U.S. Army, Navy and Marine forces in conjunction with Japan Self-Defense Forces and local Japanese agencies participated in the Shizuoka Prefectural Government (SPG) annual disaster drill Sept. 1.
During the drill, U.S. Armed Forces joined first responders from SPG, Japan Self-Defense Forces, Fuji and Fujinomiya cities to respond to a simulated 8.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami with the goal of achieving a high level of proficiency in responding to disasters as part of a joint task force.
“U.S. Forces are taking part in the SPG Annual Disaster Drill today to demonstrate what assistance the U.S. military can provide to the prefectural government in the event of a natural disaster,” said Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Plans and Studies Officer, Theodore Shaw. “It’s also an excellent opportunity to showcase the U.S. Navy’s desire to increase and improve interoperability with local community emergency services,” he said.
Also during the drill, U.S. forces provided several air assets including an MH-60R helicopter from the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 forward deployed to Atsugi, a U.S. Army UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 78th Aviation Battalion and a U.S. Marine Corps fixed wing C-130 from Futenma to assist in the evacuation and transportation of simulated casualties and humanitarian assistant survey teams.
As the drill progressed, disaster response team members worked in close proximity to learn and share invaluable techniques and communication skills they will later use in the event of a real emergency.
“These exercises also provide a great opportunity for the local population to come out and see the beneficial support the U.S. military can provide and how well we operate in conjunction with the local emergency first responders,” said Shaw.
Press Release, September 02, 2013; Image: Navy