CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Okinawa City Council lodged a protest resolution Monday against parachute training held last week on Kadena Air Base.
On Friday, nine members of the 31st Rescue Squadron, a pararescue group, jumped from an MC-130 over the Kadena air field. Seven of the nine landed on target, with two landing close to the field, one of them in a small tree.
The Okinawa City officials said such training on Kadena Air Base was “unacceptable.”
“According to the military, although parachute jump training is basically to be held at Ie-Shima, in exceptional cases such as inclement weather, it will be held on Kadena Air Base,” the resolution said. “(However,) following the training, the deputy commander of the 31st Rescue Squadron said training on Kadena was more effective than it is at the Ie-Shima Auxiliary Airfield and that the use of the air base was important.
“From his comment, it is obvious that training on Kadena Air Base will become routine, which is unacceptable.”
The resolution was sent to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, the Commander of U.S. Forces Japan, the American Consulate General in Naha, the area coordinator of the U.S. military on Okinawa and the commander of the 18th Wing. A spokesman at the 18th Wing public affairs office said they wouldn’t be able to immediately comment on the specifics of the resolution.
On Friday, before the jump training occurred, Air Force Capt. Charles Bris-Bois, the director of operations for the 31st Rescue Squadron, was asked by a local Japanese reporter if jump training on Kadena was “more effective.” Bris-Bois said that conducting jumps at Kadena, although rare, is more convenient to plan and execute. He immediately clarified that his unit would rather jump at Ie-Shima because they can do a wider variety of training there.