NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – A squadron of U.S. Marine Corps helicopters returned Friday morning to the Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, after duties in Iraq.
Among the squadron were helicopters of the same type as one that in August crashed into a university campus adjacent to air station.
The 20 helicopters of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit that returned to the air station will be used for training and other missions, U.S. military officials said earlier.
The Ginowan Municipal and Okinawa Prefectural governments plan to protest to U.S. military authorities, because they had demanded that the helicopters and the unit not return to Okinawa — a move expected to further fuel local resentment.
The U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa rescheduled the arrival time of the helicopters from noon to morning in consideration of Okinawa International University’s afternoon entrance ceremony.
A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53D helicopter crashed on Aug. 13 into the university campus, injuring the three crew members on board.
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