TOKYO — In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake that rocked the Bay of Bengal and slammed much of southeast Asia with tsunamis, U.S. personnel in the Pacific began accounting for those on vacation in devastated areas and gearing up for possible humanitarian assistance operations.

A couple from Misawa Air Base, Japan, on vacation in Phuket, Thailand, survived the massive waves, said Toshi Muto, manager of Night Flight, a travel agency outside Yokota Air Base, where the couple booked the tickets. He spoke to his clients Monday morning in Thailand.

“They were at the beach,” he said. “They are getting out of the country today.”

Many Americans from military communities in the region had booked flights from on- and off-base tour operators to Thailand and India, according to employees at agencies in South Korea, mainland Japan, and Okinawa.

As of Monday, not all had been reached and accounted for.

At least 10 people from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, were thought to be in Thailand and India, both on leave and on duty, said Maj. Mike Paoli, 18th Wing spokesman. Those not yet contacted don’t appear to be traveling in affected areas, he said.

Two tour groups from ITT at Camp Zama, Japan, were accounted for in Bangkok, according to employees who checked on them through tour operators in Thailand. No casualties have been reported to the Army’s Casualty Assistance Office, according to a U.S. Army Japan spokesman.

Three people from Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, Japan, vacationing in Thailand, are safe, a base spokesman said.

Marines on Okinawa said responsibility for checking on individuals is left to individual units. The number of personnel in Thailand and their status was unavailable Monday, according to a Marine spokeswoman.

U.S. Forces Japan spokesman Gunnery Sgt. Bob Hall said there is no central system for checking on U.S. personnel.

“USFJ doesn’t have operational control over the other forces here. We don’t track leave for all the other commands,” he said.

The quake and aftereffects did not damage any U.S. Naval ships or assets, according to a 7th Fleet spokesman.

Also on Monday, U.S. forces in the Pacific began planning in the event servicemembers are asked to conduct humanitarian assistance.

If the Department of Defense pledges its support, the Pacific Command will be ready to respond, an official said.

“We are identifying resources available that can be utilized to provide the assistance required in the appropriate time and fashion,” said Army Lt. Col. Bill Bigelow, PACOM spokesman.

Large-scale military disaster assistance is rare in the Pacific, but not unprecedented. Earlier this month, more than 600 Marines, sailors and airmen from Japan and Okinawa helped the Philippine government move aid supplies to communities devastated by mudslides and flooding following two tropical storms and a typhoon.

The assistance came at the Philippine government’s request.

Hall said no official request has come to USFJ for humanitarian assistance as of late Monday afternoon. If USFJ personnel are called on to help, word should arrive “by mid to end week,” he said.

Americans looking for information about a missing person or with information about someone can call the American Citizen Services hot line in Thailand at 66-2-205-4049, or ask questions or post information at

Staff writers Franklin Fisher, Dave Ornauer, Jennifer Svan and Fred Zimmerman contributed to this report.

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