By Cpl. Jessica Collins, III Marine Expeditionary Force
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Japan --
Four MV-22 Ospreys left the Philippines April 17, transited through Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and arrived at MCAS Iwakuni to assist with recovery efforts within seven hours in support of the Government of Japan’s relief efforts after the island of Kyushu was hit by a series of earthquakes, causing significant damage and up to 40 deaths.
“The people here in Okinawa deserve great credit for their support to our current efforts to save lives,” said Brig. Gen. Joaquin F. Malavet, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “We are mindful that Okinawa graciously hosts Marine Corps personnel and aircraft, including the very capable MV-22 Ospreys. Our Marines, with the MV-22, have delivered essential life-saving aid with speed to reduce human suffering after the recent devastating earthquakes in Kyushu. We remain thankful for the kind spirit and the support we receive here in Okinawa which enable our rapid lifesaving responses."
The Ospreys, with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, III Marine Expeditionary Force, delivered water, blankets, toiletries and other supplies to Hakusui Sports Park in Minamiaso Village, Kumamoto April 18.
“Our bases and stations, including Marine Corps Air Stations Futenma and Iwakuni, enable the strategic launch and recovery of civilian and military capabilities to save lives and to preserve regional peace, stability and security, and we are seeing that in action now,” said Malavet. “This is the 17th time we have contributed to international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region just since 2005, and we are proud to help our friends and neighbors in their time of need.”
The 31st MEU sent four additional MV-22B Ospreys through MCAS Futenma to MCAS Iwakuni April 18. The aircraft are also providing aerial support for recovery efforts, including supplying the mountain village of Minami-ago, cut off from ground resupply by landslides.
“The strategic location of MCAS Futenma makes it an ideal location to meet our mission requirements across Japan and the Asia-Pacific region,” said Lee. “We are and will remain ready to provide virtually any level of support to one of our closest partners - Japan."
U.S. military support is provided at the request of the Government of Japan and is in support of efforts undertaken by the Japan Self-Defense Force.
“We express our deepest condolences to all of those affected by the recent earthquakes in Kyushu,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. John Dolan, commander of U.S. Forces, Japan. “We are working closely with the Government of Japan to provide assistance and support.”
MCAS Futenma’s and MCAS Iwakuni’s forward presence allows USFJ to respond rapidly to natural disasters like the most recent one in Kyushu, Japan.
The 31st MEU is operating out of MCAS Iwakuni due to the close proximity of the air station to the affected areas around Kumamoto.
“To the people of Japan and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies,” said Dolan. “The men and women of U.S. Force, Japan stand with you during this difficult time.”
Marine Corps Installations Pacific enables the strategic launch and recovery of military capabilities to save lives and to preserve regional peace, stability and security.