Officials have little to say about a Marine's reportedly drunken antic that left an Air Force hangar in Japan filled with fire suppression foam.
The incident took place in late May at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, home to the Air Force's 18th Air Wing. According to Stars and Stripes, whose Japan bureau first reported on the event, a drunk Marine was able to enter a hangar at the base and trigger a foam-based fire suppression system near at least one aircraft.
The 18th Wing includes two F-15 fighter squadrons, a KC-135 air refueling squadron, and rescue, pararescue and medical evacuation units.
An 18th Wing spokesman, 2nd Lt. Eric Anthony, confirmed to Marine Corps Times that a Marine was arrested after an fire suppression system was activated in a hangar at about 1:45 a.m. on May 23. Anthony did not respond to questions about what agency made the arrested the Marine, the Marine's his level of intoxication or what organization was investigating the incident.
Though the arrest took place three weeks ago, Anthony said the details of the incident were still under investigation. While he declined to comment on the extent of the damage the Marine caused by tripping the suppression system, he said the base's "capabilities and readiness have not suffered."
He referred questions about the alleged Marine perpetrator to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa. A spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific said he was consulting with Air Force officials to determine releasable information.
Designed to be easily activated in the incident of a fire, high-expansion foam can fill a hangar to the ceiling with a soap-like substance in minutes. The May incident was not the first time the activation of a fire suppression system has led to an investigation.
On Jan. 8, 2014, the accidental activation of a hangar's foam HEF system at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, resulted in the death of a civilian contractor who entered the hangar to get a better lookfoam. A command-directed investigation found that the system had been activated after a valve in a hangar sprinkler network froze and cracked, causing a buildup of water that eventually activated the foam system.
The contractor, a 31-year-old man, died after becoming disoriented and immersed in the foam, the investigation found. In light of the incident, investigators recommended the Air Force begin a review of its high-expansion foam systems in hangars around the world.
Air Force and Marine officials have not reported any injuries resulting from the May 23rd incident at Kadena.