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News > Yokota Provides Support Following Massive Earthquake
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Commercial aircraft diverted from Narita IAP to Yokota
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Commercial aircraft land on the flightline here March 11, after diverting from Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan. The base opened its airfield to commercial aircraft after an earthquake hit near Tokyo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)
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Yokota provides support following massive earthquake

Posted 3/11/2011   Updated 3/12/2011 Email story   Print story


374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/11/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- At approximately 2:50 pm local time, Yokota Air Base experienced an earthquake measuring 5.0 in magnitude here March 11. While no injuries were reported on base and damage to facilities was minor, other regions did not fare as well.

The quake, measuring 8.9 in magnitude at its epicenter, and subsequent Tsunami waves, caused significant damage along the Japanese coast and disrupted flight operations at several Japanese airports including Tokyo's Narita International Airport.

In response to the crisis, Yokota Air Base became an interim landing site for 11 aircraft which were diverted from quake-stricken airports.

Yokota's airfield operations personnel guided the airliners safely to the ground and assigned ramp space to the new arrivals. Through the afternoon and into the night, Airmen provided these aircraft required servicing and fuel before departure to operational civilian airports.

By 10:00 pm local time, nine of the 11 aircraft had safely departed Yokota Air Base. Flight crews from the remaining two airliners elected to remain here at Yokota Air Base overnight, another challenge which Yokota Airmen promptly managed.

All 599 passengers were offloaded from their planes and lodged at the base's Taiyo community center. The facility, traditionally a large ballroom, was equipped with chairs, blankets, flight meals and water to keep the passengers comfortable until their aircraft could continue on its mission.

"We're pleased we were able to step in and fill this void," said Steven Mayfield, Chief of the Airmen and Family Readiness Center, as he aided passengers at the community center. "It's a representation of not only Yokota's, but America's compassion to disaster situations."

The remaining visiting aircraft are currently scheduled to depart Yokota Air Base around mid-day today. Until then, Yokota Airmen will continue to provide relief and shelter to their unexpected guests.

10/27/2011 5:51:48 PM ET
I was one of the Delta passengers who spent the night at the community center.I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful help you rolled out to the 600 stranded travellers. You even gave us pizza for midnight snackThose who were caught stranded in Narita of Tokyo streets did not fare as well. Thank you so very much. You made me feel so proud of the U.S.Airforce.
H. Malatesta, Seattle WA
3/11/2011 5:01:38 PM ET
Looking for two passengers from Delta flight 619.Peter H. KinneyAllison A. Kinneyany help would be appreciated 374 AW/PA response: That flight departed last night. The best way to located them would be to contact the airline.
Laurie Warich, Massachusetts
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