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Yokota civil engineers lead building renovation for relief forces

by Airman John Partlow
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/13/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Airmen in the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, aided by Red Cross workers and base community volunteers, prepared lodging facilities here March 12 for inbound disaster relief forces.

More than 60 Airmen and base residents worked into the evening on previously unoccupied residential building, cleaning up rooms and setting up essentials for the transient aircrews who were scheduled to arrive at Yokota later that night.

Yokota Airmen are helping to posture personnel, aircraft and equipment on mainland Japan in order to quickly respond to requests for search and rescue assistance.

"It makes me feel good because I've been on the traveling end to go places and do things," said Master Sgt. Michael Kilgore, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant.

Sergeant Kilgore went on to say that the building was being set up so relief forces can focus their efforts on doing their jobs for the people of Japan. It gives them a comfortable place to stay with a warm bed and a roof over their head while they help out.

When 374th CES officials requested support from the base population, Yokota members were more than eager to offer their support to the effort.

"I volunteered because they needed help and it's my duty and obligation as a security forces member, on or off duty, to help those in need," said Senior Airman Lucas McLean, a patrolman with the 374th Security Forces Squadron.

The cleanup effort attracted not just Airmen, but it also brought in base dependants, young and old.

"It feels good to volunteer," said Ty Hoopes, a fourth-grade Boy Scout volunteer.

Over the coming days, Yokota Air Base will receive more personnel and aircraft to support search and rescue efforts as requested by the government of Japan.

"Helping out makes me feel proud. It makes me proud to be in the Air Force and proud to be a security forces member," Airman McLean said. "My troops and I are ready at any moment to help those in need."

Airmen at Yokota AB also are ready to help sustain the recovery effort and they will remain ready to support both on and off duty.

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