Via U.S. Pacific Command…

 

Members of the 15th Brigade, GSDF board a C-17 Globemaster III in Kadena, on their way to the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear emergency zone. US Ai Force photo, Tech. Sgt. Michael Tateishi, 18th Wing PA

Updated as of 5:21 a.m. HST March 19, 2011
An Operations Update on the Relief Effort in Japan

U.S. Air Force

  • Yokota received 2 Royal Thai AF C-130s.
  • Yokota continued receiving and delivering supplies vital to continuing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations throughout Japan to include delivering Marines and chemical suits to Yamagata, fuel to Sendai, medical supplies to Hanamaki and Sendai, a FARP mission to Yamagata, delivery of 5 pallets of Boron to Fukushima.
  • USAF MC-130 delivered 72K  pounds of JP-8 to Yamagata
  • USAF 5x C-130 delivered Boron to Hyakuri/blankets to Sendai/fuel to Misawa
  • USAF MC-130: 5 pallets of water from Atsugi to Matsushima
  • Royal Australian Air Force C-17 transported Japan Ground Self Defense Force pax/supplies/trucks from Kadena to Misawa
  • Sendai Airport is now cleared, and expect to receive C-17s soon. USAF Spec Ops cleared the tsunami stricken airfield and brought it back on-line in less than one week.
  • Yokota Aircraft (UH-1, C-12) are supporting DOE efforts to gather radiological data around the Fukushima nuclear plant.
  • Yokota delivered fuel bladders and gasoline to sustain Misawa AB ops.

U.S. Marine Corps

  • There are 554 III MEF/MCBJ personnel deployed in support of Operation Tomodachi.
  • Marines are located at MCAS Iwakuni, Yokota Air Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Camp Sendai, and Yamagata Air Field.
  • To date, III MEF has flown 223 sorties in support of Operation Tomodachi.

U.S. Army

  • 458 U.S. Army Japan personnel are supporting Operation Tomodachi.
  • USARJ deployed 2 Foreign Area Officers and 1 Operations NCO to join USFJ forward in Sendai. The foreign area officers speak Japanese and will be able to provide invaluable assistance to the JTF in coordinating relief efforts the North East Army of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force.
  • Sendai airport open to C-130s
  • 2,500 blankets delivered to Northeast Army
  • Initiating voluntary departures; guidelines issued for assembling and processing, to include luggage and pet information; pets will be evacuated
  • Two UH-60s deployed to Yamagata Air Field 10th Support Group, Torii Station, has deployed 25 Personnel USARJ is coordinating with the Sagamihara City community and JFLCC to deliver additional supplies to the disaster area – the city has collected donations of kerosene and food, but the current gas shortage halted delivery plans to Sendai.

U.S. Navy

  • Despite cold weather and aftershocks as strong as 6.1 in magnitude, 7th Fleet forces continued sustainment of life efforts in support of Operation Tomodachi.
  • A total of 12,750 personnel,  20 ships, and 140 aircraft are participating in Operation Tomodachi.  Seventh Fleet forces have delivered a total of 110 tons of relief supplies to date.
  • HSL-43 continued Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief efforts by delivering 29 tons of aid from ships of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group to locations ashore.  Helicopters rendered much needed materials to Hachinohe airport as well as landing zones that mark shelters for displaced persons.  Hachinohe serves as a staging point for further distribution of aid.
  • Food, water, and warm clothing continue to top the list of delivery priorities.  As large shipments of perishable food like hotdogs and hamburgers arrive for distribution, helicopter crews work closely amongst one another and Japan Ground Self Defense Force to ensure delivery to larger, more populated sites in order to avoid spoilage.
  • Helicopter crews reported that three sites visited today required no assistance – a positive sign that ground-based relief efforts are starting to meet the needs of displaced persons.  They also report an increased presence of Japan Ground Self Defense Force and medium to heavy equipment at such sites.
  • USS Tortuga (LSD 46) is off the coast of Hachinohe serving as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations.
  • USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) remained off the coast of Akita prefecture this afternoon.
  • Many families of Seventh Fleet Sailors in Yokosuka are making preparations to depart voluntarily as part of the Authorized Departure for Department of Defense personnel.
  • The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group to include the cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), and the combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) along with the guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) and cruiser USS Cowpens (CG-63)  continued operations off the east coast of Iwate Prefecture.
  • Ships report sighting much less debris at sea now, unlike a week ago when large debris fields as far as 20 nautical miles offshore made navigating around houses, shipping containers, capsized boats, and trees difficult.
  • Imagery analysts on USS Ronald Reagan carefully reviewed over 45,000 photographs taken by the Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) on F/A-18 aircraft, finding no “SOS” marks or other signals of distress, and no other groups of isolated people not already identified.
  • USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), flagship for the United States Seventh Fleet, remains in the vicinity of Okinawa to conduct transfers of supplies and personnel to augment the staff.
  • All Seventh Fleet ships, including USS George Washington and USS Lassen which are currently conducting maintenance in Yokosuka, are increasing their readiness posture in order to be prepared to conduct any tasking ordered.  This includes the recall of personnel and the cancellation of leave.
  • Two P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) conducted two aerial survey missions along the east and west coasts of Honshu today.

