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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Air crews from Kadena conducted earthquake relief missions on Monday, which included transporting members of the Japanese police, transporting a Japanese citizen with a broken leg and delivering crucial water and supplies to areas in need, according to a Kadena 18th Wing public affairs office news release.

In addition, a contingent of air controllers from the 623rd Air Control Squadron out of Kadena arrived at Yokota Air Base to assist in directing the ever-increasing rescue operations. Then to facilitate a faster turn-around for rescue and helicopter refueling aircraft at Yokota, a forward area refueling point team was sent to provide rapid aircraft refueling capability, the release stated.

An additional 15 airmen from Kadena’s 353rd Special Operations Group departed Monday with support equipment and relief supplies on a MC-130H Combat Talon II to support humanitarian relief operations being staged out of Yokota.

“The airmen are highly-trained medical, communication and maintenance specialists capable of providing support in some of the most austere environments. The 353rd SOG now has about 115 airmen and three aircraft deployed to support the Japanese government,” the release said.

Kadena airmen also sent forward 20,000 pounds of bottled water, donated by the Defense Commissary Agency, for relief staging out of Misawa Air Base in northern Japan. They are also arranging the transportation for a U.S. Army veterinary services team going north to provide support to search and rescue canines there.

Kadena has additional resources available to support the disaster relief in mainland Japan and stands by to provide the support if called upon, the release concluded

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
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