Story submitted by Amanda D.
When the words, “We’re moving to Guam” came from my fiancé’s mouth, I immediately pulled out my phone and searched it on Google Maps. Saying that Guam is far away is an understatement – 8,084 miles away, to be exact. The phone call came when we were standing in Diamonds Direct in Charleston, shopping for our wedding bands. And just like that, a few weeks after our wedding I was on a flight to Guam to begin my new life as a submarine spouse in a duty station half a world away. And it has been the experience of a lifetime.
Just like any duty station, there have been many obstacles to overcome, but the community in Guam (both military and local) is unlike any other. Although I was very anxious to move here, I am so grateful for this experience on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.
Naval Base Guam is located on the southern end of the island in the village of Santa Rita. NBG is home to four attack submarines and two sub tenders. The mission of Naval Base Guam is to support the US Pacific Fleet and other operating forces that are based at, serviced by or supplied through Guam. The US Military installations here remain among the most strategically vital in the Pacific Ocean.
- Housing & Lodging
- Fleet & Family Readiness
- NBG MWR
- U.S. Naval Hospital Guam
- Veterinary Services
- NBG NEX
- Charles King Fitness Center & Pool
- Navy Marine Corps Relief Society
- Submarine Spouses of Guam Facebook Page
- The entire population of Guam is around 169,000.
- Guam is a total of 212 square miles. 30 miles long and 12 miles wide at its longest points.
- It is made up of 19 different villages with Hagåtña being the capital.
- Guam is located approximately 3,300 miles West of Hawaii, and 1,500 miles east of the Philippines and 1,500 miles south of Japan.
- Guam was colonized by Spain in 1668. On June 21, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Guam was captured by the US.
- On December 8th, 1941 (one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor) Guam was captured by Japan. For two and half years the local Guamanians were subjected to rape, beheadings, torture, forced labor and more. Japan occupied Guam until July 21, 1944 when America re-claimed the territory.
- To this day, July 21st is considered Liberation Day and is celebrated with a parade, carnival, fireworks and other festivities by the local community to show appreciation to America for liberating them.
- The history that this island has preserved from WWI & WWII is wonderful to see. There are many shipwrecks, national parks and historical sites where you can see and feel the history from these eras.
Things To Do
- The hiking in Guam is breathtaking. Mountain tops, waterfalls, rope climbs, abandoned tankers, tide pools, cliff sides; it has it all. Military Wild, founded in Guam in 2019, is a great place to start when getting to know the hikes offered here or in any other city with a MW chapter. A lifetime membership costs $25 and gives you access to MW hikes in any location that has a chapter. After joining, I quickly checked off many of the hikes on my Guam Bucket List while also meeting tons of new friends.
- Guam Boonie Stompers is another great resource for hiking in Guam. These hikes are led by locals and happen every Saturday morning as well as the occasional “Moonie” Stomps that occur on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday evenings. You meet in the Center Court of Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. The cost is $5.00 for hikers over 18 and free for anyone 17 & under, but they must be accompanied by an adult.
- There are many wreckage sights, reefs and sea life to see here, snorkeling and scuba diving is like no other. And the scuba classes are reasonably priced compared to other locations. I was certified through MDA Guam. Their headquarters are in Piti but they also have a dive shop located on NBG. The classes start at $219 (excluding any gear you need to purchase). If you are interested in scuba diving, I highly suggest looking into it early into your stay in Guam. Take advantage of the beautiful oceans that surround us here for as long as you can.
- Chamorro Village, located in the heart of Hagåtña, is a great place to visit. They are open every day of the week but it is best known for its Wednesday Night Market. Local food, produce and craft vendors set up each week along with caraboa rides and the occasional coconut crab that you can have your picture taken with. Music plays throughout while you can eat and shop and enjoy the local culture.
- Thursday Night Food Truck Rodeo, a weekly gathering of local food trucks at Skinner Plaza, illuminating the sidewalk with lamps and festive lights.
- Explore the UnderWater World Aquarium (one of the longest tunnel aquariums in the world!),Fish Eye Marine Park, or the Ritidian Cave Tour.
- Spend the day at one of Guam’s many beaches, for a full list click here.
- Hop on the ferry to Cocos Island for the day.Attend one of many festivals! All 19 villages host a variety of “fiestas” throughout the year.
- And so much more! Stay tuned for more articles.
Eat + Drink
I have been pleasantly surprised with the restaurants here on Guam. But you can’t judge a book by its cover here; or a restaurant by its exterior. Many places may look outdated and a little grungy, but you’d be pleasantly surprised with the delicious food that comes from their kitchen. These are a few of my favorites:
Caliente is a small Mexican restaurant in Hagåtña. My husband is from San Diego, CA and he claims that this is one of the best California burritos outside of the SD area. Whenever he is home (which is rare) he always wants to have a date night at Caliente, and I don’t oppose.
The first time I dined at Kitchen Lingo, I felt like I had stepped into a restaurant that could be on King Street in Charleston, SC, or in the heart of any other foodie town. The décor is beautiful and eclectic and the food is outstanding. By far the best brussels sprouts I have EVER had. And I am self-proclaimed brussels sprouts connoisseur. The cocktails deliver as well. Beautiful presentation with great flavor. The perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion, or for a random Tuesday dinner. You can’t go wrong.
Stax quite possibly has the best burger I have ever had, and I have thought long and hard about this statement. This is a small establishment in size, but not in flavor. And they have waffle fries. It’s my small tie to Chick-fil-a here on the island. When I think about the things I will miss about Guam when we PCS, Stax is on the list.
Tommy’s Pizza provides delicious New York Style pizza in the middle of the Pacific. Best pizza on the island. And Pop’s Bakeshop is known island-wide for their cream cheese rolls. The best part is that they are located right near NBG.
Breweries + Bars
If you’re a part of the submarine community then you or your sailor has probably heard of Horse and Cow Pub & Grill. They have a location in Bremerton and Guam. It is on the MUST visit list, but not necessarily for the food, which is your typical pub fare. It is decorated with hundreds of US Submarine banners signed by their crew. Be sure to get a shot of Nukewaste while you’re there.
- A few other popular breweries and bars include: Carabao Brewing
- The Guam Brewery and Tap House
- Old Traditions
- Mins Bar (popular karaoke bar)
- Porky’s Bar (largely a military bar with live music 5 days a week)
- The Beach Bar (beachfront bar)
- Jimmy Dee’s Beach Bar (beachfront bar)
There are too many restaurants and bars to name, so stay tuned for a full, comprehensive list!
Have you been stationed in Guam? Comment below and share your favorite places! We’d love to hear them.