Marines board a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter on the flight deck of USS Essex (LHD 2 

SEA OF JAPAN (March 18, 2011) – Marines board a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter on the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex, USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) with the embarked 31st MEU arrived off the coast of the Akita prefecture to await further tasking in support of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran)
USS Germantown Gears Up for Operation Tomodachi 
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Geronimo C. Aquino, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment, Japan 
SEA OF JAPAN - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) received food and supplies to provide humanitarian assistance and relief efforts for earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi on March 17.

The The ship received 85 pallets of goods and fuel from an underway replenishment with the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) to bolster supply needs for the operations.

“With the substantial amount of materials we received, we are now ready to help,” said Lt. Lamont Brown Germantown’s supply officer. “We received an extraordinary amount of cases of water, ready to eat meals and toiletries, such as soap and diapers. One of our plans is to put together humanitarian relief kits which will consists of mostly non-perishable items like canned foods and bottled water.”

Germantown is capable of serving as a helicopter landing platform, deploying landing craft air cushion (LCAC) and amphibious assault vehicles for rescue and transportation requirements.

“I’ve been living in Japan for two and a half years and I feel I’m part of the community,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class Sean Donovan, from the embarked Beach Master Unit 1. “I have the training to help, we have the equipment to help, and I feel obligated to help these folks. Families no different from mine are in need out there.”

The amphibious dock landing ship with her regular crew and the embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are sailing in route to mainland Japan as they continuously evaluate plans for distribution of manpower and material resources for the contingency operations.

“Our preparation of the contingency operations that is going on right now is among our key missions,” said Maj. Calvin Gadsen commander of the embarked 31st MEU, “our troops such as the Combat Logistic Battalion are specifically trained and have the capacity to produce water, electricity and provide power distribution; and for our aviation assets we will provide the transportation requirements in order to control and organize these relief efforts. In short, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is a mission that the 31st MEU is specifically trained for.”
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