With more than half of the 1,633 acres that is Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan under construction right now, many community members feel like the entire installation is one huge construction site.
To see the massive construction underway first-hand, Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited the installation on Dec. 15.
“This was a great opportunity for Maj. Gen. Yenter to meet the people on the ground that are working hard to provide these outstanding facilities in support of the military community on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni,” said Col. John Hurley, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan District commander.
According to Lee Seeba, Japan District Iwakuni program director and resident engineer, the Iwakuni Resident Office currently manages projects on 77 percent of the base.
“We are virtually doubling the air station’s occupancy with 199 projects, $2.5 billion worth of facilities and more than 1,300 new structures from 2010 to 2017,” Seeba said. “We are currently about 70 percent complete.”
Yenter’s focus during his visit was on the progress of the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI).
The DPRI redefines roles, missions and capabilities of alliance forces and outlines key realignment and transformation initiatives, including enhancing interoperability and communication between the two countries’ respective commands. Thus, broadening cooperation in the area of ballistic missile defense, and reducing the number of U.S. troops stationed in Okinawa, according to the U.S. Department of State’s website.
“There is a massive amount of work underway on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni as part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative, so every time I visit the base I am amazed at the amount of progress and ongoing construction, Hurley said. “The Government of Japan and the Corps are literally building a small town from the ground up to include everything from operational, training, and educational facilities to housing and community support facilities which will enhance the quality of life for service members, civilians and their families stationed here.”
Yenter visited many active job sites including Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 facilities, the commercial airport, control tower, and the new commissary and command assembly facility.
“It was a privilege to have the Deputy Commander of USACE take the time to see our work and I was proud to show him the accomplishments we have made,” Seeba said. “The USACE Iwakuni Resident Office has, and is, performing at an outstanding level and is producing an enormous amount of high quality of facilities for Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.”
According to Seeba, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni currently has about 8,000 people on base.
“Providing world class facilities, like these at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and other military installations throughout Japan, not only supports the military community here, but also helps to build stability in the Asia Pacific region and strengthen the alliance between the U.S. and Japan,” Hurley said.