Guam – Some 175 U.S. Marines could start training on Tinian as early as May 8 in what could be the first major U.S. military training exercise on the island in a decade.
Tinian Mayor Ray Dela Cruz told the Saipan Tribune that said it’s “about time” the U.S. Department of Defense makes use of Tinian, two-thirds of which is leased by DoD.
Mayor Dela Cruz was among a number of CNMI officials briefed last week by Marines from the Aircraft Group-12 who flew down from Japan to advise officials about the planned training exercise.
The Mayor also said they were advised that if the exercise comes off as planned, it could lead to the creation of an Expeditionary Airfield at North Field for the Marine Corps’ F/A 18 Hornets, which would involve the restoration of Tinian’s historic North Field, from which the Enola Gay took off to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan in 1945.
Dela Cruz said the planned exercise could be a boon for Tinian. The Marines would buy as much of their daily supplies as possible from local vendors, including water and Tinian’s fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Marines will also be given ample leave to visit Tinian’s local establishments.