U.S. military prepares to help Japan after quake 

Department of Defense officials are preparing to aide Japan's recovery from a massive earthquake with U.S. military assets in the region, Defense officials told The Washington Examiner.
    Defense Officials added that there are no reports of deaths or injuries to U.S. personnel.
    However, "the recall process is ongoing," said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, spokeswoman for the Defense Department's Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. "As you can imagine we continue to monitor the situation very closely."
    All Army personnel are accounted for and all Army installations and equipment are secure, Defense officials said.
    Hull-Ryde said the Defense Department is "posturing our forces to conduct disaster response operations if requested."
    Defense officials said they are currently positioning a number of Navy ships, with Marine forces to respond and provide disaster relief if  directed.
    The USS Essex, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, this morning, she said.
    The ship is making preparations to depart as early as this evening for  Japan. USS Blue Ridge, arrived in Singapore this morning, "is onloading a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HADR) kit" to be used in Japan and making preparations to depart tomorrow morning.
     The USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, which includes USS GREEN BAY and USS COMSTOCK, is currently at sea in the Western Pacific en route to a scheduled replenishment in Guam.
     "We are watching the situation closely and will adjust the track as required," Cmdr. Hull-Ryde added.
    Further the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, currently at sea in the Western Pacific en route a scheduled port visit to South Korea, is ensuring it is postured to respond if directed.
    USS Tortuga, currently in Sasebo, Japan, "is making preparations to embark LCUs and get underway as early as this evening," Defense officials said.
    US Air Force at Yokota Air Base has received more than 10 commercial airliners diverted from Narita international airport and a reception center for the aircraft has been established for personnel.
    The III Marine Expeditionary Forces is ready to respond when tasked along with Army aviation assests and personnel, Hull-Ryde said.
    All Army assets in Japan have been moved to higher ground, she added.

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