Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps activated Base Camp Blaz in Guam on Thursday.
According to the Marines, this is the first new Marine Corps base the branch has activated since 1952, when it commissioned Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia.
MCB Camp Blaz will be home to about 5,000 Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force, who will begin relocating from Okinawa, Japan, in the next few years.
The base camp is named after the late Brig. Gen. Vincente "Ben" Tomas Garrido Blaz, the first Chamorro person -- that is, the first member of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands that include Guam -- to attain the rank of general officer in the Marines.
After 29 years in the Marine Corps, Blaz went on to serve as Guam's delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for four consecutive terms.
"As the Marine Corps presence on Guam grows, I am confident that we will live up to our motto of honor, courage, and commitment -- we will honor the history of the island of Guam, we will have the courage to defend it, and we will remain committed to preserving its cultural and environmental resources," said Col. Bradley M. Magrath, the first base commander of MCB Camp Blaz.
The formal establishment of the base is an administrative action that honors an international agreement with Japan while securing a geographically distributed Marine Corps presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
During an address to the Modern Day Marine conference at the end of September, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said the Marines need to be spread across a wider area in the Indo-Pacific.
The Marine Corps plans to hold an activation ceremony for the newest base in spring 2021.