MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 here donated relief supplies to the town of Shobara, Japan, July 24 after the town was recently hit with a flood.
Due to the flood, eight people are in poor physical condition, one person is missing, 10 houses were completely destroyed and 24 were severely damaged, and more than 90 people evacuated the area.
Additionally, much of the town’s water system was blown away, which left the people without clean drinking water, and several roadways were destroyed.
The Shobara City Government estimated a total damage cost of nearly $90 million.
Machiko Hamamoto, affectionately known as Mama-san to all MALS-12 Marines, brought the flood to the attention of Cpl. Marcie McWaters, assistant substance abuse control officer and chaplain’s assistant for MALS-12.
McWaters then sent out an all-hands e-mail to the unit requesting donations of water to be brought to the town located approximately 3 hours north of Iwakuni by car.
Not even a week later, her request was answered by more than 1,000 bottles of donated water. The majority of which were donated by the MALS-12 Staff Noncommissioned Officer Association.
McWaters, along with Staff Sgt. Fabio Salas, member of the MALS-12 Staff NCO Association, drove to the distressed town to deliver the relief supplies.
“It was amazing seeing all the people cleaning everything up and seeing the cars that were devastated and totaled,” said Salas. “I was awestruck. Trees were torn up out of the ground. I’ve never seen anything like that in person. It was pretty amazing.
“We want them to know we’re here to help in times of need and offer support when needed most,” said Salas.
By donating the water, MALS-12 helped further strengthen the relationship between U.S. forces and Japan.
McWaters said there are a lot of incidents that happen out in town that give Marines here a negative reputation, but this will show the community that Marines aren’t all the same.
“We wanted to show that MALS-12 is here to help,” said McWaters.
McWaters is currently working with Hamamoto to coordinate further efforts in helping the people of Shobara in their time of need.