The PJ Tatler

Operation Tomodachi

Our troops, helping our friends in Japan.

Every day since an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami struck Japan on March 11, mobility airmen have been on a busy pace.

Every day since March 11, for example, reports show aircrew Airmen flying C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft moving cargo and personnel to support Operation Tomodachi – the operation designation for the Japan relief effort.

In a March 17 Department of Defense news report, President Barack Obama discussed the level of the aid effort by the U.S. military — including those by mobility Airmen.

“We are working aggressively to support our Japanese ally at this time of extraordinary challenge,” President Obama said in the DOD report. “Search and rescue teams are on the ground in Japan to help the recovery effort … The U.S. military, which has helped to ensure the security of Japan for decades, is working around the clock.

“We’ve flown hundreds of missions to support the recovery efforts, and distributed thousands of pounds of food and water to the Japanese people,” President Obama said.

An example of those “hundreds of missions” occurred March 17 when a C-17 from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, transported Japan Ground Self-Defense Force troops and vehicles from Okinawa to Yokota Air Base, Japan. Additionally, on March 15 at Misawa AB, Japan, one of many C-17s arriving there delivered passengers as well as pallets of humanitarian cargo that included bottled water and even diapers.

A news report by 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs at Misawa AB provided a hint to how busy the airfield there has been in support of Operation Tomodachi since March 11.

“As of March 16, the wing has played host to 36 different aircraft, including Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs, Boeing 767s and Navy C-2 Greyhounds,” the 35th FW report by Tech. Sgt. Philip Butterfield shows. “These aircraft have ferried in 329 passengers and 254 tons of cargo. Before they headed out, they drank up to 111,000 gallons of fuel.”