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Marine Corps Air Station Futenma

United States Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is located right in the middle of a city and surrounded by family homes and schools. It is said to be the most dangerous base in the world. Located in the midst of Futenma city, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is said to symbolize Okinawa's base-related issues such as the dangers of aircraft noise pollution and crashes. The MCAS Futenma covers about 480 hectares and includes a 2,800-meter-long and 46-meter-wide runway. It occupies a fourth of the total area of Ginowan City, and it is right in the center of the city. Roads, waterworks and sewerage systems have to make a detour to avoid the air station. It is a major obstacle to improving the city's infrastructure.

In addition, to avoid inconvenience to US aircraft approaching to the air station, the height of buildings is restricted near the base, and thus redevelopment, which Ginowan City wants to undertake, cannot be carried out. The base has many support facilities including hangars, communication facilities, maintenance/repair facilities, parts warehouses, offices, a fire station, PX, clubs, bars, health clinics, and MWR facilities. It is well equipped with such facilities as hangars, a communication facility, maintenance and repair facilities, storage facilities, a fire station, and leisure/recreational facilities for US personnel.

MCAS Futenma's primary mission is to maintain and operate facilities and provide services and materials to support Marine aircraft operations. MCAS Futenma covers 1,188 acres of land and is completely surrounded by the urbanized growth of Ginowan City. The land at MCAS Futenma is leased from about 2,000 private landowners by the government of Japan. About 40 percent of the base is used for runways, taxiways, and aircraft parking. The remaining portions of the base are used for air operations, personnel support facilities, housing, and administrative activities. MCAS Futenma has a runway and parallel taxiway that are 9,000 feet long as well as an aircraft washrack, maintenance facilities, vehicle maintenance facilities, fuel storage facilities, a hazardous waste storage and transfer facility, a control tower, an armory, and other facilities needed to operate a Marine Corps air station.

Marine Corps Air Station Futenma began in 1945 as a bomber base. After World War II, the airfield was constructed after land, on which the village municipal office, post office, elementary school and other such community institutions stood, was forcibly expropriated by the U.S. Military when residents were in internment camps. People had their houses and land taken from them and made to live along the fringes of the base. This is how the most dangerous base in the world came to be built in the center of a city and is now surrounded by family homes and schools. The people of Okinawa have never offered any of their land to construct a U.S. Military base in Okinawa, including MCAS Futenma.

Construction of hangars and barracks began in 1958. The airfield was commissioned as a Marine Corps Air Facility in 1960 and became an Air Station in 1976. Located within Ginowan City, Okinawa, the Air Station was home to approximately 4,000 Marines and Sailors as of the early 2000s. It was capable of supporting most aircraft and served as the base for Marine Aircraft Group 36 and Marine Air Control Group 18. It was previously the home to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, before that unit relocated its administrative headquarters to Camp Foster. The Air Station also provided support for the III Marine Expeditionary Force and for Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. Also, after 15 January 1969, MCAS Futenma served as a United Nations air facility and a divert base for Air Force and Naval aircraft operating in the vicinity of Okinawa.




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