Just 3,500 kilometres from North Korea, on the northern end of Guam, sits one of the US military's most important strategic outposts.
The men and women who serve at the Andersen Air Force Base live by the motto "ready to fight tonight", and are in a constant state of readiness to respond militarily in the Pacific.
"Andersen is particularly important as a forward deployment location for US bombers," the Lowy Institute's Euan Graham says.
"Those bombers include the B52, B1B and also the B2 Spirit, which is still the only true stealth bomber in the US inventory.
"And they have the range from there to reach Korea and other parts of the western Pacific, so it's very significant."
A week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to fire missiles at the US territory in the Pacific, the ABC was invited to observe operations at Andersen.
In recent months, B1 bombers have been taking off from Andersen for missions over the Korean Peninsula.
"The US has been doing those B1 flights on a regular basis, particularly in response to the new North Korean missile tests, partly as a way of reassuring South Korea which wants to know the US is there and has got its back," Dr Graham says.
The B1 Lancers were originally designed to carry nuclear weapons, but later switched to conventional payloads and are considered the backbone of the US Air Force bomber command.
If President Donald Trump eventually carries out his warning to deliver "fire and fury" to North Korea, the B1 bombers stationed at Andersen are likely to lead the US assault.
However, Dr Graham says the flights have been a point of contention between North Korea and the US, and were singled out by North Korea in its original threat to fire missiles into the sea off Guam.
"I think what North Korea is trying to do is use this new missile capability and the threat they've made to hit Guam as a way of forcing the US to actually dial down the level of of its military activity."
According to Dr Graham, there has not been a single flight of a B-1B bomber out of Guam to South Korea since August 7, and if the US is willing to pause those flights, that may be one of the things that brings down tensions.
He says there is currently a war of words — a phoney war — going on, and this is an opportunity for both sides to negotiate.
"But it's hard to see how North Korea would actually bend on its bottom line of maintaining a nuclear missile deterrent.
"And equally from the US perspective, they haven't budged on their bottom line for North Korea to signal a willingness to denuclearise.
"So I think we have a tactical pause and no more."