By Dario Leone
Dec 27 2016
Share this article

The last time USMC AV-8B Harrier jump jets visit Chitose Air Base?

As reported by Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego in article VMA-542 HEADS HOME, on Dec. 22, 2016, U.S. Marines with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542 “Tigers” completed their Aviation Training Relocation Program (ATR) at Chitose Air Base, and headed back to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan.

The ATR is an effort between the U.S. and Japan governments to increase operational readiness between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).

It also improves interoperability and reduces noise concerns of aviation training on local communities by disseminating training locations throughout Japan.

“It was a great experience,” said U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Sgt. Austin K. Weber, operations chief for VMA-542. “We really felt like we were working toward something with being in a different environment and getting the aircraft in and out constantly. There was a lot of cross training for the Marines and a lot of knowledge to be gained from the JASDF.”

While learning from the JASDF, the Marines were also able to show their capabilities and share their familiarity with the AV-8B Harriers and unit operations.

“The Marines have a different structure than we do,” said JASDF Staff Sgt. Tomonori Miura, maintenance controller with the 2nd Air Wing Maintenance Supply Group. “They have a different specialty, and they are very efficient with what they do. They have a different jet so I learned a lot about the Harrier and how the maintenance operations work.”

Last time the AV-8B Harrier visits Hokkaidō

Noteworthy, with the F-35B Lightning II being deployed to Japan in 2017, this could be the last time the AV-8B Harrier visits Hokkaidō: in fact F-35Bs from VMFA-121 “Green Knights” are set to deploy to MCAS Iwakuni in support of the forward deployed 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) next year, becoming the first Joint Strike Fighters to be fielded in Japan.

Moreover, as announced by News.usni.org earlier this year, the U.S. Navy will relocate big deck amphib USS Wasp (LHD-1) from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to a new homeport in Sasebo, Japan. Actually USS Wasp has been recently modernized to accommodate the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B), which is capable of Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL), enabling it to operate out of a wide range of bases, both afloat and a shore.


Photo credit: Cpl. James A. Guillory / U.S. Marine Corps

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices