16 Apr 2013

CNMI on course for US military firing ranges

2:07 pm on 16 April 2013

A marine executive says military firing ranges on Tinian and Pagan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are a certainty despite the opposition of residents.

Hawaii-based Marine Forces Pacific executive director Craig B. Whelden says under the 2010 Record of Decision, the military can build four live-fire training ranges on Tinian.

The plans include a platoon battle course, an automated firearms qualification course and rifle ranges.

Two-thirds of Tinian is leased to the United States military.

The Saipan Tribune reports Tinian could have 200 to 300 US Marines at any given week but the military could develop the training areas to accommodate as many as 1,000 troops.

The latest plan also includes using Pagan, indicating the military could lease a large portion of the island to train troops.