By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Navy says Marine Corps relocation is on track despite Covid-19 interruption
At least 13 projects related to the relocation of 5,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam have been completed, 16 are currently under construction, while 40 projects are pending, according to the Joint Region Marianas.
Since February, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command has awarded four more military buildup-related contracts for this year. The four contracts have a total value of $157 million.
"The Defense Policy Review Initiative plan of record is in full execution and
on track to support Department of Defense's agreements with Japan," JRM said.
According to the plan, Marines' relocation to Guam will commence by the end of the first half of the 2020s.
During the relocation, JRM said, less than 1,500 family members are expected to arrive in Guam while the arrival of the marines will be gradual and based on the pace of construction of facilities to support those forces.
JRM said although three construction projects were paused for two weeks in late 2020 during the Covid-19 upsurge on island, the work interruption did not affect the overall progress of the projects.
In November 2020, the Department of Public Health and Social Services ordered the suspension of all construction activities on Guam, including defense projects, due to Covid-19 clusters found in Core Tech International and Black Construction.
"While the Covid-19 pandemic has changed personal protective measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and the local community, construction progress has been safely maintained and remains on track," JRM stated in a progress update.
The Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz partially opened in October 2020.
"All DoD construction activities since the onset of the U.S. Marine Corps relocation program have been in strict adherence to the National Historic Preservation Act, the 2011 Programmatic Agreement and federal law," JRM said.
The following construction projects have been completed:
. P-204 Uniform and Tango Wharf Improvements
. P-1003 Military Working Dog Facility Relocation
. P-100 North Ramp Utilities
. P-101 North Ramp Parking Apron
. P-101A North Ramp Parking II
. P-204 Tango Wharf Expansion
. P-109 Aviation Maintenance Hangar I
. P-230 Ground Support Equipment Shops
. P-240 Marine Wing Support Squadron Facility
. J-001A Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) North Gate
. J-001 Apra Harbor Utilities and Site Improvements
. J-200 North Ramp Utilities II
. P-102 Harmon Power Upgrade
The following projects are currently under construction:
. P-250 Marine Air Logistics Squadron Facilities
. P-260 Corrosion Control Hangar
. P-601 Aviation Maintenance Hangar II
. P-270 ACE Gym & Dining Facility
. P-295 Ordnance Operations Facility
. H-279, H-280, H-282 Andersen AFB Housing Complex
. J-001B Camp Blaz Utilities and Site Improvement
. J-031 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters D
. J-033 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters F
. P-459 Bachelor Enlisted Quarters H
. J-017-II Camp Blaz Main and Commercial Gates
. J-011 Camp Blaz Base Administrative Building
. J-755 Skaggs Urban Training Complex
. P-715 Mason Live Fire Training Range Complex
. J-006 Apra Medical/Dental Clinic
. J-007 Waterfront Headquarters
JRM said the project to clear the site and install utilities infrastructure, roads
and the perimeter fence is 85 percent complete. Projects are underway to
construct three barracks facilities. The base administration building and
the central fuel station have been awarded and have commenced.
The first of two projects at the Mason Live Fire Training Range Complex is
75 percent complete. This project provides four ranges, including a known
distance rifle and pistol range, as well as the access road and utilities
infrastructure to support the entire range complex.
The second project, the multi-purpose machine gun range, is expected to be
awarded in 2021.
"Approximately 800 jobs available to civilians are expected to be created.
Job opportunities will be available to those who meet the specific criteria
and requirements for the position," JRM said.
JRM said DoD is also funding Guam infrastructure upgrades including roadway improvements, water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, and the modernization of Guam's commercial port.
"Additionally, the DoD has facilitated a $12 million grant for the construction of
the future Guam Cultural Repository," JRM said. "
"This facility will serve as a key resource for ongoing research, education, and interpretive activities by and for the people of Guam, and will also enhance outreach and tourism activities as visitors to come to know and appreciate the history of the CHamoru people in Guam and throughout the region."