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A total of 260 sailors and Marines arrived this week at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, base officials said.

The newcomers include a Marine Corps F/A-18 squadron from South Carolina and a Navy helicopter detachment.

Two MH-53E helicopters with the Navy’s HM-14 Squadron Detachment One arrived Tuesday from Norfolk, Va.

The heavy-lift, minesweeping helicopters and 60 members of the Vanguard squadron, which is commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Dan Buhr, will stay in Iwakuni for about a year, according to a Navy release.

Japan is the only other nation to fly the minesweeping helicopter and has worked closely with the U.S. military on techniques and tactics, the release said.

Meanwhile, 200 Marines with the Checkerboards of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 arrived in Iwakuni on Monday aspart of the Unit Deployment Program with Marine Aircraft Group 12.

The squadron, which is based in Beaufort, S.C., and led by Lt. Col. William Maxwell, brought along a dozen F/A-18C Hornets.

The Marines replace the Bengals of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224, which returned to its home base in Beaufort.


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