BATCATS deploy additional humanitarian support

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
An additional 15 Airmen from the 353rd Special Operations Group have departed here March 14 with support equipment and relief supplies on a MC-130H Combat Talon II to support humanitarian relief operations being staged out of Yokota Air Base.

The Airmen are highly-trained medical, communication and maintenance specialists capable of providing support in some of the most austere environments. The 353rd SOG now has about 115 Airmen and three aircraft deployed to support the Japanese government in the wake of an earthquake measuring 8.9 in magnitude and the following tsunamis that rocked Japan March 11.

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to our close friends in Japan during this difficult time," said Col. Stephen Bissonnette, deputy commander of the 353rd Special Operations Group.

Col. Robert Toth, the 353rd SOG commander, has deployed to lead the group's Airmen supporting the relief efforts and has stated the men and women are dedicated to aiding them in their time of need.

"We have already started working closely with Japanese officials to support relief efforts and will continue to provide support for our friends until our mission is complete," he said.

The 353rd SOG will be able to utilize its aircraft and aircrews to conduct search and rescue, transport emergency response teams, equipment and relief supplies; survey and open airfields and helicopter landing zones with special tactics personnel while providing air traffic controllers to control the airfields and landing zones; provide emergent medical care to injured people; and assist the Japanese government and other relief agencies with a variety of highly-trained support personnel during humanitarian operations.