PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., March 23, 2011 — U.S. Northern Command is leading “Pacific Passage,” an operation for the voluntary return of military family members from Japan in the aftermath of the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Northcom is the joint combatant command formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to provide homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.
U.S. Army North defense coordinating elements led by a defense coordinating officer in Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions 9 and 10 have established joint reception coordination centers, work closely with federal, state, tribal and local officials to determine unique Defense Department capabilities that may be needed to assist civil authorities.
Arrival locations have been established at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state and at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The arriving families, including their pets, are being met by military representatives from U.S. Army North, who help them with follow-on arrangements such as temporary lodging, food and other support requirements.
Air Forces Northern’s national security emergency preparedness directorate has deployed two emergency preparedness liaison officers to the Seattle-Tacoma airport and is ready to support with others if needed, officials said. Joint reception coordination centers have been set up at both locations.
Northcom’s Standing Joint Force Headquarters is on standby to establish an additional arrival location, as necessary, officials said.
More information on Pacific Passage and useful information for returning family members is available at http://www.northcom.mil/japan.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)