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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force officers watch as a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), refuels aboard the JS Hyuga (DDH 181), at sea, April 22, 2016. The Osprey received supplies from the Hyuga 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. Darien Bjorndal

Marines continue support for Kyushu earthquake victims

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

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

The MV-22Bs departed Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in a section at 1:00 p.m. Japan Standard Time. One Osprey, loaded with relief supplies received from a Japan Air Self Defense Force C-130H on Marine Corps Air Station MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, proceeded to Hakusui Sports Park, where members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force unloaded the much needed supplies for the people of Minamiaso, the area hardest hit by the earthquake. Once the initial delivery was made, the Osprey proceeded to JSDF Takayubaru Camp, collocated with the Aso-Kumamoto airport, to be loaded with relief supplies by members of the JGSDF, and return to Hakusui Sports Park.

The second Osprey departed MCAS Iwakuni bound for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181) to be loaded with relief supplies by the JMSDF. Once loaded, the aircraft departed for Hakusui Sports Park. Once unloaded by JGSDF forces, the aircraft returned to JS Hyuga to retrieve and deliver a second payload of relief supplies for the residents of Minamiaso.

 Through a combined effort, an extra 14,000 lbs. of relief supplies including tents, food and water were delivered within the span of three hours to those in need.

 "The Japanese service members are our brothers and we helped them out just like they would do for us,” said Cpl. Luis R. Diaz a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts and a ground support equipment electrician with VMM-265 (Rein.), 31st MEU. “We were called, and it was one of those moments where we all came together as a family.”

Today’s delivery brings the collected total of relief supplies delivered by the 31st MEU since the beginning of the relief efforts to 76,000 lbs.

The 31st MEU provides a forward-deployed, flexible amphibious force that utilizes naval integration to respond to crises and limited contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific region. The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU and remains the Marine Corps' force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

 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 facebook page at www.facebook.com/31stMEU or www.dividshub.net/unit/31meu.


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