KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa --
Colonel Thomas J. Verell Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan District commander, joined Brig. Gen. William J. Bowers, Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Brig. Gen. Christopher A. McPhillips, Commanding General of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Brig. Gen. Joel L. Carey, Commander of the 18th Wing, and Lt. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy, the commanding general for III Marine Expeditionary Force, during a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 24 introducing the newly-minted facilities and hangers that are now part of the Marine Wing Liaison Kadena. Also attending the ceremony were construction partners from Prime Projects International, and Tokyu Construction.
JED’s completion of three, state of the art projects, in concert with the Landing Helicopter Dock Practice Site Improvement Project Shima -- completed back in October 2019 -- means the 1st Marine Air Wing and Carrier Air Wing Five can fulfill their assigned missions on Okinawa.
“These collective facilities rest not only on beams, poured concrete and solid foundations but on the soldiers, Marines, Airmen, men and women who worked endless hours to bring this nearly $74 million collection of projects to fruition,” said Verell.
The new Aircraft Maintenance Hangar Alterations and Special Access Program Facility provides a weather-protected shelter for the servicing and repair of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft at the organizational level and provides emergency shelter for inoperable aircraft. The addition and improvements the JED team made to the hangar facility support the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter’s mission-specific requirements and necessary flight operations for the Unit Deployment Program
“Today, we sit in a Marine Corps Aircraft Hangar, on an Air Force Base, designed by the Army
Corps of Engineers and built by two fantastic contracting companies,” said Bowers during the ceremony. “This is a prime example of joint cooperation and allied support.”
The Aircraft Maintenance Complex, supports weather-protected maintenance bays for the Marine Corps aircraft maintainers while they are at operating out of Kadena Air Base, and will support maintenance of the UDP aircraft’s aeronautical equipment keeping it in full, mission-capable status
in a secure environment.
The Aircraft Maintenance Shelters and Apron delivers another weather-protected and hardened shelter for the JSF aircraft and flight operations affiliated with the UDP aircraft. This joint–use facility will furnish training and maintenance capabilities in support of the unique flight training mission at Ie Shima. Japan is the only place where this capability has been permanently assigned outside of the United States with facilities at both Kadena Air Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.
In efforts to provide sustainability overseas, JED continues to refine project requirements based on locally available materials and comparable standards instead of specifying U.S.-based labelling or products. This latest array of projects was no exception.
“The Japan Engineer District continues to lead the pack in the use of acceptable Japan Industry Standard alternatives for UFCs in Japan. These identified alternative standards and methods make construction easier and cheaper while maintaining quality to support our partners and their evolving mission as quickly and cost-effectively as possible,” added Verell.
JED also provided solid, alternative materials such as 100 ft. pre-fabricated concrete beams that were leveraged in the Aircraft Maintenance Shelter and Apron. By avoiding on-site fabrication of these beams, the district guaranteed quality while saving time and money on the project.
Verell wrapped up his comments by lauding the JED team’s unwavering commitment to the district and mission in Japan.
“This facility standing before you did not come without its challenges, as our collective team overcame multiple hurdles to get us over the finish line. But that’s what the Corps of Engineers does. Our motto “Building Strong” doesn’t just refer to our structures, but speaks to the ability of our people to triumph and rededicate ourselves time and time again despite any challenge.”
Japan Engineer District is headquartered at Camp Zama and operates field offices throughout Japan. The District executes the Japan Host Nation Funded Construction and U.S. MILCON programs as the Department of Defense design and construction agent. The District supports U.S. Forces and other agencies with quality, professional and comprehensive planning, engineering, construction, environmental and other value-added services.
Photos and video of the ribbon cutting ceremony can be found at: