Green Line celebrates 15th Anniversary of service on Okinawa

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Distinguished guests and contractors with the Green Line bus pose for a photo during the Green Line 15th Anniversary Oct. 14, 2016 aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The Green Line is a bus system designed to the day-to-day missions of units across Okinawa by providing free transportation on and between bases and stations. Since its foundation in 2001, the Green Line has traveled more than 10 million miles and carried more than 13 million passengers. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Janessa K. Pon)
Distinguished guests and contractors with the Green Line bus pose for a photo during the Green Line 15th Anniversary Oct. 14, 2016 aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. The Green Line is a bus system designed to the day-to-day missions of units across Okinawa by providing free transportation on and between bases and stations. Since its foundation in 2001, the Green Line has traveled more than 10 million miles and carried more than 13 million passengers. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Janessa K. Pon)

Green Line celebrates 15th Anniversary of service on Okinawa

by: Cpl. Janessa Pon, III Marine Expeditionary Force/Marine Corps Installations Pacific | .
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published: November 14, 2016

Status of Forces Agreement members gathered to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Green Line Bus system Oct. 14 aboard Camp Foster.

The Green Line Bus was founded in 2001 to provide transportation for personnel traveling aboard or between Marine Corps installations.

According to Thomas Ramer, who founded the Green Line after retiring as a Marine sergeant major, the Green Line transports Marines and SOFA personnel for day-to-day missions and has also been used to transport service members returning from deployment.

“The Green Line was designed as a world class bus service for America’s finest and was mandated by Brig. Gen. Timothy Larson when he took command of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler and after spending many tours on Okinawa as a commander,” said Ramer. “It makes missions possible from day-to-day transportation, to large-scale unit movement.”

Since its foundation, the Green Line has traveled approximately 10 million miles and transported approximately 13 million passengers. The bus system services more than 40 bus stops from the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on working days, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

Service members expressed gratitude for the availability of the Green Line across the island due to the difficulty of obtaining a driver’s license in Japan.

“The Green Line has helped me not only get to and from work on Camp Schwab, but has also allowed me to travel to other bases for volunteer and morale events,” said Cpl. Antoine Caldwell, an ammunition technician with 3rd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force and an Indianapolis, Indiana, native. “I travel between Camp Schwab and Camp Foster frequently, and without the Green Line it would cost me approximately $100 in cab fare. Not many people own vehicles on Okinawa, so it is awesome to have transportation that allows service members to get around.”

The celebration began with a cake-cutting ceremony attended by members of Marine Corps Installations Pacific senior leadership, Marines and contractors with garrison mobile equipment.

“The Green line is a unique facility in the Marine Corps,” said Col. David E. Jones, the deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, during the closing speech. “There is no other base or station that has this asset and I’m extremely confident that it will remain so in the capable hands of the (garrison mobile equipment staff.)”

As the ceremony concluded, guests of the celebration gathered for a luncheon and distinguished Green Line employees received awards for their hard work.

“The Green Line was my baby in 2001,” said Ramer. “Now that it’s all grown up, I am able to retire knowing that I have left a lasting, tangible asset, for Marines here on Okinawa. I am confident it will be here for years to come. Fifteen years has come and gone and I am sure we are looking at another 15 years of the Green Line.”

For more information on the Green Line Bus stops, schedule and availability, visit: http://www.mcbbutler.marines.mil/Base-Information/The-Green-Line/