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Airmen provide flood relief to Kanuma

A volunteer with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection services searches
for his boots early in the morning outside the gym of an elementary school at Kanuma
City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. The volunteers, more than 60 Airmen
and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base, helped remove thousands of pounds of
mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were damaged
during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt.
Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

A volunteer with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection services searches for his boots early in the morning outside the gym of an elementary school at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. The volunteers, more than 60 Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base, helped remove thousands of pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Volunteers with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron sleep on the gym floor of a local
elementary school at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than
20 of 60 volunteers stayed in the elementary's gym for two nights while assisting in flood
relief efforts in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/
Released)

Volunteers with the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron sleep on the gym floor of a local elementary school at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 20 of 60 volunteers stayed in the elementary's gym for two nights while assisting in flood relief efforts in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/ Released)

Destruction left behind from a landslide covers a local farmer's property at Kanuma
City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. After 10 consecutive days of rain,
flooding and landslides damaged public and personal property throughout the
prefecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Destruction left behind from a landslide covers a local farmer's property at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. After 10 consecutive days of rain, flooding and landslides damaged public and personal property throughout the prefecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Sota Watanabe, a local farmer, explains how a landslide destroyed much of his
property at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60
volunteers, Airmen and Japanese workers from Yokota Air Base, spent three days
helping farmers remove mud and debris from their fields and irrigation systems and
cleaning yards and driveways for elderly citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt.
Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Sota Watanabe, a local farmer, explains how a landslide destroyed much of his property at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60 volunteers, Airmen and Japanese workers from Yokota Air Base, spent three days helping farmers remove mud and debris from their fields and irrigation systems and cleaning yards and driveways for elderly citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Airman 1st Class Thomas Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection
services, shovels mud from an irrigation system at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture,
Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Smith and other members of a large volunteer force from
Yokota Air Base, ventured to Tochigi to assist the locals with mud removal, sand
bagging and fixing what was broken during a recent flood and landslide. (U.S. Air Force
photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Airman 1st Class Thomas Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection services, shovels mud from an irrigation system at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Smith and other members of a large volunteer force from Yokota Air Base, ventured to Tochigi to assist the locals with mud removal, sand bagging and fixing what was broken during a recent flood and landslide. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

A volunteer from Yokota Air Base raises his hand high above local students after a
'thank you' presentation at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015.
More than 60 Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base to help remove
thousands of pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes
that were damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. Students at the
local elementary school made a speech and sang a song to thank the volunteers for
their efforts in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/
Released)

A volunteer from Yokota Air Base raises his hand high above local students after a 'thank you' presentation at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60 Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base to help remove thousands of pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. Students at the local elementary school made a speech and sang a song to thank the volunteers for their efforts in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/ Released)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Spiceland, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection
services, pumps water from a clogged irrigation drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi
Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Ten consecutive days of rain led to flooding and
landslides that damaged much of the local area. More than 60 volunteers from Yokota
Air Base ventured to the prefecture to assist with post-damage relief. (U.S. Air Force
photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Spiceland, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection services, pumps water from a clogged irrigation drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Ten consecutive days of rain led to flooding and landslides that damaged much of the local area. More than 60 volunteers from Yokota Air Base ventured to the prefecture to assist with post-damage relief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Mud is scraped into a pile to clear an irrigation drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi
prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More the 60 volunteers from Yokota Air Base spent
three days assisting the local community in post-flood and land slide relief. The local
elementary school allowed many of the volunteers to sleep in the gym in gratitude of
the volunteer's service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Mud is scraped into a pile to clear an irrigation drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More the 60 volunteers from Yokota Air Base spent three days assisting the local community in post-flood and land slide relief. The local elementary school allowed many of the volunteers to sleep in the gym in gratitude of the volunteer's service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Marshall Johnston, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron structures craftsman,
drops mud on the side of an irrigation creek at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan,
Sept. 15, 2015. Johnston used mud taken from a clogged irrigation drain to fix an
eroded creek wall that was leaking into a farmer's field. More than 60 volunteers from
Yokota Air Base ventured to the prefecture to assist with post-flood and landslide relief.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Marshall Johnston, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron structures craftsman, drops mud on the side of an irrigation creek at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Johnston used mud taken from a clogged irrigation drain to fix an eroded creek wall that was leaking into a farmer's field. More than 60 volunteers from Yokota Air Base ventured to the prefecture to assist with post-flood and landslide relief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

A 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection member takes a break from digging
mud during flood relief at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More
than 60 volunteers, Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base, ventured to the
prefecture to help local residents restore their properties. Ten days of rain led to mass
flooding and many landslides that damaged personal and public property. (U.S. Air
Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)
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A 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection member takes a break from digging mud during flood relief at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60 volunteers, Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base, ventured to the prefecture to help local residents restore their properties. Ten days of rain led to mass flooding and many landslides that damaged personal and public property. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

A volunteer rests after a day of work removing mud and debris from a clogged irrigation
drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60 Airmen
and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base volunteered to help remove thousands of
pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were
damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff
Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)
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A volunteer rests after a day of work removing mud and debris from a clogged irrigation drain at Kanuma City, Tochigi prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. More than 60 Airmen and Japanese who work at Yokota Air Base volunteered to help remove thousands of pounds of mud from the many businesses, buildings and personal homes that were damaged during floods and landslides in the Tochigi area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez/Released)

