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News > Wing commander provides information during AFN radio interview March 17 at 11:35 a.m.
Wing commander provides information during AFN radio interview March 17 at 11:35 a.m.

Posted 3/17/2011   Updated 3/17/2011 Email story   Print story


374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/17/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The following is information provided by Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commander, during a radio interview with American Forces Network during a radio interview at 11:35 a.m. March 17.

"The [rumors] never stop, and we want to make sure that everybody is up to speed on the latest information. The rumors abound."

Interviewer cites one example: "Ensure that dependents have their bags packed and ready to go."

Colonel Feather: "The first thing I want to say is that nothing has changed since this whole thing started out. We've still got great air, water, food; and my bed is still warm. We're still rock'n and roll'n and doing good things: airplanes are flying, and we're helping out the Japanese people.

"Here at Yokota we are really in good shape; we are very blessed, and I am very proud of our people. . . . When we did the town hall meeting the other day, we talked about the fact that we are planning constantly and coming up with options for what we would do, because we don't like to be reactive; we like to be responsive and not have an emergency. I would tell people that if they've heard that we're looking at options, it's because we do that every single day. And if it came to pass that we were directed to take action, you can bet it would be done in a timely way, where you wouldn't have to worry about being reactive. [Our actions] would be responsive and appropriate."

Interviewer: "There's a plan just in case, and that's the way it should be."

Colonel Feather: "Absolutely. . . ."We practice that plan every time we do an exercise out here, so we've got the pros. . . . If it were to come to pass that we wanted to take a more precautionary approach, we would do it. But we will ensure that everybody knows that; we're not going to let people sit there and wonder. If the decision was made to do something different, we would jump on that and make sure that folks were doing the right kinds of things. We should continually be prepared. I've been an airlifter for a very long time, which means they can call me in the middle of the night and I've got to go fly, so I've got a bag by the door all the time."

"That's the sum and substance of it: we've been given no direction to do anything but sit tight in this little oasis we've got here and make sure that we're prepared to respond.

"We are safe here at Yokota, and we are thriving. We've opened up a new field up [north], very close to the reactor up at Sendai. We've got a lot of people going in and out of there with fire equipment and support equipment, doing good things for the people of that area. The Japanese have asked for support with firefighter training, with the different kinds of pumpers that they're using. We've given them a truck--actually a couple from the area--trained them up, and they're rock'n and roll'n with that equipment.

"You may also see some other flights coming through here. You've got the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force that's going to be shuttling through here; they're going to be going [north] to do some more work to help the people there. They'll be coming in on C-17s. You know I'd rather have them flying on C-130s, because I love them, but our C-17 guys are making us proud, too."

Other thoughts Colonel Feather would like to let us know:

"There's a lot of people working very hard--and I'm not just talking about those of us who are wearing a uniform. We've got volunteers and spouses that are making us so awful proud--whether they're supporting the canteen with the Red Cross for people transiting through, offering babysitting services or offering to take people in their home. The outpouring of support has done my heart so good it swells.

"But you've got to know--and I want everyone out there to know--that we're on the job, and we're going to make sure that we do everything in a safe, measured, responsive way and that there's no reactionary action going on here.

"Yokota's safe, the air is good, and I'll talk to you again soon when I've got more information."

"Keep your prayers with all those folks up north that are suffering from the devastation from the tsunami."

3/17/2011 10:18:47 AM ET
SirJust to let you know that you are doing an outstanding job in keeping the community informed. People should realize that we are pretty lucky compared to all the people up North.Very respectfullyTina LazarouNavy Federal Credit Union
tina Lazarou, bldg 430
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