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Marines from Camp Pendleton go to Japan to help relief effort

March 18, 2011 |  9:57 am

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Marines from Camp Pendleton have arrived aboard ships off northern Japan, prepared to aid in relief efforts in the nation ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami.

2,200 Marines and sailors, with 150 vehicles and 20 aircraft, have arrived to assist in debris removal, evacuation of the injured and to help move water and other supplies into inaccessible areas, officials said.

The Marines, from the 2nd battalion, 5th regiment, were in Okinawa as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit when the order came to redeploy. Planning teams, who will coordinate the relief efforts, are already ashore at Matsushima.

The ship Harpers Ferry will be pier-side at Akita to prepare for the offloading of equipment and personnel, with two other ships from the unit, the Essex and Germantown, at sea nearby.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marine supply officer Capt. Paul Bartok heads toward CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter as Marines prepare to aid in Japanese relief efforts. Credit: Marine Corps

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