11:44 GMT +323 June 2018
Listen Live
    MV-22 Ospreys are seen at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station and the surrounding area from an observation deck at a park in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture on southern Japan

    US Marine Commander on Okinawa Sacked for ‘Loss of Trust, Confidence’

    © AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko
    Military & Intelligence
    Get short URL
    432

    The US Marine Corps has let go of the commander at its Futenma air station in Okinawa, Japan. Col. Mark Coppess was fired Tuesday over a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead his command.”

    The base, located in Japan's southern Ryukyu Island chain, is "one of the most important Pacific bases," according to the US military's Stars & Stripes news outlet. Okinawa is seen as a vital base of operations from which the US can counter perceived regional threats like China and North Korea. 

    About 3,000 Marines are stationed at Air Station Futenma, although there are 31 other US military bases on the island that occupy one quarter of its area and together host some 47,000 American troops.

    Local frustrations with the US' presence are consistently apparent, marked by protests and public opinion. In 2010, a survey of Okinawans by Mainichi Shimbun and Ryūkyū Shimpō determined that 71 percent of residents found the Americans unnecessary. Approximately 41 percent of those polled said that the US bases should be taken off the island.

    In December 2017, a window of a CH-53E large transport helicopter fell from the air and landed on the playground of an elementary school just across from the Futenma base. Locals near Futenma and across the island have complained about more falling objects this year as well, Sputnik reported, a cause of consternation for Japanese officials. 

    A US defense official said that the firing of Coppess had nothing to do with the recurring accidents, according to the Japan Times. However, the Marines' press release did not mention a cause for the loss of confidence in the commander.

    Coppess had only been heading the base since June 4, 2017, and will now be replaced by Col. David Steele.

    Related:

    Okinawa Authorities Urge US to Stop Operation of Accident-Prone VTOLs
    US Must Improve Safety After Helicopter Incidents in Okinawa – Japanese Official
    Okinawa Demands Explanation Over US Military Aircraft Landings – Reports
    Another US Military Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing on Okinawa
    Okinawa Reportedly Passes Resolution Against US Army Flights After Window Fall
    Tags:
    Okinawa, US Marine Corps, Okinawa
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment