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American Service Members Secure Bases on Okinawa

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity


WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014 — American personnel on the Japanese island of Okinawa are battening down the hatches and securing airfields and facilities ahead of Super Typhoon Neoguri.

Japanese forecasters say the storm already has winds over 150 mph, and it is bearing down on the Ryukyu Islands, home to about 30,000 American service members and their families.

Forecasters say the storm will hit Okinawa tomorrow with heavy rain and powerful winds.

Air Force Brig. Gen. James Hecker, the commander of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, declared Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3, and the base began evacuating aircraft yesterday.

“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa,” Hecker said in a message to the community. “This is not just another typhoon.” Neoguri is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years.

Officials are evacuating 61 U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft from Okinawa to Guam, mainland Japan, the Philippines and South Korea, said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jeff Pool. Aircraft moving include C-130 Hercules aircraft, P-3 Orions, P-8 Poseidons and KC-135 Stratotankers.

“The remaining helicopters and jets on Okinawa are being sheltered in protected hangars,” Pool said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)