An MC-130P Combat Shadow carrying Airmen arrives March 13, 2011, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The flight was part of American disaster relief forces to assist the earthquake and tsunami recovery effort. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar)
by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
353rd Special Operations Group
3/14/2011 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Approximately 100 Airmen and three MC-130P Combat Shadows from the 353rd Special Operations Group deployed to Yokota Air Base March 12 to support humanitarian relief operations after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean off the coast of northeastern Japan March 11.
The Airmen are prepared to provide their unique expertise in their respective areas to the Japanese government and multiple organizations supporting relief efforts across the affected area, officials said.
"The devastation caused by the earthquake is truly heartbreaking." said Col. Stephen Bissonnette, deputy commander of the 353rd SOG. "As part of coordinated relief efforts, the group will work tirelessly with our Japanese counterparts and other relief organizations to help the people affected by the earthquake recover from this disaster."
The 353rd SOG is able to conduct search and rescue operations, transport emergency response teams, equipment and relief supplies, survey and open airfields and helicopter landing zones with certified air traffic controllers, provide emergent medical care to injured people and assist the Japanese government and other relief agencies with a variety of highly trained support personnel for humanitarian assistance operations.