to attack mainland Japan during the latter part of World War II. The base has grown tremendously in importance since then, mushrooming to over 15,000 airmen with constant B-52 missions over North Vietnam during the early ‘70’s. Since Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the early ‘90’s, Andersen has become a deployment mecca for B-52, B-1 and B-2 bomber units focusing on a new mission — the global war on terror.

“The more individuals that come in, the more information I have to keep track of. I enjoy making sure that everyone who has to deploy is well prepared. The more work that I have, the faster the day goes by,” she said.

Off duty, Perone and fellow airmen are privy to a literal paradise. On a tropical island 30 miles long and nine miles wide, airmen can find white sandy beaches ringed by pristine coral reefs, crystal-clear water teeming with exotic marine life, a balmy tropical climate and gentle trade winds. Add a slew of restaurants, resorts and shopping areas and it’s easy to see why Guam has become the Air Force’s best kept secret.

“Life in Guam is very relaxing. Since the weather is perfect all year round, we spend a lot of time outdoors either at the beach and the pool. When we are not enjoying Mother Nature, you can find us at church,” Perone said. “I also use my off duty time for studying because I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree in history through the University of Maryland’s military extension program.”