Okinawa Marine Corps Base
OKINAWA MARINE CORPS BASE
The Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan is actually a collection of military installations located across the area. Known as Camp Smedley Butler, it contains nine separate camps. Okinawa is a prefecture located in the southern part of Japan. A prefecture is similar to a U.S. state and this specific prefecture is made up of hundreds of islands. The Marine Corps bases are spread out throughout the prefecture. Camp Smedley Butler was established in 1955 and was named after a Marine of the same name.
Located in the northern part of Okinawa, this base is a 17,500 acre area which contains training areas for helicopters, target sites, a firebase, a beach with water surface access, and more. The terrain of the base is jungle, which allows Marines to be challenged in this type of warfare training. It was established in 1958 and is part of the 3rd Marine Division. The current commander is Lt. Col. Trent Blackson and it was officially named Camp Gonsalves in 1986. The base offers a jungle skills course, a jungle endurance course, and independent operations.
Also known as Man Camp, this installation of the Marine Corps Base is in the northeastern part of Okinawa. The camp was established in 1959 and named after Albert E. Schwab who was killed in the Battle of Okinawa. The main operation of Camp Schwab is to conduct live-fire training. It also coordinates with other units to better defend Japan.
Another Marine base in Okinawa is Camp Hansen. Also in the northern part of Okinawa, it is located near Kin Bay in the town of Kin. It was named after Marine Dale M. Hansen who was given a Medal of Honor for his part in the Battle of Okinawa. The Central Training Area is found at the base. What makes this base stand apart is the fact that it is one of the only locations where weapons are actually allowed to be fired.
Another part of Camp Smedley Butler is Camp McTureous. This base is located in Uruma City in the west portion of the Agena district. It is able to support families of Marines with families housing facilities, an elementary school, and sports facilities. The camp was named after Robert M. McTureous who was a Marine private. He was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for his bravery and sacrificial death during the Battle of Okinawa.
Camp Courtney is also located in Uruma City. This base is home of the headquarters of the 3rd Marine Division as well as the III Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters. It was named after Major Henry A. Courtney who was another Marine killed in the Battle of Okinawa. This base was established in 1956 and now is able to support both members of the military and their families. They have a movie theatre, health clinics, a post office, a chapel, and an exchange.
White Beach, also known as Buckner Bay, is a naval facility that is located on the coast of Okinawa in the southern portion of the island. The Marine Expedition Unit uses this port for loading troops and equipment.
Located in the northwestern portion of Okinawa, Camp Shields has many responsibilities and operations. It contains a barracks, housing for families, as well as entertainment and recreation for military families. It also contains the bases construction equipment repair facility and a resource storage facility.
Camp Foster is located across Ginowan City, Okinawa City, Chatan town, and Kitanakagusuku village. It used to be called Camp Zukeran but was renamed after William A. Foster who was the recipient of the Medal of Honor. It is part of the larger Marin Corps Base Butler and is home to its headquarters. It is also the headquarters of the United State Forces Japan. There are three schools located on base, five housing units, a large Exchange, recreation, and more. The tenant units at Camp Foster are Marine Wing Support Group 17, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, and Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1.
Another installation of the great Camp Smedley D. Butler is Camp Lester. Also known as Camp Kuwae, it is located in Chatan town on the coast of the East China Sea. This base is important because it is home to a large military hospital as well as a school and other recreational and residential facilities. There are ongoing talks, however, to reduce the U.S. military presence in Okinawa and part of how they will do this is through reducing the size of Camp Lester and other Marines bases.
Camp Kinser is located north of the city of Naha in Okinawa. It is the home to the 3rd Marine Logistics Group and has its own chapel, elementary school, child development center, clinics, fitness center, post office, and more.
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