BY SKY M. LARON, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka Site Atsugi personnel assisted Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) with relief supply operations Sept. 2 on board Naval Air Facility Atsugi in preparation for possible future disaster response drills that periodically take place in and around Tokyo.
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PO2 Reiner R. Lazaro (center-left), PO1 Class Edwing Narvaez (center), Toshiyuki Kawai (far-right). NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Atsugi personnel assisted Japan’s TMG with relief supply operations Sept. 2 on board Naval Air Facility Atsugi by offloading supplies and ensuring successful delivery to HSM 51.
U.S. Navy logisticians and master labor contract employees with NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Atsugi held an instrumental role in coordinating the receipt and delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) supplies from local host-nation government agencies to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 for future helicopter airlift operations.
Pallets of relief supplies from TMG were delivered by truck to NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Atsugi employees who then offloaded the supplies and ensured successful delivery to rotary wing aircraft operators.
“NAVSUP is critical to any disaster, as we all rely heavily on FLC Yokosuka’s function to provide the essentials of life after a catastrophic event or any event to include HADR missions to the populace,” said Sigmund Evans, regional emergency manager, Commander, Navy Region Japan.
Many of Japan’s city governments hope to demonstrate a strengthened relationship with neighboring U.S. military bases by expanding participation of U.S. forces in disaster preparedness.
“This exercise demonstrates our ability in providing assistance in an emergency situation like an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption or any event that requires our cooperation with the Japanese government,” said Chief Petty Officer Victor Cabunoc, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Atsugi senior enlisted advisor. “This is the preparation to deliver the best response in the worst scenarios and this is a gesture to the people of Japan that we are here and we are ready for any catastrophic event at any time.”
The Japan Self-Defense Forces, first-responders, and other emergency personnel take part in annual training exercises to better prepare themselves for major disasters, particularly if an earthquake where to hit the Tokyo area.
“This area in particular is prone to naturally occurring events that will definitely happen,” said Evans. “It’s not an ‘if’ but ‘when’.”
Most disaster drills in Japan occur around the anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake, which took place on Sept. 1, 1923 and caused the death of approximately 140,000 people.
“It is important to practice events like this because it builds comradery and allows us to build a better relationship with the government of Japan as well as share the way in which we do certain things,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Edwing Narvaez, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Site Atsugi postal leading petty officer and exercise participant.
The Great East Japan Earthquake also known as the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake or 3.11 Earthquake, the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900, highlights the very real and present danger that emergency personnel and residents alike must remain equipped and ready to respond against.
, the joint U.S. and Japanese humanitarian effort following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami highlighted the strong partnership shared between the United States and Japan, especially in times of emergency. This bi-lateral cooperation continues today.
“We performed an important role, which is to provide logistics support and I think our team executed it very well,” Cabunoc added.