An Operations Update on the Relief Effort in Japan as of 3:52 a.m. HST March 18, 2011

USMC

  • A Forward Area Refueling Point (FARP) has achieved initial operational capability in Yamagata for use in the assistance operations. A FARP is a temporary facility normally located close to the area of operations that allows aircraft to conduct continuous operations without having to return to an established airport to obtain fuel. This capability enables helicopters to fly rescue and transport missions in austere environments.
  • Eight KC-130J cargo aircrafts from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and eight CH-46E Seas Knight helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265), MAG 36, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma have been made available to support Operation Tomodachi.  In addition, another KC-130T from MCAS Iwakuni has been made available. The 9 KC-130 cargos are currently basing out of MCAS Iwakuni, and the 8 CH-46s are basing out of NAF Atsugi.
  • To date, III MEF has flown 80 CH-46 sorties and 98 KC-130 sorties in support of Operation Tomodachi.
  • The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade is located at Yokota Air Base with U.S. Forces Japan, the lead U.S. military command coordinating relief efforts with the GOJ and the Japan Self-Defense Force. Marines have linked up with the Northeast Army of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force.
  • Four Humanitarian Assistance Survey Teams have been deployed to Honshu. These teams continue to assess damaged areas and help assist the GOJ with providing accurate information to disaster relief planners, both military and civilian. The HASTs are capable of distributing supplies and providing basic medical care for those in immediate need of aid.

USAF

  • Pacific Air Forces has moved 12 short tons of blankets from Yokota to Yamagata.
  • Airlifted 2 passengers and 6 short tons of filled fuel bladders from Kadena to Yokota.
  • Moved 44 passengers and 30 short tons of trucks and trailers to support JGSDF on C-17 from Kadena to Yokota.
  • Moved 2 passengers from the Dept. of Energy supporting sniffer mission from Yokota via Air Track back to Yokota.
  • Moved 21 passengers and 10 short tons supporting deployment from Kadena to Eielson

Overall:

  • PACAF has generated 79 sorties and moved more than 503 short tons and 324 passengers.
  • The Air Force has delivered food, water, blankets and generators and other relief supplies using a variety of aircraft to include C-130s, C-17s, KC-135s, and C-12s.
  • Yokota AB was identified as an interim landing site for 11 aircraft diverted from Narita International Airport.
  • Number of AF Personnel Deployed in Support of Relief Efforts:   310
  • Number of PACAF Aircraft Deployed in Support of Relief Efforts:   18

USN

  • At 2:46 p.m., U.S. Seventh Fleet personnel embarked on the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) along with Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel throughout Japan, observed a moment of silence marking one week since a 9.0 mega-earthquake struck off the eastern shore of Honshu.  The moment of silence also marked a transition in mission as Japan ended rescue efforts and took on a new mission of sustaining life.
  • Seventh Fleet remains committed to this relief effort, with 12,750 personnel, 20 ships, and 140 aircraft participating in Operation Tomodachi.  Seventh Fleet forces have delivered a total of 81 tons of relief supplies to date.
  • After offloading Japan Ground Self Defense Force personnel and vehicles in Ominato, USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed en route the vicinity of Hachinohe where she will serve as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations.  CH-53 Sea Stallion aircraft from HM-14 attached to Tortuga delivered 13 tons of humanitarian aid cargo, including 5,000 pounds of water and 5,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), to Yamada Station, 80 miles south of Misawa.
  • USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Akita prefecture this afternoon.  Marines of the 31st MEU continue have established a Forward Control Element (FCE) in Matsushima in order to coordinate disaster aid planning with officials already on scene.
  • The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group to include the cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), and the combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) along with the guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Mustin (89) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) continue Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief operations off the east coast of Iwate Prefecture.  Three U.S. Navy liaison officers are on JS Hyuga to coordinate U.S. operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense force leadership.
  • Helicopters from HS-4 and HSL-43 with the USS Ronald Reagan strike group, and HSL-51 from Carrier Airwing Five in Atsugi, delivered 28 tons of food, water, clothes, medicine, toiletries, baby supplies, and much needed kerosene to displaced persons at fifteen relief sites ashore. For two of the relief sites serviced today, it was the first humanitarian aid they have received since the tsunami a week ago.  Eight of the sites serviced made requests for specific aid, including a need for a medical professional.
  • Carrier Airwing Five (CVW-5) completed the relocation of 14 rotary-wing aircraft normally assigned to USS George Washington from Naval Air Faculty (NAF) Atsugi to Misawa Air Base in northern Honshu. The aircraft are now positioned for quick response to humanitarian mission in northeastern Honshu. Additionally, CVW-5 tactical aircraft which are non-essential to the relief mission have been relocated to bases in Okinawa and Guam in order to open ramp space at Atsugi.
  • USS Cowpens (CG-63) continued its northerly track to rendezvous with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.  Cowpens is expected to join the Strike Group overnight. USS Shiloh (CG-67) got underway from Yokosuka to deliver relief supplies to the Strike Group.
  • USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), flagship for the United States Seventh Fleet, remained in the vicinity of Okinawa to conduct transfers of supplies and additional personnel to augment the staff.
  • Two P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) conducted two aerial survey missions or ports and airfields in northern Honshu today. CTF-72 embarked two liaison officers from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force on each mission. Aerial imagery captured on these missions is shared with Japan.  VP-4 has established a detachment in Misawa with two aircraft and four aircrews.
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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch