report by: Thierry LETELLIER
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan
The Korea Conflict of 1950 emphasized the need for maintaining a naval presence in Okinawa. On February , 1951, the US Naval Facility, Naha, was activated and later became commissioned on April . Commander Fleet Activities, Ryukyus was commissioned on March 8, 1957. On May , 1972, upon reversion of Okinawa to Japanese administration, the two organizations were combined to form Commander Fleet Activities, Okinawa.
NAVCOMM Det Okinawa is a tenant command of Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa, which is located on Kadena Air Base. The four work centers are located on Kadena ; remotely controlled receivers are located at NSGA Hanza
Kadena Air Base history dates back to just before the April 1, 1945, US invasion of Okinawa, when a local construction firm completed a small airfield named Yara Hikojo near the island’s village of Kadena. The airfield, used by Japanese warplanes, was one of the first targets of the US 10th Army and was captured just hours after American troops stormed the island
Army engineers quickly made repairs and, by nightfall the same day, the runway could accept emergency landings. Eight days later, and after some six inches of coral were added, the airfield was declared operational and put into immediate service. By August 1945, an additional runway was built and the original runway lengthened and improved to accommodate bombers. Kadena Air Base was born.
During the Vietnam War , the base was also used in a intensive way to participate to the war effort .
The facility spreads across Kadena town, Chatan town, and Okinawa city. This area is in the central part of the main island of Okinawa. The air base has a 300 m overrun and two runways. (Runway A: 3,689 m x 91 m and Runway B: 3,689 x 61 m). It is the largest and most active US Air Force base in the Far East and is home to the 18th Wing, a subordinate of the Fifth Air Force. The 18th Wing and other units perform such tasks as aircraft maintenance, air defense, air counterattacks, air transport, support, and reconnaissance.
The 18th Operations Group is the main force of the 18th Wing. This group includes the Air Refueling Squadron, which comprises of the E-3B Sentry aircraft, the Airborne Warning and Control Squadron, which comprises of the KC-135R aircraft, and the 12th, 44th, and 67th Fighter Squadrons each of which comprise of eighteen F-15 Eagle jet fighters.
In Okinawa’s air space there are 16 training areas of 92,000 square kilometers exclusively reserved for the US Forces, which are 40 times the land area of Okinawa Prefecture. In addition, in the air space of Okinawa’s main island up to an altitude of 6,000 meters, air traffic is controlled by the US Forces. Not only airplanes using the US military bases, but commercial flights entering this air space are required to seek permission from Kadena Air Base.
documentation references : Globalsecurity