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Ceremony today marks Patriot missile system deployment

Date Posted: 2006-12-01

A new Army unit will officially go into place today in ceremonies at Kadena Air Base.

The 600 Army personnel are responsible for fielding the new Patriot missile systems on Okinawa. The U.S. Army Missile Defense Command based in Hawaii will present the colors to the new unit.

The PAC-3 system is being centered at Kadena Air Base and Kadena Ammunition Storage Point. A total of 24 missile launch pads and equipment for both a PAC-2 aircraft interceptor, and PAC-3 missile interceptor, arrived in Okinawa in October. Officials report most assembly work is now finished, and that the systems will be operational sometime in December.

The new unit and its family members boost the military population on Okinawa by about 1,500.

The Japanese government continues working with Okinawa Prefecture and local cities and towns explaining how the PAC-3 systems operate, and how training will prepare the unit to move missile systems between bases on public roads. Demonstrators have protested on several occasions, denouncing the missile system deployments on the island as increasing the dangers of making Okinawa a wartime target.

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