U.S. Troops Continue Relief Efforts in Japan

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2011 — U.S. troops con­tin­ue to lend a help­ing hand to Japan today, com­mit­ting dozens air­craft along with thou­sands of Marines and sailors to Oper­a­tion Tomodachi in the past 48 hours, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.
About 17,000 U.S. mil­i­tary mem­bers and more than 100 air­craft are involved or pre­pared to assist in relief oper­a­tions in Japan, Defense Depart­ment offi­cials said, and 14 ships from the U.S. 7th Fleet are sup­port­ing relief efforts.

About 4,000 Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit and Amphibi­ous Squadron 11 arrived off the coast of west­ern Japan yes­ter­day. The troops are capa­ble of deliv­er­ing relief sup­plies by ground and air, pro­vid­ing med­ical assis­tance, trans­porta­tion assets and engi­neer­ing equipment. 

More than a dozen air­craft relo­cat­ed yes­ter­day to Naval Air Facil­i­ty Mis­awa in north­ern Japan from Naval Air Facil­i­ty Atsu­gi and Kade­na Air Base in south­ern Japan. A total of 13 heli­copters and about 500 sailors are repo­si­tioned to Mis­awa, near­ly dou­bling the base’s Navy population. 

Ships from the USS Essex Amphibi­ous Ready Group arrived off the coast of west­ern Japan yes­ter­day with more than 150 amphibi­ous vehi­cles and 25 air­craft. The ships are pro­vid­ing fresh water, med­ical sup­port, search-and-res­cue sup­port, heavy lift capa­bil­i­ties and amphibi­ous aircraft. 

The USS Tor­tu­ga deliv­ered 93 vehi­cles and 273 Japan­ese sol­diers ashore by land­ing craft March 17 near Omi­na­to in north­ern Japan. The ship is dis­trib­ut­ing 5,000 bot­tles of water and 5,000 meals to Mis­awa for fur­ther distribution. 

The amphibi­ous dock land­ing ship USS Ger­man­town in the Sea of Japan received 85 pal­lets of food and fuel March 17 from var­i­ous relief organizations. 

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

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