A Viable 1st Marine Air Wing Laydown

Here are proposed basing changes for squadrons of the 1st Marine Air Wing that can be completed by 2016 at little cost. The savings from closing MCAS Futenma could offset additional costs of operating Marine aircraft at existing American airbases in the Mediterranean/Middle East regions. A new airbase on Okinawa is not needed, nor expanded aviation facilities on Guam or Kadena. Note that "no change in plan" refers to changes already underway and detailed in the Marine Corps FY2011 Aviation Plan.

MCAS Futenma, Okinawa - to close

- MAG-36 Hqs - moves to Bahrain to command UDP squadrons for the new MARCENT MEB

- MALS-36 - moves to Bahrain with dets at other Middle East airbases

- MACG-18 - downsizes as it moves to Iwakuni

- VMM-562 - moves to Iwakuni

- VMM-561 - moves to nearby Kadena airbase

- HMH-UPD det - CH-53s shift to Mediterranean/Middle East deployments

- HMLA-UPD det  - AH-1s/UH-1s shift to Mediterranean/Middle East deployments

__________________________________________________________

Camp Foster, Okinawa - to close 

- 1st MAW Hqs - moves to Iwakuni. 

- MWSG-17 - no change in plan to deactivate

__________________________________________________________

MCAS Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii - minor growth with 600 more Marines

MAG-24 Hqs - no change

MALS-24 - no change

HMH-463 - 16 CH-53Ks - no change in plan

VMM-163 - 12 V-22s - no change in plan

VMM-166 - 12 V-22s - no change in plan 

- VMM-363 - 12 V-22s - move to Guam cancelled1, disbanded or moved to Rota or Key West

HMLA-367 - 18 AH-1s/9 UH-1s - no change in plan

+ 31st MEU2 Hqs - arrives from Okinawa

+ CLB-31 - (MEU logistics unit) arrives from Okinawa

+ VMA-UDP det - 6 AV-8Bs - shifts from Iwakuni for 31st MEU

1There is no value in placing a V-22 squadron on Guam. In late 2011, the Marine Corps announced that nine flying squadrons would be deactivated in the coming years, and one is likely to be a VMM (V-22 squadron). Otherwise, if the Navy's odd plan to move four destroyers and 3000 sailors to Rota, Spain is vetoed by Congress, the Corps could ask to put a VMM squadron there. Another excellent location is the mostly vacant NAF Key West, Florida, where a VMM squadron could provide direct support for SOUTHCOM.

2Most of the Marines required for the 31st MEU already exist on Hawaii. The 3rd Marine Regiment can rotate readiness among its three infantry battalions to keep one trained and ready for instant deployment. MAG-24 has plenty of helicopters to support a MEU air combat element. This would provide a more cohesive MEU than the awkward CONUS UDP shuffle now used to man the 31st MEU scattered among different bases in Japan. 

_______________________________________________

MCAS Iwakuni, Japan - changes, but no growth

MAG-12 Hqs - no change

MALS-12 - no change

VMFA-242 - 12 FA-18s - no change

VFA/VMFA-UDP - 12 FA-18s - no change

VMGR-152 - 12 C-130s - no change in plan

- VMAQ-UDP - no change in plan to retire EA-6Bs

- VMA-UDP det - 6 AV-8Bs shift to Kaneohe Bay for 31st MEU/ACE

- VMFA-UDP - 12 FA-18s shift to Mediterranean/Middle East deployments, probably Bahrain

+ 1st MAW Hqs - arrives from Camp Foster 

+ MACG-18 - arrives from Futenma downsized

+ VMM-562  - 12 MV-22s - arrives from Futenma

__________________________________________________________

                                                           Carlton Meyer  editorG2mil@Gmail.com

2012 www.G2mil.com

Overseas Base Closure List