NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan -- Marines with 3rd Marine Logistics Group combined forces with III Marine Expeditionary Brigade Aviation Command Element as an Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group to support Operation Tomodachi, March 29.
Combat Logistics Company 36 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan and Combat Logistics Regiment 37 from Okinawa, Japan, both from III Marine Expeditionary Force, sent Landing Support Specialists to control the receiving and shipment of troops, equipment and humanitarian supplies by KC-130J cargo aircraft and CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters of Marine Aircraft Group 36 into northern Japan near the disaster areas.
The A/DACG has received and shipped more than 260 tons (520,000 pounds) of food, water, clothes and personnel in support of Operation Tomodachi. The team also transported over 1,200 family members and 90 pets in support of the voluntary authorized departure from NAF Atsugi.
The logistics unit receives pallets of water and food donated from various organizations throughout Japan and compiles supplies onto pallets based upon size and weight, said Maj. Andres H. Caceres-Solari, Commanding Officer of CLC-36, (MCAS Iwakuni) CLR-35, 3rd MLG, III MEF. Once the supplies are palletized, Marines coordinate with flight crews and determine how much cargo can be sent per plane.
The cargo is loaded onto KC-130 Hercules Aircrafts, then transported to northern Japan. Areas near Sendai, Matsushima and Yamagata receive supplies and deliver them to the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. The JGSDF then distribute the supplies to shelters in areas affected by the natural disasters.
Companies and organizations throughout Japan have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of water and supplies that are brought here and the Marine Corps transports the relief supplies north on cargo planes and helicopters with MAG-36, 1st Marine Air Wing, III MEF.
When the pallets of bottled water are assembled, the Marines of the A/DACG must calculate the pallet’s weight before it can be loaded aboard an aircraft. Most of the cases of water donated by Japanese companies contain 24 bottles of water per case. Forty-eight cases (1,152 bottles) make up one pallet and each pallet of water weighs 1,580 pounds.
“When I heard about the earthquake, I wanted to help anyway I could,” said Lance Cpl. Manolo A. Morales, Landing Support Specialist with CLR-37. “Being able to tell my mom that I am making a difference in this disaster is a great feeling, it feels really good to be able to help. As my staff sergeant says every day ‘remember the people we’re doing this for, hearts and minds.”
The Marines with the A/DACG have been on site since March 15 and will continue to work towards shipping cargo and personnel throughout Japan as long as needed.
“I’m proud of my Marines for the work they’ve done here,” said Caceres-Solari. “They know what we’re doing is supporting a real world disaster and they are more than willing to work long hours and help any way they can.”
The scope of the disaster is still being assessed. The duration and extent of U.S. support is dependent on the requests from the Japan government. U.S. forces are committed to this mission and will assist to the greatest extent possible based on the requests of the Japan government.