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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Upcoming Marines exercise on Tinian scaled down

A scheduled U.S. Marines exercise called Operation Forager Fury has been scaled down in terms of number of Marines from Japan participating and the type of activities they will conduct on Tinian, mainly because of high seas that will cancel the use of a high-speed vessel that is supposed to bring in more participants to the island, officials said Wednesday.

Operation Forager Fury, initially set for Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, was earlier estimated to bring to Tinian some 300 Marines stationed in Japan.

Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz and Rep. Trenton Conner (IR-Tinian) separately said Wednesday they are not aware of the number of Marines that will actually train on Tinian as a result of the decision to scale down the exercise.

Roy N. Tsutsui, Defense coordinating officer representative for Defense Support of Civil Authorities, Joint Region Marianas Defense Representative Political-Military Affairs Policy Advisor, told CNMI officials that “due to high seas, HSV transport of heavy equipment to Tinian was cancelled so Forager Fury is reduced.”

Tsutsui said the following will be cancelled or reduced: No Tinian North Field operations or clearing; no tent city at North Field; much reduced number of Marines; and some community relations projects, especially with heavy equipment are cancelled.

He, however, said the following will go on: West Field operations including arresting gear, jets, fuel bladders; use of hotel rooms; contracting for porta-potties; MV-22 Osprey on Tinian; Use of FDM; search and rescue practice in Pagan with MV-22; medical/dental community relations on Tinian; medical community relations on Pagan; and Tinian trash dumpster with disposal on Saipan.

Tsutsui said the West Field gear will arrive on Nov. 28 via contract air. He said it should take them until Dec. 5 to be ready for operations.

Operation Forager Fury is the latest military exercise to be conducted on Tinian.

Marine Air Group-12, based in Iwakuni, Japan, under the 1st Aircraft Wing of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted Operation Geiger Fury on Tinian in May. Another exercise was held on Tinian in September.

Two-thirds of Tinian lands are leased by the U.S. Department of Defense.

During World War II, Tinian had the busiest airfield in the world. It was the launching pad of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, putting a decisive end to the war.

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