U.S. Forces Provide Relief Aid to Japan

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2011 — U.S. mil­i­tary forces are work­ing along­side their Japan­ese coun­ter­parts to pro­vide aid as the coun­try digs out in the after­math of the mas­sive 8.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake and tsuna­mi that struck March 11.
“Because of the long­stand­ing and close work­ing rela­tion­ship between the U.S. mil­i­tary and its Japan­ese coun­ter­parts on a dai­ly basis, the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary has human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance capa­bil­i­ties posi­tioned in the affect­ed regions that are ready to sup­port emer­gency relief efforts and min­i­mize human suf­fer­ing,” U.S. Ambas­sador to Japan John V. Roos said in a state­ment to the media yes­ter­day.

Dubbed Oper­a­tion Tomodachi — Japan­ese for “friend­ship” — U.S. mil­i­tary assets mobi­liz­ing in the area include a wide range of equip­ment, air, sea, and ground capa­bil­i­ty and expertise. 

“We have units from all of our ser­vices, with a mul­ti­tude of capa­bil­i­ties, from med­ical to com­mu­ni­ca­tions to civ­il engi­neer­ing, poised and ready to sup­port where need­ed,” Roos said. 

Yoko­ta Air Base in Japan was instru­men­tal in recov­er­ing air­line traf­fic in the hours imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the earth­quake, Roos said. Also, Yoko­ta is being used as an alter­nate air­field for planes that can­not land at Tokyo’s Nari­ta Air­port. The air base is also pro­vid­ing food and shel­ter for dis­placed Japan­ese, accord­ing to reports. 

U.S. Air Force and Marine heli­copter and trans­port air­craft were moved from Oki­nawa to the U.S. mil­i­tary bases on Honshu. 

Two SH-60 Sea­hawk heli­copters from the U.S. Naval Air Facil­i­ty Atsu­gi have already deliv­ered 1,500 pounds of rice and bread to peo­ple in the town of Shi­roishi, in one of the worst-hit parts of Japan, accord­ing to reports. 

Marines and sailors from III Marine Expe­di­tionary Force are sup­port­ing relief oper­a­tions and its sub­or­di­nate units are pro­vid­ing com­mand and con­trol, avi­a­tion and logis­tics sup­port, accord­ing to Marine Corps officials. 

The troops are capa­ble of pro­vid­ing food, water, trans­porta­tion and oth­er relief support. 

The prox­im­i­ty of avi­a­tion assets at Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Futen­ma in Oki­nawa has allowed Marines from III MEF to quick­ly deploy crit­i­cal­ly need­ed sup­plies and aid to areas that need it most, offi­cials said. 

“In a mat­ter of hours sup­plies, gear and man­pow­er began flow­ing into main­land Japan with more to fol­low,” said Marine Lt. Col. Karl C. Rohr, the assis­tant chief of staff of cur­rent oper­a­tions for III MEF

Yes­ter­day, CH-46E Sea Knight heli­copters with Marine Medi­um Heli­copter Squadron 265, III MEF, depart­ed Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Futen­ma bound for Naval Air Facil­i­ty Atsu­gi on main­land Japan. 

A squadron from Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Yuma in Ari­zona also has been tapped to help with the relief efforts. 

The air­craft car­ri­er USS Ronald Rea­gan is now off the coast of Japan’s main island of Hon­shu and the USS Tor­tu­ga is expect­ed to arrive today. 

Accord­ing to reports, the Rea­gan is serv­ing as place for Japan­ese heli­copters to land and refu­el. There are two escort ships with the Rea­gan and four more destroy­ers on the way to con­duct search and res­cue, accord­ing to reports. 

The Tor­tu­ga is loaded with two heavy lift MH-53 Sea Stal­lion heli­copters. The USS Essex, an amphibi­ous ship car­ry­ing a 31st Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit is still a cou­ple days away. The USS Blue Ridge, a com­mand ship loaded with relief sup­plies, has left Sin­ga­pore but it will get to Japan after Essex. 

The U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobil­i­ty Com­mand forces are poised to sup­port relief oper­a­tions in Japan, accord­ing to AMC officials. 

Numer­ous AMC air­craft and crews have been placed on alert, accord­ing to offi­cials, posi­tion­ing forces to take-off with­in hours of receiv­ing the call to sup­port the human­i­tar­i­an relief effort. 

Tanker and air­lift air­craft are includ­ed in the alert pos­ture. Forces from the 615th Con­tin­gency Response Wing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., are poised to deploy to open and oper­ate air­fields and receive and off-load human­i­tar­i­an relief sup­plies, accord­ing to a release. 

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 →