The first Marines from the operating forces will move from Japan to the Marine Corps’ newly reactivated base in Guam in late 2024.

The Corps officially opened Camp Blaz, Guam, in January 2022 as part of a long-standing agreement with Japan to move approximately 9,000 Marines from Okinawa, Japan — which is now home to more than 18,000 Marines — beginning in 2024.

About 5,000 of those Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force will end up on Guam.

“A small detachment of Logistics Marines will move to Guam in late 2024 in preparation for follow-on forces to move at a later date,” Marine spokesman Capt. Ryan Bruce said in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times on Dec. 1. “No unit headquarters will move in this iteration.”

Guam’s Camp Blaz is the first new Marine base since 1952. The base will serve as a “strategic hub” in the Indo-Pacific region, the area that is the Defense Department’s top priority amid tensions between the United States and China.

Guam, part of the Mariana Islands, fell under U.S. control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War and officially became an unincorporated territory in 1950. The Air Force and Navy already have a significant presence on the island.

“Force flow will be deliberate and incremental to ensure continuity of operational capability,” Maj. Diann Rosenfeld, a spokeswoman for the Guam base, said Nov. 16 in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times.

More than 45 projects are under construction at the base, Rosenfeld said. In fiscal year 2024, the planned U.S.-funded projects have an estimated budget of $680 million, and the Japan-funded projects have an estimated budget of $430 million, according to the spokeswoman.

The base plans to open four live-fire ranges in 2024, Rosenfeld said. It is preparing for the opening of an urban combat training area made up of 133 buildings.

Environmental groups and indigenous rights activists have expressed opposition to the base, arguing construction harms Guam’s endangered species and destroys culturally significant burial sites and forest.

“The Marine Corps relocation seeks to avoid, minimize or offset impacts to Guam’s natural and cultural resources,” Rosenfeld said via email. “The DoD takes its environmental stewardship role very seriously, having obligated almost $200 million in support of its commitments and is implementing 140 environmental measures for the Marine Corps relocation alone.”

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

In Other News
Load More