News | July 7, 2021

Okinawa team helps restore joint range

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

The Defense Logistics Agency recently helped Indo-Pacific-based warfighters modernize a joint training area off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.

Idesuna and Tori-shima Islands were part of a recent range improvement project conducted by the Air Force’s 18th Operations Support Squadron, based out of Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base. The squadron’s Airspace and Range Management team turned to DLA Disposition Services for disposal of an estimated 20,000 lbs. of debris to meet Air Force range compliance standards, update facility infrastructure and increase operational safety.

A helicopter drops a fake vehicle on the beach of a tiny island near Okinawa.
An EFSAT is placed on remote Idesuna Island in June, after the removal of some 20,000 lbs. of bombing range scrap bound for DLA Disposition Services. DOD photo.
A helicopter drops a fake vehicle on the beach of a tiny island near Okinawa.
210606-D-D0441-1235
An EFSAT is placed on remote Idesuna Island in June, after the removal of some 20,000 lbs. of bombing range scrap bound for DLA Disposition Services. DOD photo.
Photo By: DOD photo
VIRIN: 210606-D-D0441-1235

“This inert bombing range hasn’t been cleared in over 10 years,” said DLA Disposition Services Okinawa Operations Chief Russell Manuel, meaning a large turn-in quantity was expected from the start. An explosive ordnance disposal team had to first examine and prepare the munitions based on the inert materials instruction in the demilitarization guide.

Idesuna measures about a half mile long by just over a third of a mile wide. The range residue removal allowed for improvements in vegetation and erosion control, bunker improvement, and the placement of Environmentally Friendly Stationary Aerial Targets, or EFSATs. 

Personnel, debris, construction materials and new targets were all transported by helicopter and Landing Craft Air Cushion to and from Okinawa.

Japan has nearly 7,000 islands, but only about 440 are inhabited. Okinawa is the smallest and southernmost of the main islands, but hosts more than 30 named U.S. military areas, including Kadena Air Base, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, and numerous training areas, ranges, ports, weapons depots, and logistics facilities.