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During colors, onboard USS TORTUGA (LSD 46), a member of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force stands at attention on the flight deck to salute the National Ensign. Immediately after colors, he turned to Tortuga Sailors and said, “Thank you.” USS TORTUGA (LSD 46) loaded more than 80 JGSDF vehicles onto their ship to transport from Tomakomai Ko to Ominato. Tortuga is operating in the 7th Fleet supporting earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
"Due to damage as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan, it has been determined by the Secretary of the Navy (in consultation with Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet) that the movement of personnel to commands and activities in the country of Japan, be stopped effective immediately," read a Navy administrative message released publicly Thursday.
The so-called stop-movement order covers all Sailors scheduled to report commands based in Japan as their next or intermediate duty station.
Sailors assigned Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) in Japan over the next 30 days are being told to check in with their command leadership to see if those orders should still be carried out.
San Diego based Sailors were among the first of 17,000 U.S. troops sent to Japan to aid survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that hit six days ago.
The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG), including USS Preble and USS Chancellorsville, are coordinating several supply flights daily, delivering more than 40 tons of bottled water, food, clothing, and medical supplies.
For the second day in a row poor weather conditions, including snow, hampered the USS Reagan CSG’s operations centered off the east coast of Iwate Prefecture.
In a post on Facebook, the Commanding Officer of the Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron assigned to USS Reagan said there are signs of hope amid the devastation.
“Today the BLACK KNIGHTS did some good work. We found a village that had not been serviced yet, and was able to report it to the Japanese government,” wrote CDR George Aguilar.
The 5,000 pounds of relief supplies delivered Thursday included two teddy bears. They’re small tokens that mean the world to children who’ve lost just about everything.
“The smiles and relief on the faces of the people we help make this all worthwhile,” wrote Aguilar.