News: Japanese media, government officials visit new MAG-12 hangars
Story by Lance Cpl. David Walters
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Aircraft Group 12, permanently stationed aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, has begun use of new facilities recently turned over to the U.S. military as part of the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee Agreement dated Jan. 23, 2014.
The new hangars and buildings are part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative which provides strategic guidance and direction for the planning and execution of military construction across the Pacific Region.
The new hangars incorporate improvements reflective of the direction in which the station is evolving.
“These facilities represent a major improvement to the local community. The state-of-the-art facilities include safety features, such as fire protection systems, and environmental features that reduce utility consumption,” said Brian Wottowa, a DPRI representative. “In addition, the new facilities are located approximately one kilometer farther to the east from the old facilities, and because of this, we do expect to experience a noise reduction because the new facilities are farther away from the community.”
Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, recently in from Beaufort, S.C. on a six-month rotation, is the first squadron to occupy the new hangars.
Other features of the new hangars, most intended to help make life easier on the aircraft maintenance Marines and aviators, include canopies installed outside the hangars to increase the lifespan of the aircraft and to help keep Marines out of the elements and fully functional.
The placement of the hangars closer to the runway will both decrease fuel cost, and provide increased safety for pilots by reducing taxing routes by more than half.
In recognition of the assumption of the new facilities, the station provided an opportunity for approximately 25 Japanese media and government officials to observe the new area in use.
Besides visiting the new hangars, the visitors witnessed Marines move mobile working facilities, also known as vans, from their old container yard to their new location, all as part of the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 relocation.
According to Wottowa, MAG and MALS Marines moved more than 20,000 items by themselves as part of the relocation effort, all according to a detailed and carefully orchestrated plan.
Eiji Mito, press officer with General Affairs Department of Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau and participant of the tour, said he was thankful for the opportunity to come aboard the station; he further said that he looks forward to seeing MCAS Iwakuni and the community continue to live together in harmony into the future.