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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Military second thoughts about buildup? News to governor

A recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee made some news that is still being sorted out by Washington officials and the American military around the world.

The outgoing Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, was pressed by Hawaii Sen. Bian Schatz about various aspects of the long ongoing Guam military buildup. Neller indicated that transportation of marines to where the fighting is throughout the Pacific region, could be a problem.

In his dialogue with Schatz, Neller indicated he didn't believe the planned high speed vessels planned to move the marines and their gear would work for a large force.“The plan, as it’s currently designed, I think is worthy, possibly, of a review,” Neller said. “That is my personal and professional opinion."

The general appeared to be concerned that a much more expensive air lift capability would be necessary to do the job.

This was not exactly the message that buildup weary Guam was looking to hear, not to mention the Okinawans who have been protesting the American military presence for decades.

Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander, Joint Region Marianas, and Capt. Jeff Grimes, commanding officer, U.S. Naval Base Guam brief Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio during a windshield tour aboard the base May 6. Photo by JoAnna Delfin/JRM

Just off an extensive tour of island military installations that are being retooled to receive some 5,000 Marines with a current target date of 2023-2024, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said she had heard no such talk.

I have not heard about that. I have heard we are continuing down the road for the relocation of the Marines to Guam.” She said the top military officers on island told her the buildup is still on course as far as bringing in the Marines. “If that is the case, we would have been discussing that yesterday.”

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