MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Edward D. Banta, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Command (MCICOM), visited Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, to conduct his first command tour of the installation July 23, 2019.
The purpose of the tour was to access the air station’s readiness capability first hand as the newest commanding general of MCICOM, as well as to discuss issues enlisted Marines face in their day-to-day life.
“I feel it’s always good for higher ups to come and sit down for a one-on-one, Marine-to-Marine discussion,” said Lance Cpl. Robert Lendabarker, a physical security specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS).
After Banta sat and talked with the Marines, he and the senior leadership with MCICOM and MCAS Iwakuni made a surprise trip to one of the barracks on the base to see first-hand how the single, enlisted Marines live in Iwakuni.
“It shows that our commanding general and sergeant major have a genuine concern for the issues that were brought to their attention,” said Lendabarker. “It makes a lot of people feel like they have a voice that can be heard.”
Some issues the Marines addressed to Banta were the small kitchens that couldn’t handle the high demand of Marines that use them, washers and dryers not being repaired in a timely manner, and humidity issues in the barracks.
Banta didn’t just focus his attention on junior enlisted Marines. He spoke to leadership at the Iwakuni Naval Family Branch Clinic about the water problems that are preventing the clinic from caring for pregnant women. He also spoke to civilian contractors about their spouses not being able to receive treatment on the air station.
Banta also toured the air traffic control tower, the base clinic, harbor operations and the emergency operations center.
“As America takes its focus off of the Middle East and begins focusing on the Pacific region, it’s important to understand the strategic location of MCAS Iwakuni,” said Banta to the Marines.
Banta also said MCAS Iwakuni is practically a brand new base if one were to see the difference between today and twenty years ago, and that the upgrades were built for the Marines here.. He wants them to be as comfortable as possible in their training and home life so they can be ready to fight tonight if needed.