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U.S. military helicopter crashes at Okinawa base

65 Comments
By Mari Yamaguchi

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Residents of Okinawa, host to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan, have long resented bearing what many feel is an unfair share of the burden for the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Many associate the U.S. bases with accidents, crime and pollution.

Yes, that is part of it.

Okinawa also suffers economically, as the land used for the US bases is prime land for tourism development - Okinawa's major source of income.

And, of course, if there were an act of aggression from one of Japan's neighbours, the first place to be hit would be Okinawa - because of the bases. For this reason, mainland Japan would rather have the bases as far away as possible - therefore they are here.

My perception is that feeling against the bases and the US military is increasing. Because, as quoted on another article in JT today, Nakaima points out that they just do not pay any attention to the feelings of Okinawa people.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )

We always said those Ospreys were dangerous. So we can't understand why the military wants to replace the nice old friendly helicopters with the mean & evil Ospreys.

Signed:

The militarily expert Okinawan Government!

Oh, wait.....

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I hope the crew members will be ok. I can only imagine what their families are going through.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Perhaps its time for Japan to fund its own national defense rather than relying on the United States given there is so much animosity about those bases in Okinawa.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Residents of Okinawa, host to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan, have long resented bearing what many feel is an unfair share of the burden for the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Many associate the U.S. bases with accidents, crime and pollution.

and a equal many if not more do not resent. There was an equal number of people that came out in support of the bases and the boost it gives to the local economy, the media only focus on one side of the story.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Sayonara America. It's time for Japan to take back his army and say goodbye rent army .

-23 ( +6 / -29 )

Eject in this case means thrown out, eg sokeone was ejected during a car crash or even in sports, eg someone was ejected from a game, it doesnt mean they used ejector seats.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Eject in this case means thrown out, eg sokeone was ejected during a car crash or even in sports, eg someone was ejected from a game, it doesnt mean they used ejector seats.

@ Badge213

you can't jump out of a crashing helo thats why they do what is called "autorotating" you can try to jump but you have to get past the spinning propeller as the helicopter falls past you..... anyway the MOD updated the article now so it is correct now.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hope no one is wounded. I can sense the commotion in Okinawa.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While conducting for my doctoral dissertation, I found most Okinawans are indifferent to the bases. Those who protest the bases are often older, retired citizens whose new found hobby is anti-base protesting. The number of protestors is relatively small compared to the population.

The media never reports on the indifference or those who support the bases because it isn't controversial enough to sell newspapers and advertising spots.

I work at Camp Hansen. As a prior Marine, I hope my brothers all made it out ok. Regardless of how you feel about the bases our the US government, you have to keep it mind that these warriors are hard-working family men the same as you and I. Honor their sacrifice and keep politics out of it.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

cause? unknown. fate of military crew? unknown. Criticism of US military...already known.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Who knows how many Okinawans are against the bases.

My friends and relatives are very much against them. But I'm sure that others have a different experience.

Isn't it about time the government held a referendum to REALLY find out how many are for and how many against?

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Bertie, your views about the bases and the US are well known. This isn't the forum to keep recycling your political views. Men were possibly injured or, God-forbid, dead. Show some respect for them and their families.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

how ironic.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Tyler Vandenberg

...you can try to jump but you have to get past the spinning propeller as the helicopter falls past you.....

Sorry to nitpick, but helicopters do NOT have propellers. They have rotors. Props and rotors are completely different devices although they look similar to the layman. That's why a helo is a rotary-winged aircraft and not a prop-driven aircraft.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Shame on you Wooster-san for taking this opportunity to trot out your tired anti-American rhetoric.

The Americans are here because the majority of Japanese want them here. Were it not so, the Japanese government could ask them to leave at any point. I'm all in favor of Japan ditching the pacifist constitution and taking care of their own defenses. But all they seem likely to do is to continue talking about it like a bunch of old women. I'm relieved that my safety is protected by the brave enlisted men and women of the US military - and I'm sure that they won't vacillate if and when the time comes to take action in defense of Japan. Maybe then the Japanese will wake up and realize how lucky they are to be protected by the most fearsome military force on the face of the Earth.

