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News > Wing commander provides information during AFN radio interview March 17 at 2:45 p.m.
Wing commander provides information during AFN radio interview March 17 at 2:45 p.m.

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


374th Airlfit 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 2:45 p.m. March 17.

I've got an update. I've got some good news: I know there are a lot of people trying to figure out how to get out of here, and I'm not surprised that there are people that want to get on the road. I think the State Department is going to be releasing some information in the not-too-distant future to talk about some voluntary airlift going out of Japan.

We're still trying to sort out what it would be or how it would work, but the last thing we want is people panicking and clamoring and clawing to get out of here, at a time when we need calm and patience. So, for those folks that really want to go, I think we're going to be able to offer an opportunity in the next couple of days, or so, to make that happen.

The important thing is--and I know everybody just got done listening to that last broadcast--that we want to be responsive. We don't want to be reactive. It's not like people in the theatre who want to rush out the door all at the same time because somebody yells "fire!"

We want to have a slow "get up out of your seat, watch the credits, and drop your popcorn in the trash" kind of approach. Because there are so many [people] that want to leave, I think it's good that it looks like we're going to be able to do that; and it will be at government expense.

I don't have all the details on it--as a matter of fact, I have very few details on it--e.g. where it would be, how we would approach it and the like. But, as always, you can rest assured that we will putting that [information] out on the Commanders Access Channel, Channel 20. And in the meantime, as we're sorting through it, the air at Yokota is good, the water is good, and so is the chow.

So we're prepared: we've got our ducks in a row, everybody's got a chance to take a look at how to do this, and, again, we practice it all the time. So we're pretty proud of our profession, of what we do. For us airlifters, this is bread and butter.

Interviewer mentions the united effort of people from around the world to provide support for the people of Japan.

Our real thrust is taking care of our partners here in Japan. We're going to do everything so that, even though we're talking about voluntary departures, we're talking about civilians and kids that maybe want to get home to mom and grandma and what have you.So that will be what we're focusing on for those folks. But the rest of us in blue, and our brethren from the purple world, are going to be lockstep here with the Japanese, doing everything we can to take care of the recovery from this terrible tsunami and earthquake.
Interviewer asks Col Feather for any final comments.

I don't have any sage words of advice except to let everybody know that we're safe. Breathe through your nose and relax, and we'll make sure that we do everything that we do in an appropriate way. I'm comfortable here. I'm not going anywhere. My wife and I are going to be eating dinner at the house for the next several weeks. And I don't have any doubts that what we're doing is prudent and safe and responsible.

3/17/2011 4:55:57 AM ET
On a voluntary Evacuation will the government also pay for travel back to Japan? 374 AW/PA response: Your Voluntary Authorized Departure Reps will have answers to all of your questions. The list of names is available on channel 20 and on our site under "Japan Relief Ops".
Joey, Yokota
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