Camp Lester Marine Corps Base is a military facility located in Chatan Town, a place in the Nakagami District of the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. Also known as Camp Kuwae, this base runs along the coastline area that faces the East China Sea. Although, Camp Lester Marine Corps Base is one of several other military facilities that the United States has on the island of Okinawa, the facility is renowned by the U.S. Army Hospital constructed there between 1954 and 1958.

Nowadays, Camp Lester Marine Corps Base is honored to host the largest overseas naval medical facility serving 5,000 beneficiary civilian employees, contractors, retirees and active duty staff and their families in Japan, and another 189,000 beneficiaries along the whole Western Pacific. Camp Kuwae's U.S. Naval Okinawa Hospital, as it is commonly referred by native residents, is one of the most advanced health care centers in the world.

Actually, there are ongoing negotiations with the Armed Forces of Japan to reduce the presence of U.S. Troops in the military bases throughout Okinawa, including the personnel at Camp Lester Marine Corps Base, which is jointly operated by Air Force and Navy staff.

Cost of Living: The cost of living on the island of Okinawa is usually lower than in any other place in Japan, but consumer prices are 0.98% lower in the United States, if compared with Japan. Actual salaries in Okinawa area also low, same as in other important Japanese cities including Osaka and Tokyo, the most expensive cities in the country.

Automated Telephone Attendant Number: The Information Desk is available 24 hours a day from military phones anywhere in the Pacific area, just dial 646-7555. From the USA, call 01181-98-971-7555. Outside the Pacific, the contact number is (315) 646-7555. Off base and cell phones, please dial 098-971-7555. Interactive Customer Evaluation is at DSN 315-646-7555.

Base Population: The population of American troops in Okinawa has turned into a major concern for the Japanese government, requesting the reduction of American U.S. Army personnel in the area, which makes the base population uncertain in the short term and varies so it is difficult to provide an estimate on base population.

City/Area Population: Chatan is an Okinawan town, with a population that roughly rose to 28,299 people. However, the nearby City of Okinawa is the second largest city in Okinawa Prefecture, with an estimated population of 138,431 inhabitants.

Child Development Centers: Camp Lester Marine Corps Base has many Child Development Centers, schools and children-oriented program inside the base, at the hospital and in the surrounding area.

Youth Programs: Youth programs, Youth Sponsorship and medical training for young people are available through the U.S. Naval Okinawa Hospital at Camp Lester Marine Corps Base.

Family Readiness Center: For information on Family Readiness Centers, please call the MCFTB (Marine Corps Family Team Building) at the local Office Manager, phone 645-3689; Family Readiness Program Trainer, 645-3817. Camp Lester Base Operator phone number is 640-1110.

Employment: Employment opportunities at the base and the U.S. Naval Okinawa Hospital are available through the federal jobs bulletin board, or call the Office of Employment at Camp Lester, phone 643-7399.

Base Services: There are many top-notch services in and around Camp Lester Marine Corps Base, so people arriving here from the USA feel at home. Chatan is commonly referred to as "an Americanized" town that drives many tourists every year.


Camp Lester Marine Corps Base was an already-existing place as an isolated field hospital organized into Quonset huts by the end of the World War II. Eventually, the United States took over Okinawa and soon after the construction of Camp Kuwae Medical Center started. Commissioned in 1958, the hospital was later expanded to be a 700-bed facility for the attention of military members and their families.

However, it was not until 1982 that the dedication of the U.S. Naval Okinawa took place and Camp Kuwae was renamed Camp Lester to honor the memory or Medal of Honor recipient Hospital Apprentice 1st Class Fred Faulkner Lester, who died of his wounds, refusing to receive attention prior to other soldiers in need of medical care.

Units: More than active units or troops, Camp Lester Marine Corps Base usually houses a large number of patients coming from medical attention.

Housing: Housing additions are planned for Camp Lester to benefit the personnel that work here. Nonetheless, there are many housing facilities in and around the camp's area.






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