Analysts create maps, resources for tsunami aid, rescue, response

| July 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

2nd Lt. Kyle Suchomski
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

8th TSC

8th TSC

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — While thousands of service members have served numerous humanitarian functions in Japan to support Operation Tomodachi, two Soldiers helped provide important capabilities there, recently.

Typographical analysts, Sgt. Jonathan Hughes and Spc. Joseph Carnes, both of the 70th Geospatial Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, were part of a joint-service team, including Air Force and Navy analysts, which gave relief planners a bird’s-eye view of a disaster area.

Japan’s March 11 earthquake and the resulting tsunami caused widespread devastation and destruction across much of the country. As a result, the U.S. sent members from all armed forces branches to support Japan in the humanitarian mission.

Just 11 days after the devastating earthquake, Hughes and Carnes were en route to Yokota Air Base, Japan. There, the pair helped create terrain products, using advanced satellite imagery, which allowed local officials to quickly gather more information about the rapidly unfolding situation.

“I definitely saw lots of things out of place over there,” Carnes said. “There were boats on land and a ton of trash and debris everywhere. You could see the high-water marks on all the buildings. … It was like everything above the second floor was virtually untouched by the tsunami.”

In addition to providing a view of the unfolding situation, 70th Geospatial Co. Soldiers had an impact on other aspects of the response effort. Their team produced maps of helicopter landing zones, which enabled rescuers to reach civilians affected by flooding and the earthquake.

Additionally, they generated map overlays, depicting radiation levels taken to analyze radioactive activity in the area surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor.

“Operation Tomodachi was a great opportunity to deploy Soldiers at a moment’s notice, in support of humanitarian efforts,” said Capt. Nolan Peterson, executive officer, 70th Geospatial Co. “It allowed us to test and validate the unit’s standard operating procedures, particularly humanitarian operations in a joint environment. The guys came back with lots of valuable knowledge, (making it) a truly worthwhile experience.”

“I learned a ton about serving in a humanitarian-aid role,” Carnes said. “It was a whole different perspective than looking for an enemy threat. We were actually looking for ways to help people.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: Deployed Forces, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *