Mar 17, 2011

31st MEU off Japan!

31st MEU and Operation Tomodachi
By Andrew Lubin

The Marines of 31st MEU, Col Andrew MacMannis commanding, will be arriving off the west coast of Japan tomorrow morning.

Lead by the USS Essex (LHD 2), the USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) are currently in the Sea of Japanto arrive off the coast of Akita prefecture (west coast of Honshu) tomorrow morning to await further tasking. 12 Marines of the 31st MEU have established a Forward Command Element (FCE) in Yamagata. If the MEU is ordered to land, the west coast of Honshu affords greater access to undamaged ports and roads, fewer navigational hazards, and prevailing winds that are upwind of the Fukushima power plant.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our close friends and allies in Japan during this difficult time,” said Col. Andrew MacMannis, the 31st MEU's commanding officer, “We are repositioning to be ready to support to our Japanese partners. Our support will compliment the services that the Government of Japan is already providing. We stand ready to help our partners in need as they work tirelessly to respond to this evolving crisis.”

With the Japanese Security Defense Forces (JDSF) leading Operation Tomodachi, U.S. Department of Defense assets such as 31st MEU are to provide Humanitarian Assistance – Disaster Relief (HA-DR) such as search-and-rescue provisions, medical services, food, shelter, command and control, water, and engineering. Drawing on prior Marine HA-DR efforts in Haiti, Bangladesh, and other stricken parts of the world, the 31st MEU is uniquely able to provide assistance to the Japanese populace.

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