YOKOSUKA, Japan - USS Shiloh (CG 67) Sailors and workers from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East Crane and Rigging Department loaded "tri-wall" boxes on board Shiloh March 17, that are filled with donations from community members of Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY).
The donations are headed to Sendai, Japan, to assist those affected by the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck the northern part of Japan March 11.
"We're doing an onload operation. We're taking 10 tri-walls that we've loaded up from one of the tower donation centers for support for Sendai," said NAVFAC Far East Senior Chief Construction Electrician Cajan Nelms, one of the coordinators for the event.
"They are going to load up these tri-walls and put them on the Shiloh and take them up to Sendai. We've got all kinds of clothes, blankets, diapers, and any kind of goods that they are going to need up there and the support to help them out," said Nelms.
While the crew was getting the ship ready to leave for Sendai, even more donations were collected and were ready to get shipped out as well.
"We also have another two or three hundred bags of more goods to donate that are over at the tower. Once this is done, this truck is going to go back over to the tower and load up all the other bags and then go to Atsugi. We have on-going [helicopter operations] with the goods up there," said Nelms.
"We're sorting [the donations] and putting Japanese writing and English labeling on them and we are also weighing them. So any place they have to go, they can get offloaded and sent up there," said Nelms.
Shiloh Commanding Officer Capt. Matthew Loughlin was just as excited as his crew to lend a helping hand.
"We're going to get underway and head up and join the effort up north and we are really looking forward to participating," said Loughlin. "We're very proud of the Navy effort that's ongoing and really proud of our association with our Japanese friends and looking forward to helping out in any way we can."
As the last boxes were loaded into the ship's hold, some of the Sailors said they were happy a little piece of CFAY was heading to the people in need.
"I think that just the pure fact that everybody wants to help out and the fact that within three days we've had thousands and thousands of things donated, I think that it shows the Japanese we are here to support them," said Nelms.