• Volunteers from the American Red Cross and the community at Torii Station in Okinawa, Japan, collect donations for earthquake and tsunami relief in northern Japan. Donations began March 16 and more than $13,000 was collected in one day.

    Torii Station donates for Japan relief efforts

    Volunteers from the American Red Cross and the community at Torii Station in Okinawa, Japan, collect donations for earthquake and tsunami relief in northern Japan. Donations began March 16 and more than $13,000 was collected in one day.

  • U.S. Forces Japan Soldiers and Marines offload boxes of food into a relief support area operated by the Japan Self Defense Force at Kesenuma, Japan.  The food is from one of the many shipments arriving in support of Operation Tomodachi.

    Relief operations in Operation Tomodachi

    U.S. Forces Japan Soldiers and Marines offload boxes of food into a relief support area operated by the Japan Self Defense Force at Kesenuma, Japan. The food is from one of the many shipments arriving in support of Operation Tomodachi.

WASHINGTON - Defense Department officials are taking "proactive, deliberate" steps to stay ahead of the changing conditions in Japan, while keeping the safety and well being of military Families there always in mind, a DOD official said March 18.

"From the Pentagon, the military community and Family policy team and I are staying keenly aware of the fluid conditions there," Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Pentagon's office of military community and family policy, wrote in a blog released today. "From our schools and child care centers to our commissaries and exchanges, our focus is the well-being of military Families.

"While we all may not be in Japan," Gordon added, "I know our hearts and thoughts all certainly are."

Officials are committed to providing military Families timely and meaningful information in every situation, Gordon noted.

However, he said, it "is monumentally (important) for our Families living in the many (Japanese) cities and prefectures impacted by the tsunami."

Gordon suggested service members and their Families visit the following sources for up-to-date information:

-- Military community and Family policy's Facebook and Twitter pages for instant family-support updates;

-- Command and installations' social media pages for local announcements and guidance;

-- The Department of Defense Education Activity website for up-to-the-minute status of DOD schools and guidance for both students and parents;

-- Military OneSource's Japan earthquake and tsunami page for information about the disaster, including resources for locating loved ones, radiation protection, making a donation and coping with fears following a traumatic event;

-- Defense.gov's special report on Japan for official updates from the Defense Department; and

-- The American Red Cross website for information on relief operations in Japan.

Service members and their Families still without power should consult their installation's family assistance center, crisis response center or family support networks, Gordon said.

As another avenue of support, the Defense Department has launched an online discussion so people can share their messages of comfort, or advice, to military Families in Japan.

"My hope is that this discussion will serve to harness the support and goodwill of our community and move us forward," Gordon wrote. "Our strength comes from our community -- each of us, all of us.

"This is not only the time to support and sustain each other," he continued, "it's also an opportunity to share among ourselves important lessons we may have learned on how to help keep our Families focused, maintain a sense of normalcy -- especially for our children -- and provide comfort to our own during times of challenge and crisis."

Through resilience and a sense of community, Gordon said he has no doubt that service members and their Families will overcome this most-recent challenge.

"I never cease to be amazed at the unfailing love and support military Families provide to one another," he wrote.

Page last updated Wed September 28th, 2011 at 10:33