As for the "Okinawan people"- they are citizens of the Japan. Much as you would like to pretend otherwise, Okinawa is not its own little country where the people get to do as they please. They can get in line and do as they are told like the rest of the prefectures. Their "feelings" are actually pretty irrelevant.

Hoping for the safety of all the crew members.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

@ USNinJapan2

LOL thanks. Never been much of a rotor fan....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Readers, no more bickering please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is regrettable!!!!!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It is regrettable because no accident is a welcome event. But it is not within the context insinuated by Onodera. May the four aviators recover soon and reunite with their loved ones. Back in the days when I served in the Corps, I flew to Taiwan and Korea from Futenma in the mighty CH-53. Never felt unsafe in it. And when I served in the Air Force, I took a search and rescue demonstration flight at the NTA in the same helicopter that crashed. Make no mistake, these brave men risk their lives on a daily basis. I would probably hesitate to do another demonstration orientation flight. I respect their courage. Semper Fi, Above and Beyond!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Perhaps its time for Japan to fund its own national defense rather than relying on the United States given there is so much animosity about those bases in Okinawa.

America wants the base there. It wants bases all over the world.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Wow! It would appear that an article discussing one issue becomes the topic of quite another. First accidents happen with military, as well as civilian aircraft, whether fixed wing propeller or jet, or rotor. The article references a crash, and I hope the injured US serviceman will recover. The article and its controversy about the feelings of the Okinawa’s people spring up with the same rhetoric as always. Give up the bases, and we can have farm land and resorts built in its place. Oh remember to start learning Chinese, as that will be the price of evection! I wonder if anyone gives any thought to the fact that the US military’s presence has given China some pause about China going just a little further in its overt provocations of late. You cannot have your cake and eat it too! The US has pulled a number of its military assets back to Guam, but front line troops remain in Okinawa for guess what reason? Not protecting itself but Japan, yes there have been issues, regrettable ones, but the price for an ally remaining poised to come to the aid of Japan, I believe is worth the price regrettable as it is!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Another terrible accident during military training.

BertieWoosterAug. 05, 2013 - 07:13PM JST My perception is that feeling against the bases and the US military is increasing. Because, as quoted on another >article in JT today, Nakaima points out that they just do not pay any attention to the feelings of Okinawa people.

Don't worry, China will do something to make all that take a back seat. I think we can count on it.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

This article is word for word with other media outlets with the exception of

many residents have complained about base-related crime, noise and accidents.

The US makes up only 3% of the population on Okinawa and contributes far less to the crime rate on the island according to http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a00501/

Accidents happen, but it always seems to be reckless when the US has a mishap in the minds of the local host.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

You have to be careful what you wish for. Maybe there will come a time when the American military will leave Japan then Japan can pay for their own defenses which they don't have the money for. Then there will be news reports of them crashing their own aircraft, arguing where the bases are located, limited information from their military about the crash, complaining about the type of aircraft flown, crime and noise ,etc., etc. caused by the Japanese military. Perhaps this could happen when the US can no longer afford to keep up the military it now has. Currently, Japan and Europe don't need to spend as much on their military budgets because of American military presence. I like Japan and America... I hope things can be resolved respectfully and peaceably. Japan/US enemies are watching and laughing.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Best wishes to the pilot and crew - going up in choppers every day would be a bloody tough gig. Just saw some furious Okinawans on the news - their tone seemed to be "What if one of those things had crashed on our kids school?" They sure want the Yanks out, them Okinawans - and this accident will embolden them even more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps this could happen when the US can no longer afford to keep up the military it now has. Currently, Japan and Europe don't need to spend as much on their military budgets because of American military presence.

America is protecting EU and Japan? That's nonsense... America is the one creating wars all over the world. Sorry but the military-industrial complex is going out of control.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

It is time that Japan seriously got rid of these cancerous bases as should all other nation specially in the Middle East. Stop being used by these animals true freedom comes from your own destiny that means to be free from those who dictate orders. It is indeed a brave step but the cost will be much greater to leave this matter then to address it with those who are closer to your brothers then these foreigners. Start by passing a legisation with China truly the point should be for every nation to be free from these bases and outside (western) interference. Physically, financially and most of all by mind and soul....................never forget and never forgive.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I'm relieved that my safety is protected by the brave enlisted men and women of the US military - and I'm sure that they won't vacillate if and when the time comes to take action in defense of Japan. Maybe then the Japanese will wake up and realize how lucky they are to be protected by the most fearsome military force on the face of the Earth.

