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News > Commander of U.S. Pacific Command encourages Team Yokota through 'unprecedented' times
Commander of U.S. Pacific Command encourages Team Yokota through 'unprecedented' times

Posted 3/24/2011   Updated 3/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman John D. Partlow
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/24/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Admiral Robert F. Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and his wife Donna Willard offered encouragement to Team Yokota and gave greater insight into the recent Japanese disasters as they spoke with American Forces Network personnel Thursday.
In the recorded interview, Admiral Willard praised U.S. Forces in Japan for their swift response to the earthquake and tsunami which devastated north-eastern Japan March 11 as well as their on-going support to disaster relief efforts.

"We're about 12 days into this operation so a great deal has been accomplished in a short period of time," said Admiral Willard. "I'm very proud, but we have to keep it up and we have to give as much as we've got for as long as it takes in order to overcome this series of disasters that are unprecedented in any of our experiences."

Admiral Willard then said he held the strong bond between America and Japan with high esteem and knows the importance of keeping such a friendship alive.

"Japan is our ally and one of our strongest partners in the entire world," said Admiral Willard. "As a good ally, friend and long-standing military partner, we have more than an obligation to support of this relief effort. I couldn't be prouder in our effort of support."

Addressing military families in Japan, Mrs. Willard stressed how important it was for military members and their families to stay well-informed. She said that rumors only add to speculation, which can in turn, harm the overall mission.

"I would stress to all of the families to educate themselves on exactly what's going on," she said "The radiation levels have not been at a harmful level. If you understand something...the fear, a lot of times, goes away."

Mrs. Willard went on to commend the Yokota community for their dedicated support to military dependents flying out of Yokota back to the United States as a part of authorized voluntary departures.

"We're incredibly proud of all of our families," Mrs. Willard said. "Yokota Air Base has just been phenomenal in their support in getting all the voluntary departures out of here and the welcome they gave our families, all of our families, has been remarked upon over and over again... I couldn't be prouder of all of them."

Admiral Willard said he does not know how long relief efforts could last, but he plans to be here as long as need be. He stressed that the future of Japan coincides with the future of the servicemembers stationed in the country.

"We will support this operation for as long as it takes," Admiral Willard said. "[We will] give the Japanese everything they ask for and more if we can."

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