New Marine Wing Liaison Kadena signifies joint effort, interoperability

U.S. military leaders and Tokyu Construction Company representatives pose for a photo during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 24, 2020. The ceremony celebrated the grand opening of a hangar operated by Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK). MWLK provides comprehensive operational and logistical support to local and deployed U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy squadrons operating at Kadena Air Base. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Christopher A. Madero)
U.S. military leaders and Tokyu Construction Company representatives pose for a photo during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 24, 2020. The ceremony celebrated the grand opening of a hangar operated by Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK). MWLK provides comprehensive operational and logistical support to local and deployed U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy squadrons operating at Kadena Air Base. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Christopher A. Madero)

New Marine Wing Liaison Kadena signifies joint effort, interoperability

by 1st Lt. Timothy Hayes
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA, Japan – Joint military leaders in Okinawa gathered Nov. 24 on Kadena Air Base to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony introducing the newest facilities and hangars to be part of the Marine Wing Liaison Kadena.

This event brought together representatives from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army Corps of Engineers to speak on the importance of the joint liaison office and to participate in the ribbon cutting which highlight major upgrades and advancements of the MWLK. The MWLK was established to provide comprehensive operational and logistical support to local and Marine Corps and Navy squadrons operating out of KAB.
Guest speakers included Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William J. Bowers, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Chris A. McPhillips, commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Air Force Brig. Gen. Joel L. Carey, commanding general of the 18th Wing, and Army Col. Thomas J. Verell Jr., commander of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Japan District.

“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,” stated Bowers at the start of the ceremony. “This is a prime example of Joint cooperation and allied support.”

Having a permanent Marine Corps presence on KAB provides an enduring and mutually beneficial relationship that exists to ensure joint support in the Pacific.

“I look to the continued promise and the joint partnership with our Marine partners as well as our allies on island as we continue to push forward our capabilities and provide for the future here on Okinawa and in the region,” said Carey.

The mission of the MWLK is to coordinate all aviation related activities for 1st MAW, 18th Wing and 7th Fleet fixed and rotary wing squadrons. The MWLK is comprised of seven major sections to assist in this mission and will include customs and immigrations, ordnance, logistics, motor transport, and aircraft refueling operations.

The MWLK also provides an increase in theater combat readiness with direct access to training opportunities with the Air Force, Navy, Army, and Special Operations Forces while simultaneously providing access to the best local air-to-air and air-to-ground ranges within the Okinawa range complex.

“These buildings are long awaited and critical to 1st MAW’s ability to train and sustain our readiness so that when we are called we can safely and rapidly execute our missions in the defense of Japan and respond to contingencies in the region,” said Phillips.

In support of the Marine Corps Aviation Plan, and in a coordinated planning effort with the Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers, the Marine Corps allocated more than $110 million in military construction and future aviation operations on KAB and Okinawa aimed at the current introduction of the F-35B Lightning II into the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater.

These construction efforts were led by the Army Corps of Engineers’ team in Okinawa. The team facilitated the construction of a new aircraft maintenance complex, hangar, maintenance shelters and apron. The newly minted facilities provide a weather-protected, hardened shelter for the aircraft of 1st MAW, or joint units, to perform flight operations from while 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.

Upon conclusion of their remarks, the joint leaders gathered to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Standing side-by-side, each with a pair of scissors in hand, they cut through the ribbon marking a new era of joint operations in Okinawa.

After the ceremony, the joint leaders toured the MWLK facility as they were briefed by the MWLK officer in charge, Marine Corps Maj. Andrew M. Casci. They were able to get a firsthand look of the world-class facilities and state-of-the-art computer infrastructure that will play a crucial role in future operations.

“We have support equipment which also houses all the stuff for tactical air missions to support those aircraft as they come through here,” explained Casci.

The tour ended with the representatives from each service thanking each other for their support toward making this joint-liaison office a reality and their efforts made in the upgrades and advancements of the MWLK.

“These facilities are a stellar example of the immediate operational impact infrastructure investments have in the Western Pacific. These investments expand the capabilities of forward deployed, forward engaged forces enabling them to fight and compete here and now for a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific,” said Bowers.

For more information regarding the Marine Wing Liaison Kadena, please visit their official website at www.1stmaw.marines.mil/Subordinate-Units/Marine-Wing-Liaison-Kadena.

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