News: Operation Tomodachi: 7th Communication Battalion delivers critically-needed supplies
Story by Lance Cpl. Heather Johnson
OKINAWA, Japan — Marines with 7th Communication Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF loaded three KC-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft here with supplies March 14, during humanitarian assistance operations in response to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.
Thirty communications Marines, along with tents, tables, chairs and generators, were transported to Naval Air Station Atsugi in support of Operation Tomodachi. These supplies will provide communication capabilities such as Internet, e-mail, computer and telephone services, said Master Sgt. John L. Pellicore, communications chief with Company B, 7th Comm. Battalion.
“We’re going to provide these services to the staff that is already forward, so they can support our U.S. and Japanese forces,” he said. “These capabilities will help us coordinate future humanitarian services.”
“Our orders are to provide humanitarian services and communication services until the country of Japan decides they are no longer needed,” said Pellicore. “This is what we prepared for.”
Capt. Philippe I. Rodriguez, company commander of Company B, 7th Comm. Battalion, said that he is extremely proud of his Marines pushing forward in support Operation Tomodachi.
“With all the training exercises 7th Comm. Battalion supports, I have complete confidence that the Marines will excel in providing tactical communications,” he added.
To date, 22 CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters and 24 KC-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft sorties have flown out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in support of Operation Tomodachi.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy,” said Lt. Col. Carlos O. Urbina, commanding officer of 7th Comm Bn. “The strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and our enduring presence on Okinawa have enabled the outstanding Marines and sailors of 7th Comm. Battalion to immediately answer Japan's request for humanitarian assistance. It is our hope that our efforts, under Japanese leadership, will help alleviate suffering and prevent further loss of life. 7th Comm. Battalon stands ready to help in any way possible until such time as our Japanese friends determine our assistance is no longer required.”
MCAS Futenma’s proximity to logistics and ground units has allowed Marines from III MEF to rapidly deploy critically-needed supplies and aid to support the relief effort.
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