KYOTANGO, Japan – The 14th Missile Defense Battery celebrated the official opening of their Life Support Area at Kyogamisaki Communications Site with a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 1. The LSA now provides the facilities to support 14th MDB soldiers with on-site living quarters, or barracks, a fitness space, and dining, ultimately enhancing unit readiness for the bilateral mission of protecting the U.S. and Japan.
“Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony is the result of many people’s hard work and dedication,” said Col. Matthew W. Dalton, 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade commander. “These permanent structures and buildings symbolize the long-standing relationship between our two countries. That excellent relationship is alive and well between the people of KCS and the local community.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District began construction of the site Feb. 22, 2013, completing the work area by 2018, however 14th MDB service members would have to travel off site approximately 30 minutes to the nearest town to eat, live, and work out. The recent completion of the LSA allows for a better work-life balance for soldiers stationed at KCS.
“The new area represents more than just balance,” said Pfc. Shane Spencer, a Patriot fire control enhanced operator with 14th MDB. “It brings a level of safety to our mission… being able to just walk down the hill after work is incredibly, incredibly nice.”
The nine-year construction project was met with logistical and geographical challenges as KCS is located eight hours away from the nearest USACE area office and normal infrastructure resources at Camp Zama, which made the ribbon-cutting ceremony that much more rewarding.
“Essentially we were building a small town from scratch,” said Tommy Rose, Honshu area engineer with USACE Japan who served as the KCS project administrative contracting officer. “You had to provide the water, you had to provide the power, and you had to handle everything going off the site. We built the buildings, the infrastructure from the ground up. We were partnered with a U.S. contractor that had partnered with a Japanese contractor… and they were a key proponent of getting this project built.”
The U.S. Army painted all the buildings at KCS light green to match the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force buildings nearby as opposed to the traditional Army-brown buildings that populate other installations.
“This is an extremely important location,” said Maj. Gen. J.B. Vowell, commanding general, U.S. Army Japan. “Kyogamisaki Communications Site is on the knife of freedom. We’re here to watch, monitor, and listen for the aggregated threats in the region who would do [America and Japan] harm. This is where the kill chain starts.”
The 14th MDB maintains an Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system, or AN/TPY-2, to provide long-range detection, classification, and tracking for the engagement of strategic and theater ballistic missile threats in support of Homeland Defense and the Indo-Pacific region.
“I’m so glad that we could improve your life support out here because this is extremely important,” said Vowell. “The world is a dangerous place. The 14th Missile Defense Battery is sure to keep an eye on all of it so that aggression never gets the chance. If you’ve been watching the news in Ukraine and with Russia, the fault lines of the international order are in play today and we’re sitting on one of them right here in the first island chain in Japan.”
Leaders from the local Japan government and U.S Army Japan were among those in attendance, including Kyotango City Mayor Yasushi Nakayama; Director-General Yoshihisa Takeuchi, Kinki-Chubu Defense Bureau; Director-General Haruo Nakamoto, Tango Area Promotion Bureau; Japan Air Self-Defense Force Lt. Col. Yoshitaka Oba, Commander, 35th Aircraft Control and Watch Squadron; Osaka-Kobe Consul General Richard Mei, Jr., U.S. Consulate General; Jessica N. Carrillo, U.S. Embassy Tokyo; U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel B. Vowell, USARJ commanding general; Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Dodson Jr., USARJ senior enlisted advisor; Col. Christopher L. Tomlinson, U.S. Army Garrison Japan commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Justin E. Turner, USAG Japan senior enlisted advisor; Col. Tanya A. Peacock, Medical Department Activity Japan commander; and Sgt. Maj. Titus M. Kamau, MEDDAC-J senior enlisted advisor.
“We recognize the partnership we have built with our bilateral partners, our neighbors and our friends,” said Maj. Robert W. Elliot, 14th MDB commander. “Without the support of Japan leadership, the local construction workers, craftsman, and engineers, this would not have been possible. This is the facility that will carry the 14th MDB into the future.”