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    Friday, December 14, 2018-1:27:48P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Pagan has 8 residents

NORTHERN Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan said the island of Pagan which is being considered in the CNMI Joint Military Training EIS/OEIS, along with Tinian, has eight residents.

“There are still eight residents on Pagan,” said Mayor Aldan.

He said those who joined him for the inauguration ceremonies returned to the island.

Pagan was a thriving Japanese community before WWII.

Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan, left, fields questions from the media  as Marine Forces Pacific executive director Craig B. Whelden listens at the Office of the Northern Islands Mayor on Capital Hill, Tuesday.  Photo by Alexie Villegas ZotomayorNorthern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan, left, fields questions from the media as Marine Forces Pacific executive director Craig B. Whelden listens at the Office of the Northern Islands Mayor on Capital Hill, Tuesday. Photo by Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

Some of the pre-war residents have written about their island life on Pagan and have now been immortalized online through www.paganislandinthedistance.com/.

A major volcanic eruption in 1981 led to the evacuation of residents.

Currently, residents can return to Pagan on the condition that they have a plan to get there, have 24/7 communication available and be able to evacuate upon notice.

Pagan, with one of the most active volcanoes of the 14 islands that comprise the CNMI, is currently being considered by the U.S. military for combined-level training and a full spectrum of weapons and joint-training activities.

A siting study showed that of the islands north of Saipan, only Pagan could provide support for naval-gunfire training and aviation-ordnance-delivery training.

Mayor Jerome Aldan told the media Tuesday that he was enlightened by visiting Marine Forces Pacific executive director Craig B. Whelden with respect to the plans for Pagan.

He said they would let the ongoing environmental study take its course.

In the meantime, Mayor Aldan is encouraging the public to be more active and participate in public hearings.

He said, “I want the public to come out to thec hearings so they can raise their concerns.”

The Marine Forces Pacific will be holding public hearings again following the release of the draft CJMT EIS/OEIS in April 2015.

Major General Whelden said they may schedule another three public meetings to gather input from the public so they can better shape the alternatives to meet the needs of the community.

Whelden also said that he looks forward to having ad hoc meetings with Northern Islands residents.

In their meeting with Pagan residents last year, Marine Forces Pacific’s Defense Policy Review Initiative Planning Group Operations Officer Tim Roberts said that Pagan is a critical piece in the military’s overall training plan in the Western Pacific.

A siting study revealed that the U.S. Pacific Command has 62 unfilled training requirements in the Western Pacific; hence, the decision to work on an environmental impact study on the potential locations for training grounds.

“Tinian cannot meet all the requirements that we have,” said Roberts.

He added that Pagan alone cannot meet all of these requirements either.

Pagan will provide the U.S. military an integration between air and ground combat elements.

The walk-through trip to Pagan with the MARFORPAC will be coordinated through proper channels.

Major General Whelden said they will channel this through the Office of the Governor and Mayor Aldan’s office.

No other details are available at this time.