Members from Yokota Air Base, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Nippo Corporation performed a groundbreaking ceremony for the new AFSOC Airfield Apron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 5, 2019.
The AFSOC complex will provide the 21st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) a permanent home for the CV-22 Osprey as a new apron is added to the existing airfield pavements as well as new utility and communication infrastructure.
“The project will ensure the 21st SOS has the permanent capability needed to effectively execute long-range infiltration and exfiltration missions, and provide disaster relief support in the event of crisis or contingency,” said Lt. Col. Jason Hock, 21st SOS commander. “Forward-basing the CV-22 at Yokota provides an increased level of security, disaster preparedness, and emergency airlift capability during crisis situations that will allow U.S. Forces to support of the defense of Japan and the region.”
The ceremony included a Shinto blessing, to purify the site and wish safety on the construction crew, offerings and prayers from the project partners, and a sacred sake rite. Remarks and thanks made by Col. Oits Jones, 374th Airlift Wing commander, Col. Christopher Fuller, AFSOC Civil Engineer commander, and a Nippo Corporation representative concluded the event.
“I am proud that our team here at Yokota is able to accommodate such an important project for our mission partners,” said Jones. “We look forward to seeing this lead to increased capabilities for our Air Force and an opportunity to strengthen our relations with our community and mission partners.”
Mindful of our host-nation relationship, the Japan Engineer District, USACE and Yokota have cooperatively taken great measures in the design and construction practices to minimize impact to the surrounding communities.
“From ensuring the storm water drainage of the completed campus does not significantly change its current status to utilizing innovative procedures for contractor access, which minimizes off-base traffic congestion, we worked diligently to ensure the local communities will see little impact with the new construction,” said Col. Thomas Verrell Jr., USACE district commander.
Creating this permanent home for the CV-22 Osprey in Japan is a clear example of our commitment to the Alliance. The U.S. military continues to forward position some of its most advanced capabilities to the Indo-Pacific region in support of the defense of Japan and to project safety and security regionally.
This is a U.S.-funded military construction project awarded through the USACE to Nippo Corporation. USACE awarded the contract in August 2019 in the amount of $63M USD and the construction is estimated to be completed in 2022.
Staff Sgt. Taylor A. Workman | 374th Airlift Wing