Biden Thanks Yokota Airmen for Helping Japan

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, Aug. 24, 2011 — Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden thanked about 1,000 mil­i­tary and civil­ian per­son­nel from Japan’s Kan­to Plains here today for their role dur­ing Oper­a­tion Tomodachi, part­ner­ing with agen­cies world­wide to pro­vide assis­tance in the wake of the March 11 earth­quake and tsuna­mi.

The vice pres­i­dent stopped at Yoko­ta dur­ing his nine-day tour to Chi­na, Mon­go­lia and Japan, where he met with key lead­ers to dis­cuss a full range of bilat­er­al, region­al and inter­na­tion­al issues. “I’ve vis­it­ed mil­i­tary bases all over the world, and what you did here in Japan over the past few months is noth­ing short of astound­ing,” Biden said. “I come here for a sim­ple rea­son, on behalf of the pres­i­dent and myself, to say, ‘Thank you. Thank you not only for sav­ing thou­sands of lives. Thank you for mak­ing Amer­i­ca look as good as we are.’ ” 

The vice pres­i­dent shared about his pride in the ser­vice mem­bers for their role in aid­ing the peo­ple of Japan. 

“All the Amer­i­can peo­ple are in awe of what you do day in and day out, espe­cial­ly when you rise to the occa­sion of the most dif­fi­cult times,” he said. “You guys are awe-inspir­ing. You were part of the largest human­i­tar­i­an relief efforts in U.S. his­to­ry. It was a tru­ly mon­u­men­tal operation.” 

Biden not­ed the impor­tance of the rela­tion­ship between the Unit­ed States and Japan, and he told the ser­vice mem­bers and civil­ians they have an essen­tial role in that partnership. 

“The role you all play is going to become increas­ing­ly impor­tant, and our alliance with Japan will be more impor­tant than in the past,” he said. “It con­tin­ues to be absolute­ly crit­i­cal, and you are the glue that holds this all togeth­er. You’re the ones ensur­ing this alliance remains effective.” 

After his remarks, the vice pres­i­dent posed for pic­tures with ser­vice members. 

Air Force Staff Sgt. Ali­cia Greene, 374th Wing staff agency unit deploy­ment man­ag­er, said she appre­ci­at­ed Biden’s words of grat­i­tude and encour­age­ment. “It is real­ly great that Vice Pres­i­dent Biden took the time to come here and thank us for all that we did dur­ing Oper­a­tion Tomodachi,” she said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

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