An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 7, 2014

Okinawa Kin Town Residents, Marines Practice Tsunami Evacuation

By Staff III Marine Expeditionary Force / Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Kin Town residents and Marines participated in a tsunami response drill Nov. 5 at Camp Hansen to increase the two communities’ readiness in the event of a natural disaster.

Although similar drills have taken place in the past, this was the first exercise since a local disaster response agreement was signed in September between Camp Hansen and Kin Town. The agreement provides Kin Town residents and emergency personnel access to Camp Hansen facilities for training and during a natural disaster.

“Engaging in this drill helps build up communication with the Kin Town office and with the other community offices,” said Maj. Andrew A. Merz, operations officer for Camp Hansen. “It was to show we are not separate from the local community, we are part of it.”

A tsunami is a series of ocean waves caused by seismic activity under the ocean floor. The first wave is often times not the most powerful, successive waves can reach a height of over 100 feet, speeds of up to 500 miles per hour.

“The reason we did the drill today is because Nov. 5 is designated as National Tsunami Awareness Day,” said Masaru Nago, a volunteer with the Disaster Preparedness Team of Kin Town.

The drills improved the communication between the Marine Corps, Kin Town Emergency Personnel, the Ishi Kawa Police and the local community leaders responsible for disaster response, according to Nago, from Kin Town.

“Today, we had our initial tsunami response drill with Kin Town, which is the first time we’ve practiced with the locals since the agreement was signed two months ago,” said Merz, from Lansing, Michigan.

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake created a tsunami in Tōhoku that struck northeastern Japan. Marine Corps officials understand the devastating power of a tsunami and the need to practice evacuation drills with the community.

“Anything that you do, if you practice it and scout the route ahead of time, it gives you a sense of security,” said Merz. “When something actually does happen, you react that much faster.”

For the exercise, community members gathered outside of Camp Hansen’s Gate 4 before entering with Marines and other officials. Residents from district 22 and 23 in Kin Town took part in the simulated evacuation.

“Exercises like this are like fire drills, you have to keep doing them so you know where to go, how to react and how to get to safety in an orderly manner,” said Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Janniche, a motor vehicle operator with Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “If a tsunami actually happens, now they know where to go, what to do, and not panic.”

Camp Hansen is the highest point near Kin Town, so it is a key evacuation route for the local residents, according to Janniche, from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Towards the end of the drill, Marines showed the residents the alternative gate to provide a secondary entrance point.

“I think overall it went well,” said Merz. “We had some areas that we can work on, but we learned some names and faces of the local community leaders. Now that we have met leaders of those communities outside the gate, it will make future drills go more smoothly.”

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Bersama Warrior 2024 first week wraps up with Mission Analysis Brief
Exercise Leadership receives a mission analysis brief as Bersama Warrior 2024 wrapped up their first week of the command post exercise, June 8, 2024 in Kuala Lupmur, Malaysia. (Courtesy Photo)
June 12, 2024 - Forty members of the Washington National Guard and their Malaysian Armed Forces counterparts wrapped up a successful first week of the Bersama Warrior 2024 staff exercise with a mission analysis brief on June 8, 2024, in...

U.S. Navy and Air Force special operations personnel conduct routine training in the Republic of Korea
A U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider gunship assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron from Hulburt Field, Fla. lands at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (ROK) June 12, 2024. The Ghostrider and its crews are participating in a regularly scheduled joint, combined exchange and training (JCET) event designed to positively affect the combat readiness of special operations forces (SOF) personnel in support of the mutual defense of the U.S. and ROK homelands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Cabanero)
June 12, 2024 - U.S. Air Force personnel and an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing arrived in the Republic of Korea on June 12, 2024, in support of an ongoing joint, combined exchange training iteration...

RIMPAC to begin June 27
Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 coordinator Royal Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Gill, right, briefs Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet (C3F) Vice Adm. John Wade about RIMPAC 2024 at C3F headquarters, June 11, 2024. Twenty-nine nations, 40 surface ships, four submarines, 14 national land forces, more than 171 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are set to participate in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands, June 27 to Aug. 1. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2024 is the 29th exercise in the series that began in 1971.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Sarah C. Eaton)
June 12, 2024 - Planning and preparations are being finalized for the 29th biennial Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), a multinational exercise involving 29 nations and more than 25,000 personnel, set to run June 27 to Aug. 1, in and...

ASD(A) Cyber Warfare and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Convene Workshop to Discuss Cyber Challenges Faced to Safeguard Critical Infrastructure
June 10, 2024 - From April 16-18, 2024, more than 90 experts in the fields of cybersecurity and operational technology throughout the Indo-Pacific region gathered to analyze and discuss the cybersecurity challenges of critical infrastructure...

JPRMC-X | Closing Ceremony
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Marcus Evans, the commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, alongside Philippine Army counterparts, salutes during the closing ceremony held at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, June 10, 2024. The annual Salaknib exercise enhanced the strategic readiness capabilities of the U.S. Army and Philippine Army while building on the shared vision of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Samantha Aguridakis)
June 10, 2024 - U.S. and Philippine Army soldiers and distinguished guests come together for the closing ceremony of the 2024 Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Exportable (JPMRC-X) exercise held at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines,...