Saturday, May 13, 2006


Here is a press conference on the planned Marine Corps relocation to Guam from Okinawa.

Eight thousand will move. I think this is most of the Marine Corps on Okinawa (10,000 I think).

At one time we had about 19,000 there and that included two regimental combat teams.

What I don't know is if the deployment means we will have one RCT on Guam and one on Okinawa when the Iraq War Marine deployments end in the relatively near future. I emailed the contact person on the conference letterhead on April 26th to ask if this was basically a regimental combat team or was the MEF HQ and air elements going too? I really wanted to know just what was going to be left on Okinawa.

No response at all. So why have a contact email if they don't even bother to answer? Way to go military public affairs!

So after leaving this post in draft limbo, I read via Real Clear Politics this article, which discusses upgrades to Guam and states:

Reconstruction of runways from which bombing runs were flown over Vietnam 35 years ago has started. A new hanger has been built and more are on the drawing board; they will be typhoon-proof so that aircraft need not be flown out to escape the storms to which Guam is prone.

Housing for air and base crews and support facilities must be built. Altogether, says General Paul Hester, who commands the Pacific Air Forces from its headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, executing Air Force plans alone will cost "well over $2-billion."

The Marine Corps, under a new U.S.-Japan agreement, will move 8000 Marines including the III Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters and a brigade of combat troops from Okinawa to Guam. The Navy has based three attack submarines at Guam and is planning to send two more but the repair and maintenance facilities must be refurbished.

To support this military buildup, Guam's electrical grid, its roads, and water and sewage systems need to be refurbished after years of neglect. Schools must be expanded. The bill for these plans will probably come close to $10 billion over ten years.

This is pretty major. Aircraft. Submarines. A MEF headquarters and one of its regiments.

My guess is that littoral combat ships will eventually deploy to Guam, too.

With deployments to Iraq, the two Marine regiments on Okinawa were trimmed to one. And now that is leaving for Guam.

In South Korea, two brigades of the 2nd ID have been reduced to one brigade pulled to the south of the country. With South Korea shaky as an ally, do we really want one of our two western Pacific brigades trapped in a country that may not grant permission for us to deploy the unit to a war from their territory? I wonder if our last Army brigade in South Korea will eventually make it to Guam, too. Or will a Marine regiment return to Okinawa after American combat units are drawn down in Iraq?

Well placed to support operations in the western Pacific and American territory, too. Guam is worth every penny.