KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA – It was under a pristine summer sky that the ribbon was cut on the first-of-its-kind Patriot Missile Storage Facility in Japan - symbolically marking it open for business, May 19.
The ceremony was carried out by Lt. Col. Rosanna Clemente, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery commander, the unit who will utilize the facility, and Col. Thomas J. Verell, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Japan District commander, who leads the team responsible for its construction and completion.
“The Snake Eyes battalion this year celebrates 15 years on Okinawa,” Clemente beamed. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our unit’s time here than by sharing this opening ceremony with the organizations, companies, agencies, teammates… the people who came together to make this facility a reality.”
“The original document that put this facility here on the map was signed back in 2010,” Clemente noted. “So in 2006 the battalion got here, four years later there was a plan that went into motion to bring this facility into fruition.”
The nearly 1,700 square-foot facility consists of two main buildings able to support separate missile batteries and includes a state-of-the-art cooling and humidity monitoring system. Designed by SSFM International Inc. and contracted by Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd., the building was the first in Japan to use cutting-edge visualization and construction techniques.
“[This] is the first-ever project for the Japan Engineer District to incorporate Virtual Reality technology, providing realistic 3-D pictures allowing stakeholders to ‘walk through’ the facility during design,” touted Verell. “This virtual reality tool facilitated comprehensive real-time collaboration between all partners, ensuring the design met all mission requirements.”
“This remarkable structure represents a historic milestone for unit and emphasizes the strategic importance of our alliance with the Japanese: to protect our friends, allies, and partners, said Clemente. “It is the only one of its kind in the Air Defense community.”
Verell said this was also the first construction project for the Army Corps of Engineers to incorporate Japan Industry Standards – an initiative he is passionate about. This allows the standards and materials of the host country to be utilized during construction, saving time and money. Without this process, not only are construction delays common due to materials having to be shipped country to country, but the differing building standards and components can make maintenance difficult for the stakeholder.
“Our contractor, Nishimatsu, was able to decrease costs and time by leveraging Japanese construction methods and equipment, and using local building materials such as concrete, rebar, conduit, wiring, piping, as well as duct fabrication,” he explained.
Verell called the bi-lateral strategy initiative “revolutionary” and predicts it will have positive ripple effects for years to come.
“JED’s ongoing implementation of the Alliance Approach to engineering and facility construction in Japan… will change construction methods in Japan forever,” he proclaimed. The partnership between JED, the 38th ADA Brigade, 1-1 ADA, the 18th Wing, IMCOM Pacific and Nishimatsu is what made today possible. This team bonded and delivered.”