TOMAKOMAI KO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) Sailors and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Northern Army soldiers loaded vehicles and trailers pierside in Tomakomai Ko, Japan, in support of earthquake and tsunami relief efforts March 15.
Tortuga's crew loaded 13 jeeps, 10 utility trailers, six water trailers and three humvees via crane onto the flight deck and additional equipment via landing craft into the well deck, totaling 90 vehicles and 300 JGSDF soldiers.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for us," said Cmdr. Adrian Ragland, USS Tortuga commanding officer. "Seeing these vehicles on our ship really demonstrates the bonds between the U.S. and Japan."
Tortuga's visit to Tomakomai Ko , though brief, marks the first time a Navy ship has ever pulled into the port. After the ships stay, Tortuga will offload the equipment in Ominato, which will be used to transfer supplies, personnel and water to areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Honshu in support of Operation Tomodachi.
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