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Military Gears Up to Help Japan

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2011 – U.S. forces are swinging into action to assist Japan in the wake of a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck early this morning.

“We are assessing the situation and positioning forces so that they are ready to respond and provide disaster relief if directed,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Japan has requested U.S. assistance through the State Department.

The USS Tortuga, in Sasebo, Japan, is preparing to load landing craft and to leave for the disaster areas as early as this evening.

The USS Essex, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, this morning. The ship is preparing to depart as early as this evening.

The USS Blue Ridge, in Singapore, is taking on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies and preparing to depart tomorrow morning.

The USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, at sea in the western Pacific on its way to Korea, can respond if directed.

“We are watching the situation closely and will adjust the track as required,” Hull-Ryder said.

Earthquake impacts on 7th Fleet, with headquarters in Yokosuka, Japan, include the following:

-- Ships in port in Yokosuka stationed linehandlers to adjust to water-level changes in Yokosuka harbor. No damage has been reported to any of the ships.

-- Ships in Guam have been directed to leave if possible, or to recall personnel and adjust lines during changes in sea level.

-- Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force headquarters in Misawa was briefly evacuated. It is without power and operating from a generator.

-- Amphibious Force headquarters in White Beach, Okinawa, moved its watch to higher ground at Kadena Air Base in preparation for a forecasted tsunami.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the past two days, beginning on March 9 with a 7.2 magnitude quake 25 miles from today’s earthquake, and continuing with another three earthquakes greater than magnitude 6.0 on the same day.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Eva Beach, Hawaii, has issued a tsunami warning.

“A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii,” the warning says. “Action should be taken to protect lives and property.”

The zone that produced today’s earthquake has produced nine temblors of magnitude 7 or greater since 1973. The largest was a December 1994 magnitude 7.8 earthquake 160 miles north of today’s quake that killed three people and injured nearly 700.

President Barack Obama issued a statement this morning pledging any help Japan may need from the United States and announcing that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing for potential tsunami-response operations in the United States and its territories.

"Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis,” the statement said. “The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.

“The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy,” Obama added. “We will continue to closely monitor tsunamis around Japan and the Pacific going forward, and we are asking all our citizens in the affected region to listen to their state and local officials as I have instructed FEMA to be ready to assist Hawaii and the rest of the U.S states and territories that could be affected."

Americans in affected areas who need to contact the State Department can do so by e-mail to japanemergencyusc@state.gov or Pacifictsunamiusc@state.gov. The State Department also is posting the latest travel information for the affected areas on the World Wide Web and via Twitter.

 

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Comments

Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

3/11/2011 8:04:39 PM
It was a sad day today for me. I was stationed in Japan in the 70's and liked the Japanese people. Like all civilized people, if you treat them with respect and dignity they return the same. I am glad to read that our military is coming to the aid of an ally in their time of need. I'm sure they would do the same for us. Wes USMC 75-79
- Wes, Michigan, USA

3/11/2011 5:04:56 PM
Please can I have an update on the status of the USS Boxer? Thank you
- Sally Payne-Ott, Salida, Ca

3/11/2011 2:48:48 PM
Cathy, the USS Germantown is fine and is being used for humanitarian efforts. i have included a link with a list of ships that are being utilized in japan. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/11/live-blog-japan-earthquake/?hpt=T1 God bless
- April, Kentucky

3/11/2011 2:25:13 PM
God Bless all of you who are working so hard today. I ask the Lord to look over you and help. I,ll be keeping you in my Prayers tonight.Ramona.
- chosenone, mobile al

3/11/2011 2:15:34 PM
Please give us an update on our servicemen/women in Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa, Japan.
- Christina, Memphis, TN

3/11/2011 1:36:14 PM
U.S. MUST tighten its military defense in Sea of Japan. Vast amount of Japanese Self Defense Force is being shifted toward the hot area, leaving the China side vulnerable. Any country could take advantage of this situation and attack Japan. US-Japan Security Treaty has to put into action NOW.
- Nijitoshi Nakajima, United States of America

3/11/2011 12:31:45 PM
I am so proud to be an American right now. In the midst of tragedy our men and women go to help out. It was need to see the news reports of many of the navy ships loading up on supplies to help. THANK YOU!!!!
- Eric, Oregon

3/11/2011 12:30:44 PM
There was no mention of the USS McCampbell where my son is currently located.
- Leslie Cirelli Arm, Roanoke, VA

3/11/2011 12:05:35 PM
Thank you for the update. I would like to hear any news regarding the USS Germantown. I have a son that should be working on that ship. Thank you.
- Cathy Bock, Hickory, NC

3/11/2011 11:29:08 AM
Thanks very much for the information in the article. There was no mention of the USS Germantown for which we have personal concern. Can you provide any information regarding the USS Germantown and it's personnel?
- Adam White, Walker, LA

3/11/2011 11:17:29 AM
Please post on the Facebook page as to the safety and condition of our family members serving at the air base in Japan. Their families need to know from you and not just count on reports from other families...you are dropping the ball on this. You should have been out ahead of this letting families and the public know that are people are all ok.
- Mike, USA

3/11/2011 9:29:23 AM
I am really glad to see this news. A Japanese media said the Japanese government already made a request.
- Sayuri, washington dc

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