ROTFL. A Hymn of a Servant to his Masters. What is your job, perhaps, selling a toilet paper to americans nearby bases or polishing their boots, I wonder?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The central government of Tokyo and the people of Okinawa pay all the expenses for the US military. The US has a sweet deal where they don't even have to disclose information like Agent Orange still present there.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

America is protecting EU and Japan? That's nonsense... America is the one creating wars all over the world. Sorry but the military-industrial complex is going out of control.

America "creating" wars "all over the world." Boy! That is a hoot! America defends itself and its friends, yes. But, "creating" wars... that is just typical liberal America bashing thinking. Back to this article's topic: I would be fine with US military presence only being in the US but if that was the case then this would be a far different world and I don't mean for the better.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The central government of Tokyo and the people of Okinawa pay all the expenses for the US military. The US has a sweet deal where they don't even have to disclose information like Agent Orange still present there.<

And your evidence or source for this is?...

I'm glad to hear no one was killed and it seems the one injured will be okay. As someone who has served I can't help but sympathize a little with the family of those on the heli, however I can understand locals not liking Military presence in the area. The history has been rough and when reading about the cases of crime caused by US Military in the area, though not very common are still atrocious. Ideally I'd like to see a little more communication between the Base and local government however that isn't an easy thing to do.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Skipping Okinawa, Japan Inc. have been investing to SE Asian countries to enable them to prosper economically. Do they have US bases to protect from scare of neighbor China? Maybe they can;t have US bases because they can not afford to pay for US bases like Japan has been doing.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Thomas Anderson,

America is protecting EU and Japan? That's nonsense... America is the one creating wars all over the world. Sorry but the military-industrial complex is going out of control.

Not a joke.

What you say is true. Perfectly, horribly true.

Sorry about the guys in the helicopter, they didn't choose to come here, we didn't choose to have them. Sorry all round, really. Maybe we could all stop playing toy soldiers and try to get along.

As far as I know, Japan doesn't have an enemy.

And we certainly don't need the U.S.A. to give us one.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

ROTFL. A Hymn of a Servant to his Masters. What is your job, perhaps, selling a toilet paper to Americans nearby bases or polishing their boots, I wonder?

I suspect you are just about smart enough to realize that one doesn't need to have a base related job in order to appreciate the security the Americans provide for everyone living in Japan. They'd probably even save your ungrateful ass if it came down to it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well Said, Wooster San as usual I always enjoy and support your fine posts. I am sorry for the accident. The dangers of helos are many, an experienced helo pilot i know told me that to keep one flying you need another one on stand by...there is that much chance and risk of trouble. It might be wise to move the bases to a less populated area. I am sure everyone appreciates the good intentions of the US presence. I must however say sadly that yes much world trouble is caused by aggresive US actions in the past 15 or 30 years, the world would have been much more peaceful and safe without such. For now, i am glad to see this incident well covered and pretty well detailed in this case.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@Bigpoop-in: Now, it does not matter Okinawans oppose3 base or not. Okinawa has been missing its economical growth for years. Now, Japan Inc are helping SE Asian countries by making divisions and aids to countries.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Hope the crew survived unharmed.

Seeing how that's a rather common helicopter type it'll be even more important to investigate the cause of the accident to prevent future problems.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When we have Okinawa topics in any column, Gertie and Yubaru contribute thir valuable opinions. I appreciate; BTW where Yubaru disappeared? Hope all crews are OK by now.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

And, of course, if there were an act of aggression from one of Japan's neighbours, the first place to be hit would be Okinawa - because of the bases. For this reason, mainland Japan would rather have the bases as far away as possible - therefore they are here.

(snicker) And if the bases WEREN'T there, the first place to be hit would be... Okinawa - because it is the most remote of Japanese prefectures AND it would have no on-site protection AND it could be used as a base of operations to intercept any potential support for Japan from points South.

