MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Service members, station residents and distinguished visitors gathered on the flight line aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for a ribbon cutting ceremony March 27, 2014, to celebrate the grand opening of new hangars and facilities for Marine Aircraft Group 12 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12.
The facilities are part of the ongoing construction focused on rebuilding 77 percent of the station under the Defense Policy Review Initiative.
Col. Robert V. Boucher, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni, started the ceremony by welcoming those in attendance.
“I would like to take a few minutes to thank some of the people that made this possible,” said Boucher. “First, I want to thank our gracious hosts, the Japanese. They have been wonderful hosts to us and we can’t thank them enough.”
Boucher continued by giving praise to the Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau, construction workers who built the facilities and MAG-12 Marines who continued to support the flying squadrons as the move progressed.
Once Boucher finished his speech, Col. Hunter H. Hobson, commanding officer of MAG-12, gave his comments about the new hangars.
“These hangars and the buildings behind them represent a huge step in the advancement of facilities here,” said Hobson. “They represent better, more prepared squadrons. More prepared in terms of readiness and maintenance, which are huge factors in our effort to continue the stability in this region.”
Following Hobson’s remarks, Brig. Gen. Steven Rudder, commanding general of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, commander of Marine Corps Installations Command, spoke on what the new buildings symbolize.
“These hangars and buildings are more than just mortar and brick; they truly are the symbol of mutual cooperation between two very strong allies,” said Ayala. “They signify the great relationship we have with the Japanese military and are visible proof of the close relationship we have, and have had, with the Japanese government, and just as important, the Japanese people.”
The ceremony concluded with the commanding generals and commanding officers, along with Takafumi Fujii, director general for the Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau, cutting the ceremonial ribbon indicating that the new hangars are now fully operational.