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Special forces to be based at Yokota for missions in enemy land

Ospreys to Yokota belong to Kadena detachment


While the U.S. military plans to deploy U.S. Air Force CV-22 Ospreys to Yokota Air Base, a U.S. military facility straddling five cities and a town in Tokyo’s Tama region including the city of Fussa, a squadron of CV-22 Ospreys arrived at the airbase earlier this year. Those CV-22 Ospreys that arrived at Yokota belong to the 353rd Special Operations Group (353 SOG) headquartered at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Akahata has learned. The 353 SOG is tasked primarily with airlifting troops on special operations aircraft and conducting aerial refueling. Along with the replacement of existing transport planes, U.S. forces are apparently about to strengthen Yokota base as a hub for swinging special operations troops.


The 353 SOG is comprised of two flight squadrons, including MC-130H and MC 130J special operations aircraft, and a 800-strong force including contingents to attack targets in an enemy land and rescue troops. In the event of a contingency, its headquarters plays the role of a “combined special operations air component” that commands special operations forces from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. During Operation Tomodachi in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the 353 SOG played its role under the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander.


The public affairs division of the U.S. Air Force 374th Airlift Wing, which maintains the Yokota base, explained that the CV-22 Ospreys and personnel to be deployed to Yokota “are part of the 353 SOG’s detachment, which is deployed outside the Kadena base.” The U.S. military is attempting to increase the deployment of Ospreys and personnel to Yokota in stages over the next several years to a total of 10 CV-22s and about 450 troops. (Abridged)

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