トモダチ作戦と日米の絆 Part 2 Operation Tomodachi Part 2

2012.05.24

Bansho トモダチマーク大阪国際交流センターにて、陸上自衛隊陸将・番匠幸一郎第3師団長をお招きして東日本大震災での日米共同作戦についてご講演いただきました。当日は約120名の参加者が集まり、昨年9月に行われた米海軍マックルール中佐の講演会に引き続き、自衛隊側からみた米軍の活躍や共同作戦の裏話など大変興味深いお話を伺いました。

 3月11日の震災直後、迅速な行動が必要と判断した自衛隊は、東北方面総監が陸・海・空全体の指揮が取れる特別体制をとります。彼らは、行方不明者の捜索やガレキの処理をはじめ、崩壊した自治体の役割を一部担うなど、初めて召集された予備自衛官と共に、番匠陸将とウォルシュ大将10万人体制で今回の災害活動に取り組みました。食事では赤飯の缶詰に手を出す者がおらず、赤飯の缶詰が大量に余ったといいます。

 イラク・サマーワでの自衛隊派遣部隊の指揮官を務めるなど国際経験が豊富な番匠陸将は、米軍の横田基地に設置された日米統合調整所に折木統合幕僚長の名代として派遣され、自衛隊代表として、米太平洋軍司令官のウォルシュ海軍大将および在日米軍トップのフィールド空軍中将ともに24時間体制で日米共同作戦の調整にあたります。

 米軍の活躍は目覚しく、物資輸送のハブとしての仙台空港の重要性に着目し3,000m滑走路を迅速に質問者復旧させたのをはじめ、海中のガレキで孤立した気仙沼大島の港を一週間で使用可能にするなど、卓越した能力を発揮しました。

 一方、家族の思い出となる遺留品を丁寧に仕分けしたり、ガソリンは被災者用だからと車を使わず徒歩で移動したり、避難所の子供たちを励ますコンサートを開いたり、入浴施設を設置したり、被災者たちに元気を届けたいと、米軍兵士たちが大変きめ細かな対応をしてくれたことに非常に感動したとおっしゃっておりました。

 A friend in need is a friend indeed. まさかの友は真の友。この言葉が示す通り、今回ほど米国が同盟国であったことを有難く、また誇りに思ったことは集まった聴衆なかったといいます。日本に住む在日米軍の人々は今回の震災を「わが事」として感じ、対処してくれました。そうした日米同盟の絆を糧として、これからも日本の安全を守っていきたいとご講演をしめくくられました。

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012Linehan & Bansho

 

     We had invited Lt. Gen. Koichiro Bansho, Commanding General 3rd Division, JGSDF to give a talk at the International House Osaka on the joint operation between Japan Self Defense Forces and the US Forces Japan in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, in front of about 120 attendees.  It was a sequel to the talk last September delivered by CDR Paul McClure of the U.S. Navy on the same topic but this time it was accounted from the SDF’s side.

     Immediately after the earthquake, 総領事と歓談SDF established a special commanding chain with the commander of the North Eastern Army at the top of the command for the necessity of quick response.  Activating reserves for the fist time, SDF mobilized 100,000 personals to engage in operations such as search for the missing people, shifting of the debris and even taking on part of the local government’s functions because the governing structures of the area were almost completely destroyed.  Rations of Sekihan, which are normally eaten at celebratory times, were left behind in a great quantity because soldiers 蛯原さん副社長did not want to eat it.

     Lt. Gen. Bansho, who led the SDF’s PKO in Samawa, Iraq in 1992, was posted to the Japan-U.S. Joint Coordination Office at the Yokota Base, to act for Gen. Oriki, the head of the Joint Staff, SDF.   Representing the entire SDF, he worked side by side, 24 hours a day, with Admiral Walsh, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Forces who took the helm of Operation Tomodachi, and Lt. Gen. Field, the commander of the U.S. Forces Japan, to make smooth coordination between the SDF and the U.S. Forces Japan.

     Lt. Gen. Bansho related amazing capabilities the U.S. Forces demonstrated in the operation.  Reopening of the Sendai Airport was considered the first priority since it would function as the hub for the entire logistics of the region: they cleared away the debris from the runaway and made it usable again in a week or so.  Kesen-numa Oshima, an island completely isolated because of a great amount of debris sunken inside the port, was made accessible again within a week thanks to the U.S. Marines and a salvage ship that the U.S. had brought in.

     On the other hand there were many episodes that show how deeply the U.S. soldiers care about those who suffered.  When they found things memorial they took utmost care to handle them because they must be of irreplaceable values.  Instead of using a car they insisted to walk since gas was so valuable that it should be reserved for the suffered Japanese.  They gave Jazz concerts at schools in order to bring smile to children and shower facilities were set up at make shift camps which were greatly welcomed by those who were sheltering in. 

     “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”  As a saying as such goes, Lt. General never felt more grateful and honored than this time that the U.S. had been a good friend of Japan.   The members of the U.S. Forces Japan who live in Japan thought the earthquake happened to them, not to someone else.  He said that this was the foundation of the U.S. – Japan relationship and upon which we need to build and maintain security of our country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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