Asia Minute: Memorial Day and the Indo-Pacific

May 27, 2019

Credit Mark Herlihy / U.S. Air Force

President Trump is spending Memorial Day in Japan. He spent part of the day visiting U.S. forces there — a reminder of how many U.S. servicemen and women are spending this Memorial Day in the Asia Pacific.

The biggest overseas presence of U.S. military forces is in Japan.

There are seven U.S. bases or posts in the country — 3 for the Navy, 2 for the Air Force, and one apiece for the Army and the Marine Corps. U.S. Forces Japan says there are some 54,000 U.S. military personnel in the country — along with 42,000 dependents and 8,000 civilian Defense Department employees.

In South Korea, the U.S. army is dominant with a smaller presence of the Air Force and a much smaller contingent from the Navy and the Marine Corps. U.S. Forces Korea puts the total at 28,000 U.S. forces and civilian employees.

More than 9,000 U.S. military members are in Guam. Others rotate through Australia, the Philippines, Singapore and elsewhere.

And there are regular missions that move throughout the region — especially on and under the water.

All of this of course is headquartered in Hawaiʻi, what was formerly called Pacific Command, and is now called Indo-Pacific Command.

On this Memorial Day, it’s a reminder that their area of responsibility stretches from the west coast of the continental United States across to the Indian Ocean, or as some of the folks in the service like to say, “from Hollywood to Bollywood.”