Camp Lester Marine Corps Base in Chatan Town
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Camp Lester Marine Corps Base in Chatan Town, Japan US Military Bases in Japan
Camp Lester is one of the military installations owned by the United States of America in Japan. Just like many other facilities, it is located in the Okinawa island, in Chatan Town. It is on the coastline and has a direct contact with the East China Sea. The base is also referred to as Camp Kuwea. It was called this way for around three decades, therefore the natives or the older military troops still call it that way. The new name was given in the memory of Fred Faulkner Lester, one of the heroes who fought during the battle of Okinawa. The installation is better known for the local hospital it hosts.
Camp Lester was taken over by the United States of America after the troops took over the Okinawa island. It was a long and harsh battle. Dozens of acts of heroism were seen during those times and many Medals of Honor were given away. Unfortunately for the receivers, most of them received these awards posthumously. Multiple installations were established in the area to secure the island.
Some of the facilities on site were built under the SOFA agreement, another contract that implies the joint use. This means both the American and the Japanese forces have access to these facilities. Besides, the USA are supposed to slowly leave the area and hand it over to the Japanese government in time, in order to reduce the military presence when no longer needed. As a matter of fact, the military activities in Japan are almost null now. Some of the bases are slowly turning into civilian communities, while others adopt a standby position.
The local hospital is currently the largest of its kind in the United States Navy. It is a great health care center and not just for the military troops deployed in the Pacific, but also for their families and civilian workers or contractors. There are plenty of housing facilities, a town hall, a school, traditional restaurants and snack bars and a multitude of recreational sites, such as a community club, a society center, skate parks, a football field and basketball courts. The authorities plan on building a huge complex in the area, therefore some of the facilities were moved in the nearby military installations. This action proves once again how tightly connected the military installations in Japan are. The new complex at Camp Lester is supposed to mostly concentrate on more housing facilities.
United States Naval Hospital Okinawa is the largest tenant at Camp Lester. It is responsible for most troops and families deployed in the Pacific. It is the most important hospital in the United States Navy. However, this is not the only tenant. There are plenty of units and commands that decided to host the headquarters at Camp Lester. Therefore, the base is a center of multiple commands and leadership units.