Once again Okinawans show an amazing penchant for shoving their heads in the sand and denying their little group of islands has significant strategic value simply because of where they are located.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Fadaqmor: Excellent comment!
-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is a rescue helicopter, one that people would want nearby and properly trained in case they need emergency rescuing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And your evidence or source for this is?... (from abhorsenaube_)

My sources are these: www.genuinesecurity.org/partners/report/Okinawa.pdf‎

and the governor of Okinawa, who has visited the US pleading his case. It's the same as in Korea. That is why you don't want to leave.

-Also, you can ask the US Commander in Okinawa, and he will tell you the US doesn't pay a dime.

The local government also pays for the cleanup and your churches in Okinawa.

-You are a modern Sparta, a military focused country.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@che che code: The above article stated "A HH-60 rescue helicopter crashed in a training area at Camp Hansen with four crew members on board, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement. " comment writers did not have to look all over. They know how to read articles/.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Once again Okinawans show an amazing penchant for shoving their heads in the sand and denying their little group of islands has significant strategic value simply because of where they are located.

Sorry but let me correct this for you here:

Once again Okinawan POLITICIANS and mainlanders who come down here to stir the pot of anti-base sentiments, show an amazing penchant for shoving their heads in the sand..........

Oh they also do this about anything else that doesnt go "their" way, and it isnt just base issues either.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the security the Americans provide for everyone living in Japan. They'd probably even save your ungrateful ass if it came down to it.

What? Which one "security" they "provide to everyone" living in Japan, huh? Stop living in deluded world and watch less hollywood movies where americans are constantly depicted as saviours of the World.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Fadamore (Aug. 06, 2013 - 03:05AM JST):

And if the bases WEREN'T there, the first place to be hit would be... Okinawa - because it is the most remote of Japanese prefectures AND it would have no on-site protection AND it could be used as a base of operations to intercept any potential support for Japan from points South*.

If remoteness from the mainland and no base were main reasons for a potential enemy to attack, then many island groups in Japan fall into that category. The Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands, are further from Honshu than the Ryukyu Islands and yet there are no U.S. bases there.

If your theory were correct, then these islands must be fortified by U.S. Occupation Forces just like Okinawa. But if they were, then the potential enemy would think the islands must be included as strategic targets for their attack.

Besides, we know it is not OKINAWA but the U.S. BASES that would be real targets for attack if conflicts really occurred.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

the security the Americans provide for everyone living in Japan. They'd probably even save your ungrateful ass if it came down to it.

And that's where the problem is. If the military is here for the security of everyone living in Japan, then everyone and more prefectures should share the cake'. Not just Okinawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope the hurt aircrew member is going to be ok. Its tough work keeping Japan free.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Besides, we know it is not OKINAWA but the U.S. BASES that would be real targets for attack if conflicts really occurred.

Exactly. Each base is a primary target zone for ballistic and cruise missiles. Depending of a certain circumstances, those missiles could be armed by conventional or nuclear warheads. By building military bases on occupied territories, Americans automatically put local population in a dangerous conditions.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

If remoteness from the mainland and no base were main reasons for a potential enemy to attack, then many island groups in Japan fall into that category. The Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands, are further from Honshu than the Ryukyu Islands and yet there are no U.S. bases there.

Pull out a map, use your head, and the answer will come to you, again, a poor attempt at obfuscating reality.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

che che cole,

Thank you for the excellent link:

http://www.genuinesecurity.org/partners/report/Okinawa.pdf

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

TheDevilsAssistant

If the military is here for the security of everyone living in Japan, then everyone and more prefectures should share the cake'. Not just Okinawa.

Certainly, if you completely ignore geography.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Certainly, if you completely ignore geography.

USNinJapan2,

No, I'm sure that with the superb technology of todays military capabilities compared to 50 years ago, the US can successfully and strategically place more of the bases on Mainland Japan with the same, or better strilke/protection capabilities.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I said "thrown out" not "jump out" there is a difference you misunderstood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All the bickering aside, there is no mention on what caused this accident.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TheDevilsAssistant,

I'm sure that with the superb technology of todays military capabilities compared to 50 years ago, the US can successfully and strategically place more of the bases on Mainland Japan with the same, or better strike/protection capabilities.

