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Marine general says moving Marines desirable from strategic standpoint

Date Posted: 2004-07-16

The Marine Corps top general commanding Marine Forces Pacific is coming out in favor of moving some Marines from Okinawa.

Lieutenant General Wallace C. Gregson, meeting with reporters in Washington, announced his support for the propose realignment of U.S. forces in the Asia Pacific region, and said he agrees with moving some Marines off Okinawa.

He thinks it is “desirable from a strategic point of view” to move some of the 17,000 Marines now on Okinawa to mainland locations where they’ll work more closely with their Japan Ground Self Defense counterparts. Gregson says it would “enhance the joint training”.

Gregson opposes moving the Marines out of Japan, though, saying they are essential here to protect the region’s security. Moving them from Okinawa to Guam in the Western Pacificwould make defending Japan and the Korean peninsula more difficult from a tactical perspective.

The American three-star general previously commanded all troops in Okinawa until a year ago, when he was moved to the higher position in Hawaii.

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