MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Caroline B. Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan, made her first official visit to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Jan. 28, 2016.
Kennedy visited the MCAS Iwakuni’s community to witness the ongoing transformation of the air station through the multitude of construction projects costing more than $1 billion a year, driven by the Defense Policy Review Initiative.
The initiative strengthens interoperability and communication between the two countries by redefining roles, missions, and capabilities of alliance forces and outlining key realignment and transformation initiatives, including reducing the number of U.S. troops stationed in Okinawa.
“Certainly, visiting Japan has given me a real understanding of what we have invested here — how strong and important our alliance is,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy first visited the air traffic control tower to observe extensive construction on the site.
Kennedy then visited Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152. While at the squadron’s hangar, Kennedy viewed a KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, gaining an understanding on the multiple capabilities of the aircraft in the Pacific theater. “It’s nice to see a government official come down — take time out of her day — to come speak with the Marines and tell us how important the mission that we are doing is for the United States of America,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Forest, VMGR-152 squadron gunnery sergeant.
She commended the Marines on their efforts in supporting and fostering better relations between Japan and the U.S.
“The U.S-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of the future,” said Kennedy. “I hope you all realize the choices you are making and how proud of you the embassy is to work with our colleagues in the military on a daily basis. Thank you all for your service.”