By DoD News
Misawa Air Base was shaken March 11 by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan but sustained only minor damage with no injuries or loss of life.
“Our focus is on the recovery of the base and assisting our Japanese allies,” said Col. Michael Rothstein, the 35th Fighter Wing commander. “We will do whatever it takes to get us both on our feet again, and I believe we have the best people on the job for this task.”
Further aiding in base recovery were the Airmen here supporting and establishing command and control operations, said Lt. Col. Dwayne Robison, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron commander.
“Our Airmen and family members aided in recovery efforts almost immediately after the earthquake,” he said. “The earthquake struck the region when the base was in the middle of an operational readiness exercise. So we already had our emergency operations center and our unit control centers (up and running). This enabled people to call in immediately with reports of damages, and we had no delay with responding to their needs.”
Emergency crews responded to small fires, broken waterlines and steam lines, and a host of other issues, officials said.
The base wasn’t effected by the tsunami that swept ashore afterwards and devastated large tracts of land in Myagi Prefecture, south of the base.
Now Airmen here are concentrating on two missions. The first is to recover operations here and the second is to act as a logistical hub for humanitarian relief and rescue workers, officials said.
Rescue teams from around the world have sent, and will continue to send, convoys to the locations most affected by the tsunami to start recovery operations.
“We hope to provide as much assistance as possible,” said Alan Downes, a United Kingdom Search and Rescue team member. “As soon as we complete the search and rescue portion of this operation, we will start turning our focus to the humanitarian relief side of the situation.”