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Port dogs from two squadrons partner for Operation Tomodachi
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Staff Sgt. Jahmel Sargent, 730th Air Mobility Squadron, drives a forklift at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 24. Sergeant Sargent and other Airmen of the 730th AMS worked together with those of the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron to palletize shipments of water to be airlifted to regions of Japan in need of potable water. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse)
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Port dogs from two squadrons partner for Operation Tomodachi

Posted 3/25/2011   Updated 3/29/2011 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Christopher Love
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/25/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Though they fall under different chains of command and work toward different missions, the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 730th Air Mobility Squadron have collaborated to process cargo since the start of Operation Tomodachi.

As a tenant unit of Air Mobility Command, the 730th normally focuses its efforts across the broader Pacific Theatre; whereas the 374th serves the local mission, here in Japan. Yet, when a recent earthquake and tsunami ushered in waves of relief supplies, the squadrons had to join together to service their host nation.

One shipment alone, a donation of bottled water from Japanese beverage companies, weighed one million pounds.

"We haven't seen this much cargo here in a very long time--maybe never," said Maj. Brandon Maroon, 730th AMS director of operations. "It has pressed us to think about how we can be the most efficient with the resources available to us."

The two squadrons banded together quickly, sharing manpower and facilities. The incoming supplies must be received, stored, palletized and loaded onto outgoing planes, before they can reach the thousands who need them in the north.

"Amidst one of the most historically devastating events in Japan's history, the men and women of Yokota's 374th LRS and 730th AMS team have paved the way to meet these unprecedented challenges," Major Maroon said. "Between humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and the assisted voluntary departures of dependents, we are writing the Department of Defense rulebook in providing support to any future events of this magnitude, and we're doing it with extraordinary professionalism."

Some of the squadrons' senior leaders had prior experience responding to natural disasters like the one in Japan. When disaster struck on March 11, they put their experience into action.

"We met way ahead of the game, as soon as the earthquake hit, to establish our ground rules for how we were going to work together," explained Major Maroon, a native of The Woodlands, Texas. "When it was all said and done, we got vectored to where we are right now: a total, combined team, getting all the best functional expertise together instead of just leaving it the individual squadrons to handle it."

When faced with the kind of task that currently confronts these two squadrons, collaboration becomes critical.

"Neither of us could accomplish the mission without the other squadron's help," said Master Sgt. Stanton Murrell, 374th LRS section chief, small arms terminal. "On routine missions, we both have our part to do. But here we had to come together, or else this never would have worked."

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