By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gere, Broadcaster
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
“It was both a rewarding and humbling experience to assist, even in a small way, with the tsunami recovery efforts on Honshu.”
In the PACAF Pixels blog post “Assisting Japan perspective from Week 1,” Lt. Col. Steve Goodman, a Combat Rescue Officer, lends his experience and reaction of initial search and rescue operations in some of the areas in Japan most devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“While we witnessed some devastating sights, not everything we saw was disheartening. As horrific as the pictures on the news are, they can’t capture the true gravity of what has happened to the Honshu coastline. It’s horrible. However, what the news hasn’t captured is what made the greatest impression on me. The Japanese people are doing a very good job in the wake of the disaster. They are a model of resilience and organization. While they continue to work through challenges and welcome help with the greatest of them, they have a lot to be proud of.”
Lt. Col. Goodman goes on to explain how when he arrived on scene in some locations, he was surprised to find small organized groups of survivors. This inspired him, as through all of the death and devastation around them, the Japanese remained calm.
“There was no looting or pushing to the front of the line, only selflessness. No one asked for a ride further away, towards greater warmth or safety. All of that calm, despite the significant losses they had already sustained.”
What further inspired him was that even though he and his men jumped at every opportunity to go out and find more people and offer more help, they consistently found the Japanese Self Defense Force doing more than their fair share of the work. Through their perseverance, he discovered there is always more that can be done.
“American efforts have been notable, specifically with the opening of airfields and the ship-to-shore movement of supplies. However, the greatest efforts have been the Japanese recovery efforts. We shouldn’t lose sight of that while we maintain pride in our own efforts to help.”
To read the entire blog post by Lt. Col. Goodman go here and find out more about the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) as well as what they are doing for Japan, visit PACAF Pixels, a blog with posts written by PACAF Airmen.