Missouri Air National Guard released a report today that members of the 157th Air Operations Group joined allies from around the world and mobilized in support of Operation Tomodachi earlier this month to assist with recovery from the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
Tomodachi means “friend” in Japanese.
Sixteen members of the Guard unit are at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii assisting the 613th of the Pacific Air Forces with management of air assets involved in the effort, the guard reports.
“The Guardsmen are working shoulder to shoulder with their active duty counterparts who are taking a three phase approach to expedite the crisis management plan that the Japanese have implemented to include consequence management, humanitarian assistance and strategic operations,” says Lt. Col. Michael Dunfee.
Pacific Air Forces has supported Japan relief efforts by delivering more than 46,000 gallons of fuel and fuel trucks to help grant much needed power; transporting more than 4.6 million pounds of food, water, and blankets; and transporting more than 5,500 people.
The fresh water that the joint effort is supplying to the people of Japan is truly a “God-send,” according to mission leaders, who say this is a completely different operation from the combat missions which the Air Guard normally trains.
The Guardsmen are staffing the Air Operations Center, which provides a theater commander with centralized command and control of all air operations in their theater from the development of long-term strategic plans to the execution and monitoring of the daily flight activities.
The Missouri Airmen are among nearly 24,000 Airmen, including active duty National Guard and Air Force Reserve members, supporting Operation Tomodachi. Half of the 157th Guardsmen involved in this deployment are traditional Airmen and have stepped away from their civilian jobs with the support of their employers to volunteer in this mission.