A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked US Air Force installations in Japan last week, but there were no reports of significant damage to them. It was the second powerful earthquake to hit Japan within one month. “We have received no reports of injury or damage to US forces or assets in Japan,” said US Pacific Command spokesman Army Maj. Matt Hasson. He added, “US forces continue to support the government and people of Japan and are positioned for sustained support.” The April 7 earthquake plunged Misawa Air Base, which was nearest to the quake’s epicenter, into darkness as off-site electrical power went down, forcing the base to run on generator power. Despite the interruption, Misawa’s 35th Fighter Wing reported for duty as normal on the following day. On March 11, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated Japan’s northeast coast, prompting a large relief effort by the Air Force and US military. Pacific Air Forces airmen had generated more than 400 aircraft missions and delivered approximately seven million pounds of cargo as of April 6 in response to the March disasters. (Misawa release) (DOD release) (Pearl Harbor-Hickam release)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.