Yokota, Kadena Join Humanitarian Efforts in Philippines

More than 90 personnel and five C-130s assigned to Yokata AB, Japan, have deployed to Clark AB, Philippines, in support of Operation Damayan following the devastating super typhoon which killed more than 3,000 people in early November. Most of the airmen and three of the Hercs were on their way back to Japan after participating in Exercise Cope South—a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise in Bagladesh—when they were rerouted to the Philippines. “This is exactly the kind of mission we train for,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Menasco, 36th Airlift Squadron commander, in a Nov. 17 release. Airmen from Kadena AB, Japan, also provided support as they received a C-17 from JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, which carried a water purification unit to Tacloban—one of the hardest hit areas, states a Kadena release. As of Nov. 14, the US military had transported 623,000 pounds of relief supplies to Tacloban as part of Operation Damayan, and transported 2,900 displaced people from the capital city of Manila. More than 600 US service members are on the ground in the Philippines and thousands more are operating as part of the USS George Washington Strike Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, states the Kadena release. (See also PACAF Relief Efforts in the Philippines and US Military Mobilizes for Typhoon Haiyan Relief)