(Left to right) Maj. Korinne Takeyama passes a bag full of mud to Tech. Sgt. Abdul Smith, both from the Civil Engineer Squadron, at a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Ka-sono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)
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(Left to right) Maj. Korinne Takeyama passes a bag full of mud to Tech. Sgt. Abdul Smith, both from the Civil Engineer Squadron, at a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Ka-sono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Abdul Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, carries bags full of mud alongside a local resident at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civil-ians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Tech. Sgt. Abdul Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, carries bags full of mud alongside a local resident at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civil-ians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron establish an assembly line to download bags full of mud from a transport truck at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron establish an assembly line to download bags full of mud from a transport truck at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Airman 1st Class Thomas Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection, rides in the back of a truck moving mudflow at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Airman 1st Class Thomas Smith, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection, rides in the back of a truck moving mudflow at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron greet residents from the back of a pickup truck after finishing cleaning an area of Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron greet residents from the back of a pickup truck after finishing cleaning an area of Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Sixty four students from the Kasono Elementary School and Airmen and civilians from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron pose for a group photo after the appreciation ceremony at Kasono El-ementary School, Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Sixty four students from the Kasono Elementary School and Airmen and civilians from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron pose for a group photo after the appreciation ceremony at Kasono El-ementary School, Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

An airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron and a student from the Kanuma elementary school high-fived after the appreciation ceremony at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)
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An airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron and a student from the Kanuma elementary school high-fived after the appreciation ceremony at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)

Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron ride in the back of a pickup truck in support of landslide sites at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron ride in the back of a pickup truck in support of landslide sites at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron clear mudflow from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron clear mudflow from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron carry bags full of mud from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Volunteers from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron carry bags full of mud from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Mud flow covered a residential area in Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Mud flow covered a residential area in Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

(Left to right) Airman 1st Class Zachary Schofield and Masanobu Ishikawa, both from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, clean mudflow from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Ja-pan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force pho-to by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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(Left to right) Airman 1st Class Zachary Schofield and Masanobu Ishikawa, both from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, clean mudflow from a house at Kanuma City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Ja-pan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force pho-to by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Airman 1st Class Zachary Schofield, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, carries a bag full of mud after clearing an area of mudflow at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)
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Airman 1st Class Zachary Schofield, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, carries a bag full of mud after clearing an area of mudflow at Kanuma city, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, Sept. 15, 2015. Sixty Airmen and civilians from the 374th CES volunteered to help at sites in the Kasono area in support of floods and landslides caused by the heavy rainfall associated with the post-tropical remnant of Tropical Storm Etau, which stalled over eastern Japan, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in 24 hours, from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Ya-suo/Released)

KANUMA CITY, TOCHIGI PREFECTURE, Japan -- Tropical Storm Etau hit eastern Japan with a large amount of rain, 26 inches total between Sept. 6-11, causing floods and landslides. More than 12,000 homes were flooded throughout the Greater Tokyo region and 350 landslides struck Tochigi prefecture alone.

In response, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron put together a 60-member team to assist in flood relief efforts in Kanuma city, Tochigi prefecture.

The teams arrived Sept. 13, working out of the local elementary school, and stayed on ground through Sept. 15, helping local residents restore their properties to pre-flood conditions.

Splitting into multiple teams, the volunteer force cut tons of lumber that had rolled onto a local ice rink and farmer's field, allowing for much easier removal. They also cleared the farmer's irrigation drains and repaired broken items around his property.

Upon completion of the school and nearest farmer's land, the teams dispersed throughout the local area, clearing mud from driveways, garages and yards for the young and elderly. They also unclogged an irrigation system covered in more than six feet of mud for another farmer.

Maj. Korrine Takeyama, 374 CES operations flight chief and volunteer lead, said her 'guys' were happy to help.

"It's been fantastic," she said. "We love doing this. It's our bread and butter. We train for this--doing humanitarian work."

Takeyama said the volunteers would stay until the area was 100 percent restored if they could, but mission requirements only allowed for three days. The 374 CES commander offered a 48-hour pass to anyone who wanted to support the volunteer effort. A few Japanese workers even took leave in order to volunteer.

"The support we received was overwhelming," Takeyama said. "Everyone was willing to give their time. It's been great to see the squadron come together for such a good cause."

The volunteers were there to assist the local community, but Takeyama said they also supported a coworker.

"It was a chance to not only help a community in need, but also support one of our own who grew up in Kanuma," she said.

Marco Furlan-Kaneko, 374 CES portfolio optimization element chief, spent years of his childhood in Kanuma. Born in Guatemala, son to a Guatemalan father and Japanese mother, Kaneko moved to Japan at the age of three and lived there until he was 11.

Relaxing on his off-day, Kaneko stumbled upon the flooding information while watching the news. He wasn't sure if it was his childhood city or not, but he was drawn to help.

"They were calling for volunteers and were in need of bodies," Furlan-Kaneko said.
He took his found information and contacted the squadron leadership. A few hours later, 60 volunteers were scheduled to leave early the following morning.

"I've been in commander's calls and working with our Japanese partners is always the message," Furlan-Kaneko said. "These past few days, I truly know what that feels like. It is a sad reason why we are here, but it made the community come together, it made us come together and work toward a common goal."

The morning of the volunteer's final day, the local elementary school invited the volunteers to a presentation. The principle expressed his gratitude to the team for their support in restoring the community.

"We don't know how we could ever thank you," the principle said. "But, what we can do, is teach our children the volunteer spirit that you have showed us and when a disaster like this hits again they will go out and help others."