The first jet squadrons from Carrier Air Wing FIVE (CVW-5) relocated from Naval Air Facility Atsugi (NAFA) to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (MCASI) Nov. 28 after the conclusion of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG 5) patrol.
The squadrons relocating to MCASI include; Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 115 and 195, along with Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141. Both VFA-115 and VFA-195 fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet, while VAQ-141 flies the EA-18G Growler, an airframe based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet equipped for electronic countermeasure missions.
“The arrival of the first F/A-18 squadrons to Iwakuni is an important step forward in the phased relocation of Carrier Air Wing Five,” said Capt. Michael Wosje, commander, Carrier Air Wing Five. “Today represents years of hard work and coordination between the U.S. and Japanese governments and we are looking forward to enjoying the hospitality and building new friendships with our Iwakuni hosts.”
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, which flies the E-2D, was the first carrier air wing squadron to transition to Iwakuni and arrived in February 2017.
“I would like to welcome Captain Wosje and his entire CVW-5 team to their new home here at MCAS Iwakuni,” said Col. Rick Fuerst, commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. “The arrival of these initial Japan-based elements moves us ever closer to the culmination of years of planning and preparation here under the Defense Policy Review Initiative. This transformation was designed to both fulfill the United States’ strategic vision for its rebalance in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and to further strengthen the responsiveness and potency of our role in the U.S.-Japan security alliance. Welcome aboard CVW-5.”
At the completion of the DPRI process, MCAS Iwakuni will have undergone a 77 percent physical transformation which includes the Iwakuni Runway Relocation project, new schools,commissary, Marine Corps Exchange, family and bachelor housing, hangars, gym, child-care center, theater, administrative buildings, and gas station. These improvements were led by the DPRI program team in close coordination with the regional defense bureau, CSDB, and primarily funded by the Government of Japan to enable U.S. forces to fulfill obligations under the Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation.
These moves are in accordance with the Navy’s strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific in which the most advanced and capable units are forward deployed in order to support the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the region.
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan