MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Col. James C. Stewart, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni commanding officer, hosted a town hall meeting at the Sakura Theater here March 17 to explain and answer questions about MCAS Iwakuni’s involvement in the relief efforts in northern Japan.
Col. Stephen G. Nitzschke, Marine Aircraft Group 12 commanding officer, talked with the station community before the town hall meeting.
Because of our long standing and close relationship with our Japanese couterparts on a daily basis, we are able to coordinate government of Japan requests and rapidly respond with critically needed capabilities and supplies in times of crises.
The station community of MCAS Iwakuni is safe from the growing health hazard the nuclear power plant has become since the earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
“No one here in Iwakuni is in any danger whatsoever,” said Nitzschke.
The radiation that everyone fears won’t affect the station.
“The weather patterns cannot carry the isotopes this far to the west,” Michael Cox, station chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and enhanced conventional weapons officer said. “The amount of radiation that’s being put into the atmosphere is not reaching high enough to be carried for any significant distance.”
The station’s food and water supplies cannot be contaminated either.
“The commissary is well stocked with supplies as well as the shops out in town,” he said. “Our water supply comes from a disassociated facility. I have no reason to believe any contamination will come down this way.”
MCAS Iwakuni’s role in the relief efforts is important.
“We are serving as a resupply hub,” Stewart said. “The most important job we can do right now is to help push supplies to where they are needed.”
Marines who were scheduled to join in Foal Eagle 2011, have been reassigned to help with the relief effort.
“MAG-12s focus will shift to Operation Tomodachi,” said Nitzschke. “MAG-12 will help with the evacuations.”
Stewart answered questions the audience in attendance, watching on the American Forces Network and listening on Power1575 radio station had.
“What can we do here to help ease our friends and families who are watching all the news stateside and think the whole country of Japan is destroyed?” asked an audience member.
A daily reminder such as an email, phone call or simple text message saying that you’re OK will help your friends and family have peace of mind concerning our situation and keep us focused on the mission, said Stewart.
For the latest information about MCAS Iwakuni’s during this difficult time, go to www.marines.mil/unit/mcasiwakuni/Pages/default.aspx.