Aerial refuelling aircraft to train in Okinawa after redeployment to Iwakuni

26 June, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

The United States Marine Corps in Okinawa will move 15 KC-130 aerial refuelling tankers to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture from Futenma Air Station. The U.S. military stated that they would continue to carry out training exercises of the aircraft in Okinawa even after the redeployment. Prime

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained at a meeting with the Okinawa prefectural government and Ginowan City government on June 24 the redeployment is part of the the plan to reduce the burden of military bases on Okinawa. However, he did not refer to the continuing training exercises.

The Marine Corps announced the first batch of the two aircraft would leave for Iwakuni on July 8. They explained, “Iwakuni will become the base for the squadrons to be moved from Okinawa, but the aircraft will continue to fly to the prefecture regularly.” The Marine Corps stated, “By using Futenma Air Station, Ie Island, and Kadena Air Base, the training airspace surrounding Okinawa, we will support operations, practice, and training.”

As for the reason behind continuing training on Okinawa, they stressed that they had an operational necessity as well as a duty to link with the ground forces on Okinawa. They suggested that it was absolutely imperative for the pilots and crew to carry out their training on the islands.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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