The extent of the devastation following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck northeastern Japan has been shocking, and its aftereffects will be felt for many years. While the rescue and relief efforts continue, and the nation and world anxiously watch the events at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant unfold, U.S. military personnel and assets are working side by side with the Japanese. This slide show covers only the first week of what will undoubtedly be a long recovery for the Japanese people and their nation, but hopefully gives some idea of the scale of the tragedy and the response.
Photo Gallery: Japan Disaster and Relief Operations
Sailors move cases of drinking water to helicopters on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd Chief Petty Officer Kyle Wilkinson, from Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, assists in a cleanup effort at the Misawa Fishing Port. Approximately 92 sailors from NAFM volunteered in the relief effort, assisting Misawa City employees and members of the local community. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Devon Dow U.S. Air Force members load a pallet with relief supplies onto a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globe Master III, March 12, at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., for transport to Japan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith A joint team of U.S. Air Force and Marine search and rescue personnel from Yokota AFB look over the damage to Sendai Airport following the earthquake. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samuel Morse American Red Cross volunteers prepare to distribute boxed meals March 11, 2011, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The meals were provided by officials from the 374th Force Support Squadron for passengers of aircraft diverted from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, due to an 8.9-magnitude earthquake. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrea Salazar Passengers of a commercial airline flight take shelter March 11, 2011, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Base officials there provided food and shelter to passengers of aircraft diverted from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, due to an 8.9-magnitude earthquake. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman John D. Partlow A child's Mickey Mouse backpack lies among the debris in Ofunato, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley Framing timbers of destroyed houses in a pile of floating debris off the coast of Sendai, Japan, look like matchsticks from a U.S. Navy helicopter on a search and rescue mission. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord A canal is choked with debris, including vehicles, in the downtown area of Ofunato, Japan, following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley A Japanese home is spotted adrift in the Pacific Ocean by an aircraft from the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ships and aircraft of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group were searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord A tug boat is among debris in Ofunato, Japan, following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew M. Bradley A sailboat lies in a street in Ofunato, Japan, after being swept ashore during a massive tsunami that struck the Japanese fishing port. The town was devastated by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake that triggered the destructive tsunami, which ravaged Japan's eastern seaboard. Teams from the United States, United Kingdom and China are assisting in the search for missing residents. U.S. Navy photo An SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the "Chargers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14 from Naval Air Facility Atsugi flies over Sendai, Japan, Mar. 12, 2011, to deliver more than 1,500 pounds of food to survivors of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. The citizens of Ebina City, Japan, donated the food and HS 14 was providing humanitarian assistance in support of earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan. U.S. Navy photo U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot Capt. Beau Block, of the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron, preps for a humanitarian mission to capture imagery of the earthquake- and tsunami-affected areas of Japan. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Paul Holcomb Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, load food onto a cargo platform at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma March 12 to provide assistance in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11. The Marines and supplies will be loaded into KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Each aircraft carries more than 8,600 pounds of supplies to assist the victims of the disaster, and Marines will work through the night loading planes with more supplies and personnel to be delivered to affected areas. The proximity of Marine aviation assets at MCAS Futenma has allowed Marines from III MEF to rapidly deploy critically-needed supplies and aid to areas that need it most. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dengrier Baez U.S. Navy Hull Technician 2nd Class Seneca Jernigan, left, and Yeoman 3rd Class Steven Tai move pallets of humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR) kits across the flight deck of the U.S. 7th Fleet command flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during an underway replenishment with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) as part of Operation Tomodachi in the South China Sea, March 12, 2011. Blue Ridge loaded HADR kits to provide humanitarian assistance in support of earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron M. Pineda, U.S. Navy Japanese citizens receive supplies from sailors assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4 embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin B. Gray