A view of Tinian's North Field from an Air Force C-130H Hercules on Feb. 26, 2015.

A view of Tinian's North Field from an Air Force C-130H Hercules on Feb. 26, 2015. (Jason Robertson/U.S. Air Force)

The Air Force is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to restore the island airfield that launched the atomic bombings of Japan, according to the construction company awarded the contract.

The U.S. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency awarded Fluor, a global construction company based in Irving, Texas, a five-year, $409 million contract, the company said in an April 10 news release. The work includes laying new pavement at North Field on the island of Tinian.

The island is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

“We’re honored to be selected to help strengthen the U.S. Air Force’s deterrence capability as part of its global mission,” Tom D’Agostino, president of Fluor’s Mission Solutions business, said in the release.

He said Flour excels at delivering “timely and cost-effective solutions” to some of the world’s most logistically challenged spots.

“Tinian airfield is located in a complex and ever-changing environment and is closely aligned with the nation’s National Defense Strategy for the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.

Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, then-commander of Pacific Air Forces, flagged the Tinian project in comments reported Dec. 13 by Nikkei Asia and confirmed by his command. The airfield will be reclaimed from jungle that has overgrown it since World War II, he said.

In 1945, the airfield included four 8,500-foot runways that launched B-29 Superfortress bombers against Japan. Visitors to Tinian, a U.S. territory 118 miles from Guam, can still see pits where the atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man were loaded onto B-29s bound for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The North Airfield has extensive pavement underneath the overgrown jungle, Wilsbach told Nikkei.

“We’ll be clearing that jungle out between now and summertime,” he said, without providing a timeline for when the airfield will be in use.

The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act includes tens of millions of dollars for projects on Tinian.

Funding for the island includes $26 million for airfield development, $20 million for fuel tanks, $32 million for parking aprons, $46 million for cargo pad and taxiway extension and $4.7 million for a maintenance and support facility.

author picture
Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now