Yes, exactly. Or even in Mainland U.S.A.

Now, there's an idea!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

TheDevilsAssistant

No, I'm sure that with the superb technology of todays military capabilities compared to 50 years ago, the US can successfully and strategically place more of the bases on Mainland Japan with the same, or better strilke/protection capabilities.

You do understand that the U.S. forces in Okinawa are there not just for a Defense of Japan mission but for Defense of Taiwan and PRC containment missions too right? Having the forces we currently have in Okinawa is critical to these missions. Japan is a strategic partner preceisely because it understands and supports the U.S. in these other missions that contribute to (relative) stability in the region in which Japan exists.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I just want to throw out there that it wasn't an Osprey that crashed. It was a different platform helicopter. It seems like everyone wants to blame the Osprey for everything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some posters here seem to be mixing things up -- between an official matter and a personal one (as the case of individual crew members). Looking at the matter from an official aspect, it is simply this: "The HH-60 rescue helicopter crashed in a training area at Camp Hansen, a U.S. Marine Corps base in the town of Kin, with four crew members aboard."

The accident is one of the many that occur frequently in Okinawa. According to an official Okinawa Prefectural Government document, there have occurred 43 crashes involving U.S. military aircraft in the past 41 years since 1972. That means Okinawa residents are constantly being exposed to life-threatening accidents such as these for the sake of U.S. interests.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is a strategic partner preceisely because it understands and supports the U.S. in these other missions that contribute to (relative) stability in the region in which Japan exists.

Is it really that? Or is it that Japan understands the need for US forces fro protection, however they would rather have the "protection" far away from the mainland soil so the Okinawans can deal with it.

As I stated, with todays technology, the speed of military aircraft, ect, I dont see why these bases cannot be spread throughout mainland Japan. If NK or Russia were to attack mainland Japan, all these troops and equipment from Okinawa would need to transported to mainland? Sounds assinine to me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okinawans were never considered Japanese, so they get to deal with all the crap that have been put on their tiny islands.

As I stated, with todays technology, the speed of military aircraft, ect, I dont see why these bases cannot be spread throughout mainland Japan. If NK or Russia were to attack mainland Japan, all these troops and equipment from Okinawa would need to transported to mainland? Sounds assinine to me.

They don't actually need the bases, however they don't want to make America upset.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If NK or Russia were to attack mainland Japan, all these troops and equipment from Okinawa would need to transported to mainland?

I don't know for NK and see no reasons for Russian Federation to attack Japan. As for American bases in Okinawa, Russian Armed Forces can transform the whole Okinawa island into cloud of radioactive steam together with american bases in a few minutes since the very beginning of a possible World War III. During routine patrol routs, Russian Strategic bombers constantly fly around the whole Japanese Mainland, over international waters. That's why Americans with their military installations put Okinawans in danger .

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The accident is one of the many that occur frequently in Okinawa. According to an official Okinawa Prefectural Government document, there have occurred 43 crashes involving U.S. military aircraft in the past 41 years since 1972. That means Okinawa residents are constantly being exposed to life-threatening accidents such as these for the sake of U.S. interests.

And without a doubt Okinawan's are even more threatened and face a higher exposure to life-threatening acccidents by walking out the door and crossing the street and getting hit by an Okinawan driver.

Okinawan's kill each other more and have more accidents, fatal or otherwise, than all the accidents and incidents COMBINED throughout the history of the bases being here.

Ow wait...but that's OK, because their Japanese. (sarcasm)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

technosphere,

You are quite right, there is no reason for NK or Russia to attack Japan, nor China either, come to that.

Americans with their military installations put Okinawans in danger

Exactly.

VoiceofOkinawa says:

Okinawa residents are constantly being exposed to life-threatening accidents such as these for the sake of U.S. interests.

So, there is no reason for the US military to be here, exposing the local people to unnecessary dangers. Except, of course, that 70% of their costs are paid by the Japanese government.

From our taxes!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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