Army to build new range at Camp Hansen
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A new $3.8 million Army Special Forces training complex is being planned at Camp Hansen.
U.S. and Japanese officials Thursday confirmed the U.S. Defense Department is funding construction of a new training complex at Camp Hansen’s Range 4, consolidating several training areas on northern Okinawa now used by the Army’s 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group at Torii Station.
“The Army currently has a training range at Range 16 in Camp Hansen,” Marine Corps spokesman 1st Lt. Albert Eskalis said. “These facilities have become worn out, and it has become necessary to construct their replacements.
“Taking this opportunity, the Army is planning to construct the Army Training Range Complex at Range 4.”
The training area will include a “shoot house,” a breaching bay, a 50-meter flat range, a rappelling tower and an administrative area, he said. The area will be used mainly by Special Forces, but other services also may train there.
“This facility will co-locate training currently conducted by the Army at separate locations in Camps Hansen and Schwab, thereby allowing the Army to conduct training essential to meet the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty obligations,” Eskalis said.
A Japanese Defense Facilities Administration Naha Bureau spokesman said his office officially was informed of the project earlier this week by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was notified by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
“The information came Wednesday,” the spokesman said.
Measures will be taken to minimize the impact on Okinawans who live near the base, he said.
For example, a soundproof wall is to be built and a special absorbent material will be used inside one of the buildings to prevent stray shots. Training times are also to be scheduled to avoid early mornings or late night hours.
Defense Facilities Administration Agency officials will visit prefectural and local government officials to discuss new facility plans, he said.
The combat complex plan already has drawn fire from Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine, who said he fears the new facility “would contribute to the perpetration of the U.S. bases [and] add further burden on the people of Okinawa.”