US, Japanese Navies Conduct Joint Drill

Each year since the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011, the government of Japan and the U.S. military have participated in disaster preparedness and emergency response drills to ensure a swifter and stronger response to future natural disasters.

During the Big Kanagawa Rescue exercise, hosted by the Kanagawa Prefectural government and conducted around the Kanagawa prefecture on Aug. 31, U.S. Navy Sailors stationed at Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi lent their expertise to the practice efforts. Pilots and aircrew from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 coordinated a joint effort to fly HSM-51 helicopters from NAF Atsugi to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), transporting medical personnel around the prefecture for simulated medical care and treatment.

Throughout the drill, sailors navigated simulated obstacles and difficulties in an attempt to reflect real life scenarios such as downed power lines and gas and propane tank explosions.

HSM-51 routinely participates in evacuation and disaster relief drills hosted by both the Japanese government and the Japan Self-Defense Force, in addition to all exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy in Japan.

Image: US Navy

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