Extending a helping hand
Staff Sgt. Ryan Knight, a soldier with U.S. Army Japan, shakes hands with a displaced Japanese citizen during the relief efforts of Operation Tomodachi at Toho Junior High School, March 31. The high school is being used as a shelter for the displaced citizens following the recent earthquake and tsunami that impacted the area.

Life after an earthquake, a tsunami and currently dealing with the threat of radiation from damaged nuclear plants has left those on the East Asian island of Japan searching for answers.

Expeditionary Contracting Command Soldiers and civilian are among the many providing support to those affected by the devastation.

According to Col. Frederick Puthoff, commander of the 411th Contracting Support Brigade, Daegu, Korea, members of the 650th Contingency Contracting Team have embedded with the Air Force's 374th Contracting Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

"They are helping the squadron with some of the humanitarian relief and disaster recovery contracting requirements," said Puthoff. "We also have members of the 680th CCT at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan ready to support the military-assisted departure mission (Operation Pacific Passage) there just like we have many 411th CSB employees supporting it here in Korea.

More than 4,600 miles away, the 413th remains on alert in Hawaii in case it is needed in Japan.

"Two of our officers, Maj. Carter Garrison and Lt. Col. Wayne Seibert, are currently attached to Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB in Hawaii as part of a

Joint Contingency Center we stood up with the Air Force last week," said Col. Mike Hoskin, 413th CSB commander, Fort Shafter, Hawaii. "The Air Force is the lead service for contracting in Japan and the 411th and the 413th are supporting them with operational contracting support planning, writing operations orders and other Command and control efforts to de-conflict contracting across the Pacific in support of Operation Tomadachi."

The main contracting support planner for U.S. Army Pacific and Pacific Command is Lt. Col. George Holland, 413th CSB plans and support operations officer. The USARPAC and PACOM headquarters stood up two joint task forces that are working 24 hours-a-day everyday during the crisis.

Page last updated Fri April 8th, 2011 at 00:00