US military proceed with vehicle air-drop training at Ie airfield despite calls to stop


May 23, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


U.S. marines in Okinawa conducted training to drop vehicles and soldiers from an airplane at Ie airfield on Ie Island, Okinawa, on May 22.

According to Ie village, the dropped vehicles and soldiers landed on the airfield, and no damage has been reported on public land.

The village received a notification about the training from the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) on May 17, to which the village government responded on May 18 with a request to cancel the training.

The U.S. military conducted the training despite the calls to cancel.

According to government officials, the vehicle drop training has not been done for ten years.


The village and the ODB confirm that the drop training was conducted between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

It was observed that one vehicle and nine soldiers dropped onto Ie Airfield over three times from an airplane which is thought to be a C-130.


Ie village mayor, Hideyuki Shimabukuro, stressed in an interview with Ryukyu Shimpo, “Basically, our thinking is that we would like them to avoid conducting drop training involving heavy material.”


The Okinawan prefectural government was notified about the training plan by the ODB. The prefecture demanded the ODB, “Work with the U.S. military to ensure the safety of the local residents, so that they suffer no fear or damage.”


According to analysis by Wataro Rai, an editor at the civil group called Rimpeace, which reports the activities of the U.S. military in Japan, the vehicle dropped from the aircraft was likely an MRZR, which is designed to drive on wasteland.

He further comments, “The training could be intended to imagine missions in dessert locations such as the Middle East. It is highly possible that the vehicle was retrieved by Osprey.”

According to Rai, MRZRs were deployed in Okinawa in 2017 and used in Camp Schwab as well as training centers in other prefectures.


In October of 2002, there was an accident in which three containers containing five-gallons of water, a total of sixty kilograms, dropped on a field outside of the training area.


There was also an accident in April of 2014 when four metallic barrels totaling 800 kilograms dropped from a U.S. military aircraft, landing outside of the fence of the training area.

Although the barrels landed inside military-controlled territory, the accident happened during the night and took place 90 meters away from a public road.


(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)


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