Iwakuni to prep community on steps to take in any evacuation
A Family NEO Night will be held Thursday at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to discuss procedures for any noncombatant evacuation operation that might arise.
The meeting, to start at 6 p.m. in Club Iwakuni’s ballroom, follows training earlier this month for base coordinators of noncombatant evacuation operations, said NEO coordinator Lt. Col. Brian Ku.
Thursday’s meeting is designed to educate the local community on the process and Iwakuni’s responsibilities as well as evacuee responsibilities, he said.
Additionally, NEO processing personnel will answer questions, provide guidance for necessary paperwork and set up appointments for those needing wills or powers of attorney.
“The goal is to be a one-stop shopping event,” Ku said.
Should an evacuation be necessary, “target personnel would be family members, nonessential civilians and U.S. citizens in the local area” supporting the base, he said.
“However, we also expect personnel — to include tourists and U.S. citizens employed in Japan — from our entire area of responsibility,” Ku said. “No U.S. citizen will be turned away.”
The area served by Iwakuni for NEO purposes is southern Honshu from Osaka to Shimonoseki. About 5,500 personnel are connected with the air station.
Predicaments that could lead to real evacuation, Ku said, include natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis and floods. Also, major civil disorders, terrorist threats and armed conflicts could trigger an evacuation.
In case of a real NEO, Ku said, Iwakuni is “an assembly area, reception site, safe haven and evacuation site.” Iwakuni is responsible for lodging, meals, medical services and other evacuee support, he added.
“We are a very unique Marine Corps air station because we have both an airfield and a port facility,” Ku said. “We can accommodate transportation via air … by ground or sea.”