US Marines and local community residents participate in a Tsunami Evacuation Drill

A sign is displayed to provide information to U.S. service members and local community residents as they participate in a tsunami evacuation drill on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 3, 2021. The drill was held to convey the readiness and capabilities of the camp to service members and local communities in the event of an emergency. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)
A sign is displayed to provide information to U.S. service members and local community residents as they participate in a tsunami evacuation drill on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 3, 2021. The drill was held to convey the readiness and capabilities of the camp to service members and local communities in the event of an emergency. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)

US Marines and local community residents participate in a Tsunami Evacuation Drill

by Cpl. Karis Mattingly
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Members of the U.S. and local communities participated in a tsunami evacuation drill Nov. 3, 2021, on Camp Foster.

The annual drill was held to convey the readiness and capabilities of the camp to service members and local communities in the event of an emergency.

“I would like to thank the walkers that came out to help exercise our plan in case of a catastrophe,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Jeffrey L. Hammond, camp commander of Camps Foster and Lester and commanding officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “It is good to practice because we do not want to figure it out when the sirens go off or when we look to the ocean and see it coming our way.”

The participants gathered at Camp Foster’s Gate 5 and walked to the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. The walk was approximately 20 minutes to get to the hospital, one of the base's highest grounds.

“The Kitamae district is lower than sea level and those of us that need to evacuate to higher land come to the base,” said Tsutaw Tokuda, the district mayor of Kitamae, and a participant of the event. “This drill helps us know where to go, and it is very important to save their lives.”

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake hit, causing thousands of deaths and injuries as well as hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Due to the natural disaster on Nov. 5, 2012, Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, former Ginowan City Mayor Atsushi Sakima, and Chatan Town Mayor Masaharu Noguni signed the Local Implementation Agreement.

The agreement enables local nations within a low elevated area to enter the base and walk to high level ground. Districts like Mihamae and Mihama are in the warning areas for tsunamis and are encouraged to enter the base in the event of a natural disaster.

“We appreciate the help by the Marines opening up the gate so the residents can get to safety,” said Tokuda. “Thank you for helping. I am hoping that we can talk to even more residents and have additional participants in the future.”

Following the event, participants were handed water and snacks supplied by Marine Corps Community Services and handed out by U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Benjamin Hawthorne, executive officer of H&S Battalion, MCIPAC, and Marines with Camp Foster Camp Guard. Additionally, Hammond closed the event with a speech stressing the importance of the event and his appreciation for the Marines and local community residents who participated.

“This time we had 27 participants which is incredible,” said Hammond. “I really appreciate everybody who came out today. Thank you very much.”

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Base:

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web