Photo Information

U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Japan Self-Defense Force members deliver earthquake relief supplies to Hakusui Sports Park in island of Kyushu, Japan April 19, 2016. The supplies are in support of the relief effort after a series of earthquakes struck the island of Kyushu. The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU and remains the Marine Corps' force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Photo by Cpl. Samantha Villarreal

Marines, JSDF continue Japan earthquake relief from sea

20 Apr 2016 | Capt. Jennifer Giles 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

Four MV-22B Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, completed the second day of disaster relief operations using bilateral naval integration in support Joint Task Force Chinzei, led by the Japan Self-Defense Force, after the island of Kyushu was hit by a series of earthquakes. 

The Ospreys flew from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181) afloat off the coast of Yatsushiro, picking up approximately 27,000 pounds of relief supplies from the ship. 

“Our ability to seamlessly integrate with the JMDF and rapidly deliver needed supplies to the Japanese people is a testament to the importance of the bilateral training we have done in the past,” said Lt. Col. Christopher M. Murray, the commanding officer of VMM-265. “Seemingly simple acts like landing an Osprey on a Japanese ship, requires a great deal of practice, planning and coordination between the aircrew, the sailors on the deck and those in the ship’s tower.

"Today the request was very short notice, but because of the ship’s experience with MV-22s in the past, it was a routine landing and a very efficient loading and refueling process. In the end, this provided a big payoff when time is of the essence. Our Japanese friends needed these supplies right now, and we were able to assist our JSDF partners in delivering.” 

The relief supplies including blankets, toiletries, food and water were delivered to Hakusui Sports Park, Minamiaso for distribution to earthquake victims in the most effected areas surrounding Mount Aso. The delivery was the second in two days by the 31st MEU delivering a total of 47,000 lbs of supplies in less than 48 hours.

The destructive force of the magnitude 6.2 earthquake on Thursday, April 14, followed by the 7.0 earthquake on April 18, and subsequent aftershocks damaged key infrastructure and left many in the vicinity of Mount Aso without water and electricity. Residents are relying on the aerial delivery of relief supplies after substantial landslides left crucial roadways damaged and impassable. More than 40 were killed, hundreds injured and thousands evacuated to shelters. 

For more information on the mission and history of the 31st MEU, contact 31st MEU Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Jennifer Giles, at jennifer.giles@usmc.mil or visit the unit’s websites at www.31stmeu.marines.mil/, or www.facebook.com/31stMEU.

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