Photo Information

Students and faculty with Korea National Defense University pose for a group photo with U.S. Marine Corps Col. William Pacatte, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, during a tour on MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 13, 2023. MCAS Futenma recently hosted students from the Korea National Defense University, highlighting the base's role in international cooperation and regional security. This visit emphasized the significance of the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. in preserving peace in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan A. Beauchamp)

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan Beauchamp

MCAS Futenma: A Hub of International Cooperation for Global Peace and Security

18 Dec 2023 | Cpl. Jonathan Beauchamp Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, located on the island of Okinawa, Japan, has a rich history and legacy of international cooperation, with strategic significance in the Indo-Pacific region. On Oct. 13, the base hosted a tour with the Korea National Defense University, highlighting the importance of international relationships in preserving global peace and security.

MCAS Futenma was established in 1946 following World War II and served as a vital staging ground for U.S. military operations in the Pacific. Today, its strategic location maintains a critical role to regional security.

Prior to the tour, the guests had a brief with U.S. Marine Corps Col. William Pacatte, the commanding officer of MCAS Futenma. During the brief, he explained the history of the air station, its geopolitical location, and key elements that it supports.

Pacatte stated that MCAS Futenma's main role is to run and maintain the air station. He said that the air station furthers the mission of Marine Corps Forces Pacific and other allied forces by responding to emergencies, and deterring aggression.

“This air station is vital for keeping the Indo-Pacific region safe, and it helps protect U.S. and partner nations' interests by providing necessary services, support, and training facilities for combat readiness,” said Pacatte.

During the visit, students with the Korea National Defense University gained insight on the air station’s unique role in regional security. The air station stands at a critical point of global events, with operational capabilities that extend beyond its boundaries, including a 9,000-foot runway ready to support any aircraft, 10 hangers, and an 88.5-million-dollar economic impact. Students also had the privilege of observing the base's infrastructure and capabilities by observing several aircraft and buildings across the base.

“The students from KNDU gained firsthand experience and knowledge through their visit to MCAS Futenma, " said Republic of Korea Army Maj. Gen. Kim Hongseog, the president of the KNDU. “This visit has increased their desire to support military operations for our nation. They were also impressed by the air station's readiness and preparedness to respond to security situations.”

While touring the base, the guests became more familiar with their partners, The United Nations Command Rear. The UNC Rear aims to maintain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly on the Korean Peninsula. MCAS Futenma serves as a pivotal launch point for multinational forces supporting South Korea's peace and security efforts, including the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea to deter destabilizing activities.

“These types of tours are important because it demonstrates the power of international collaboration, showcasing MCAS Futenma's role as a central hub for countries coming together to promote peace and unity,” said Pacatte.

The students left the station with both knowledge and a deeper understanding of the role of international cooperation in shaping the world. They witnessed how the base symbolizes unity, teamwork, and a shared commitment to global peace and security. It emphasizes that even in the face of complex challenges, nations can collaborate, build stronger relationships, and strive for common objectives to create a safer and better world.

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