In the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the uprising in Iran, and increased Chinese aggression, the United States Marine Corps officially opened a new base—the first one in 70 years. Formally known as Camp Blaz, located in Guam, it is meant to serve as “a strategic hub as the Department of Defense realizes the vision of the 2022 National Defense Strategy,” according to a Marine Corps press release.
On January 26, the Marines took part in a ceremony to celebrate and commission the new base in Asan Beach. The base is a 4,000-acre installation and is expected to host 5,000 Marines. Camp Blaz is yet to be fully completed, but it will join another crucial US Military installation, Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam. The construction of the base, which was originally commissioned in 2020, was paid for in part by Japan as part of a deal between President Barack Obama and the Japanese government to relocate Marines from their previous location on the southern island of Okinawa.
The base will be a vital centerpiece for US military activity in the Pacific region. It demonstrates the Pentagon’s current attitude surrounding the ever-increasing intensity around the region where several American allies and China loom, especially on the foot heels of the sighting and eventual compromising of a Chinese espionage balloon over parts of the continental United States. Camp Blaz is named after Brig. Gen. Vicente “Ben” Tomas Garrido Blaz, the first indigenous Marine from the Mariana Islands to make his way to the rank of a general officer. Blaz was also a survivor of World War II and the Imperial Japanese invasion and occupation of Guam. Following his decorated career in the US military as a Marine, Blaz served as the delegate to the House of Representatives on the behalf of Guam.