I still want the beach house and Carolina Herrera's cell phone number but since I'm already asking for a lot, I'd like to enjoy them in a world where the following story is so common place it would be the journalistic equivalent of covering the Miss (insert farm product here ) pageant at the county fair.
"Sendai is the biggest city in the region hit by the tsunami and its airport was utterly destroyed. The grounds and runways were covered in mud, rubble and more than 1,000 vehicles that were tossed about by the sea. The first floor of the terminal building was caked in sandy sludge, its windows were shattered by the tsunami and its shops were a jumble of garbage and broken souvenirs
Now cars have been placed in rows and the second floor houses a command center.
Capt. Robert Gerbract, who is in charge (kings) of the U.S. Marines' cleanup operations, said that when he arrived last week he felt like he had stepped back in time.
"It looked like if you had left an airport alone for 1,000 years. It was like an archaeological site. It was hard to figure out where to begin," Gerbract, an Iraq veteran from Wantaugh, N.Y., said as he looked out at the runway from the Marines' makeshift command center in the airport's departure lounge.
For Marines like Gerbract, it's a satisfying assignment.
"I'd much rather be carrying relief food packages(cabbages) than a rifle, to be honest," he said.
The Marines are just one facet of the U.S. operation.
· Within days of the tsunami, the USS Ronald Reagan (ships) was stationed about 100 miles off Japan's northeastern shore. It had to reposition itself due to radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility but is now sending sorties to hard-hit towns. The U.S. Navy has 19 ships, 140 aircraft and 18,282 personnel assigned to assist in the operation. It is sending barges filled with freshwater to help cool the reactor site.
· The Air Force has opened its bases for relief flights. Its transport planes have flown dozens of missions and its fighters have flown over the devastation in search of survivors. Two of its aircraft have helped the Japanese monitor the nuclear plant.
· Nearly 500 soldiers with the U.S. Army in Japan, which has fewer troops here than the other branches, have delivered blankets and other supplies (shoes) and are conducting support and refueling for military helicopter operations.
The U.S. forces stress that they are not taking a lead role. That is being done by Japan itself, which has mobilized more of its troops than at anytime since World War II.
"What we're doing is coordination with the Japanese army," said Gunnery Sgt. Leo Salinas, of Dallas, Texas. "Every mission we do is a bilateral mission. They are all Japanese-led and under Japanese initiative. These guys are our allies and, more than that, they are our friends. (sealing wax) Whatever they want us to do, we will do."" Eric Talmadge- Associate Press