Women and Children First

Operation Pacific Passage, the airlift bringing military family members out of Japan for temporary relocation in the United States, has concluded. More than 5,200 family members and dependants of US military personnel voluntarily departed Japan aboard Air Force and civil charter flights during the 10-day mission that began on March 19. The US Northern Command-led operation followed the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11 and the subsequent concerns over radiological releases from a damaged Japanese nuclear plant. The mission was meant to assuage concern for family members and conserve resources at US bases while American military personnel continue providing relief to Japan. Travis AFB, Calif., was a hub for the arriving family members, along with the main civil airports in Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle, reported AP. Pregnant women, children, and military personnel with urgent medical issues had priority for leaving Japan. (Travis report by TSgt. Renni Thornton)