MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, JAPAN — C-12s carrying cargo and personnel made a journey to Atsugi, Japan, to deliver relief supplies and spiritual aid in support of Operation Tomodachi on March 16.
In the aftermath of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami that rocked northern Japan, the station has become a rally point for Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. military’s support effort to provide humanitarian relief to the Japanese people.
Because of the monumental undertaking, even the station’s C-12 fleet, Marine Transport Squadron Iwakuni, has been tapped to assist with supply and personnel transportation toward northern Japan.
While the station has become a hub for III Marine Expeditionary Force personnel and supplies, Atsugi has become a humanitarian relief effort forward operating base.
In addition to the cargo these C-12s ferried, this particular flight carried a little something extra: a chaplain and his religious program specialist. During catastrophic events, there is an obvious need to help those directly affected; however, those directly providing support may need assistance as well.
“We are going to go and take care of Marines and sailors who are working firsthand on the humanitarian efforts,” said Navy Lt. Mark A. Torres, Marine Aircraft Group 36 chaplain. “We are there to help emotionally, physically and mentally.”
Torres and his assistant were going up to Atsugi to help and support in any way possible.
They will provide religious services and a resting sanctuary for any who become overwhelmed during the relief effort.
In more ways than one, providing support to the first responders vital to a successful operation.
“I am excited, I get to help my Marines and sailors, I am here to make sure they are safe, emotionally as well as physically,” said Seaman Greyson C. Harrelson, a MAG-36 religious program specialist.
The use of the C-12s is just another way in which MCAS Iwakuni continues its commitment to supporting the Japanese people and their relief efforts.