Monday, January 18, 2010

U.S. against Marine move to Kadena

U.S. against Marine move to Kadena

Staff report
Posted : Friday Jan 15, 2010 15:46:04 EST

The idea of moving Marine Corps planes and helicopters to Kadena Air Base, Japan, is not winning support from U.S. leaders.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. wants to follow through with a 2006 agreement with Japan to build a new Marine airfield on north Okinawa. Some Japanese leaders have said Marine Corps aviation squadrons should move to Kadena when Okinawa’s Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is closed.

After meeting with the Japanese, Clinton said they “understand very well our position that we want to see the realignment road map carried through.”

The commander of Pacific Air Forces, Gen. Gary North, told Stars and Stripes newspaper in an interview published Jan. 15 that moving Marine aviation to Kadena would not resolve complaints from Japanese residents about aircraft noise and safety.

Kadena has little, if any, room to spare. The base’s 18th Wing is home to 18,000 service members and dependents, two fighter squadrons, KC-135 and E-3 AWACS airplanes, rescue helicopters and special operations C-130s.

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