YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (March 14, 2011) - In response to the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Northern Honshu, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, directed Commander, Task Force 76 to organize a Maritime Response cell on March 11, to coordinate U.S. Navy relief efforts out of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) headquarters on Yokota Air Base.

As the amphibious force for 7th Fleet, Task Force 76, commanded by Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, is designated as the Humanitarian and Disaster relief executive agent for earthquake and tsunami response in Japan.

“Seventh Fleet’s amphibious forces have a lot of experience with humanitarian and disaster relief,” said Landolt, “so it makes sense to use that experience to shape our response and help our ally and regional partner recover from this catastrophic event.”

In order to centralize command and control efforts for surveying affected areas, logistic support, troop and equipment transfer, and helicopter operations, representatives from Task force 76, Task Force 70, Task Force 72, Task Force 73, and Task force 74 formed a Maritime Response cell to advise USFJ, and carry out the combined efforts of the Navy’s air, ground, and sea assets. This also allows for more effective coordination with our Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) counterparts, to ensure that the right assets are employed to affect a prompt and appropriate response.

7th Fleet forces are assisting in search and rescue operations, surveying at-sea debris fields, and will soon assist the JSDF with transporting vehicles, equipment, and supplies as directed to support relief efforts.