Face of Defense: Marine Aids Japan Relief Effort

SENDAI, Japan, April 8, 2011 — Marine Corps Cpl. Tori K. Tade­hara was a pas­sen­ger in the back of a 7‑ton car­go truck head­ed back to tem­po­rary bil­let­ing where he would be able to catch a few hours of sleep before hit­ting the road again.
The night’s tem­per­a­ture was a chilly 15 degrees Fahren­heit. The dark was bro­ken only by the glow of the trucks’ head­lights in the con­voy. The head­light beams seeped through the holes and cracks in the can­vas that served as the only bar­ri­er between the Marines and the cold night air.

Tade­hara, a heavy equip­ment mechan­ic, was return­ing to his base here after drop­ping off kerosene to Japan­ese cit­i­zens liv­ing in areas hard­est hit by the March 11 earth­quake and tsunami. 

“Kerosene is how they heat their homes, it’s how they stay warm at night,” said Marine Corps 1st Lt. Eric Harley, a pla­toon com­man­der with Task Force Fuji. Tade­hara said the cold weath­er here was noth­ing new to him, but main­land Japan’s moist air was a reminder for him of how far away from home he was. 

“I grew up in Salt Lake City, so I’m used to the cold,” Tade­hara said. “There is more mois­ture in the air here though; it chills the air a lot more than the dry cold.” The con­voy was pass­ing through vil­lages com­plete­ly destroyed by the March 11 dis­as­ter. Recip­i­ents of the kerosene sup­plies the con­voy car­ried had lost every­thing and were liv­ing in shel­ters set up by the Japan­ese government. 

“Some of the vil­lages had noth­ing left but the foun­da­tions of hous­es,” Harley said. “When we got into those vil­lages, we’d be dri­ving along, and there’d be a 40-foot yacht in the mid­dle of the road. It was startling.” 

The impor­tance of the Marines’ dis­as­ter-relief work in Japan becomes vivid­ly appar­ent, Tade­hara said, when the con­voy stops and deliv­ers its sup­plies of fuel. “When I got to go out and see the end result and con­tribute to the Japan­ese civil­ians –- see the lit­tle kids smile -– it was all worth it,” he said. Tade­hara said he feels lucky to be one of the few who can go out and help the victims. 

“A lot of peo­ple real­ly want to go and help. I’ve talked to one of my Japan­ese friends, a fire­fight­er on Camp Fuji, and he was real­ly pas­sion­ate about try­ing to come with us,” Tade­hara said. “So, I feel very for­tu­nate to be out here.” 

Tade­hara said friends in the Unit­ed States also have expressed their desire to come to Japan and help out. “I’ve talked to my judo sen­sei that is back in the states, and he real­ly want­ed to come here and help,” Tade­hara said. “He wants every­one to know that the Japan­ese will pull through, that they are strong.” 

Serv­ing in the Marine Corps, Tade­hara said he had the train­ing and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go into the heart of the dis­as­ter area and help those who need­ed it most. “When I joined, I had the intent of serv­ing my coun­try hon­or­ably. I nev­er knew I was going to be in Japan help­ing out the Japan­ese peo­ple and being an ambas­sador, but I’m very proud that I am,” he said. 

As the con­voy returns to the Japan­ese mil­i­tary base pro­vid­ing tem­po­rary lodg­ing for the Marines, Tade­hara said he is grate­ful for the warmth and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get a few hours of sleep. 

But he said he’s also look­ing for­ward to get­ting back on the road to deliv­er sup­plies the next day. 

“I just want to get my feet warm and my body rest­ed, so I can hit it full speed tomor­row,” Tade­hara said. 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →