Vice President Biden visits Yokota, thanks members for role in Operation Tomodachi Published Aug. 24, 2011 By Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Vice President Joe Biden spoke before approximately 1,000 military and civilian personnel from the Kanto plains Aug. 24 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, thanking them for their role during Operation Tomodachi. Yokota AB partnered with agencies worldwide to provide assistance in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that occurred in northern Japan. "I've visited military bases all over the world and what you did here in Japan over the past few months is nothing short of astounding," Biden said in his opening remarks. "I come here for a simple reason, on behalf of the president and myself, to say thank you. Thank you not only for saving thousands of lives. Thank you for making America look as good as we are." In his speech, the vice president shared about his pride in the service members for their role in aiding the people of Japan. "All the American people are in awe of what you do day in and day out, especially when you rise to the occasion of the most difficult times," Biden said. "You guys are awe-inspiring. You were part of the largest humanitarian relief efforts in U.S. history. It was a truly monumental operation." The vice president closed by remarking on the partnership between the U.S. and Japan, then gave a final thank you to all those who assisted in Operation Tomodachi. "The role you all play is going to become increasingly important," the vice president said. "And our alliance with Japan will be more important than in the past. It continues to be absolutely critical, and you are the glue that holds this all together. You're the ones ensuring this alliance remains effective." Following his speech, audience members took pictures with the vice president and shared their enthusiasm for the event. "It is really great that Vice President Biden took the time to come here and thank us for all that we did during Operation Tomodachi," said Staff Sgt. Alicia Greene, the 374th Airlift Wing staff agency unit deployment manager. The vice president stopped at Yokota during his nine-day tour to China, Mongolia and Japan, where he met with key leaders to discuss a full range of bilateral, regional and international issues.