Aircraft Arrive at NAF Misawa in Support of Operation Tomodachi

Story Number: NNS110318-05Release Date: 3/18/2011 1:22:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

MISAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Air Facility Misawa welcomed more than a dozen aircraft from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Kadena Air Base March 18, in support of Operation Tomodachi.

SH-60 helicopters from Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 14 (HS-14) and Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 51 (HSL-51), as well as P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4), and two C-2A Greyhound aircraft from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30, converged on this northern-Japan base.

The aircraft will conduct humanitarian assistance and search-and-rescue operations in Japan's tsunami-impacted areas.

In total, 13 helicopters and airplanes, along with more than 500 relocated Sailors have repositioned to NAF Misawa; almost doubling the base's Navy population.

The repositioning, according to Cmdr. Kevin Long, Patrol Squadron 4 executive officer, could not have come soon enough.

"This is where we need to be," he said. "Being on site for longer periods of time will allow us to do a more thorough search. Transiting from Kadena to the devastated areas required a total of six hours en route, coming here will dramatically decrease that."

Naval Air Facility Misawa Commanding Officer Capt. James D. Haugen said Navy Misawa is ready to support these squadrons and their mission.

"We're grateful for the opportunity to play a role in assisting the people of Japan," said Haugen. "The Japanese are our friends and neighbors, and we are standing by to lend a hand in aiding them anyway we can."

Seventh Fleet remains committed to Operation Tomodachi (Japanese for "friendship"), with 12,750 personnel, 20 ships, and 140 aircraft participating.

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