Two Sundays ago I wrote about the devastation in Japan and included an email from Maggie Porter, aboard the USS Mustin. Here's a relevant portion of her latest email which reveals not only the nature of our continuing work but as well how rapid and worldwide communications are these days:
"Dear friends and family,
I've attached some pictures that our Air Boss, LCDR Mckechnie, took while en route to the landing zones ashore. Ironically, he is the son of a friend of Tom Mustin's from Coronado High School and when he found out the connection, he forwarded me these pictures to send home. They depict both the extent of the devastation and the team efforts of the Japanese people and our military.
In the last week, we have continued to provide supplies to those most in need via helo. Our Marines are moving in from the West to help clear the way for more supplies on land. As much as I would love to get on the ground and help, 100 pounds of food and water is worth a lot more to these people than my smiling face. Maybe our time will come to get our hands dirty, but it's unclear. The effort is now shifting from one of aiding survival to one of rebuilding, so we have yet to see how that will affect our mission here. We finally will be able to get home for a few days within the next week or so to get a break. It will be interesting to see what's happening back in Yokosuka . I hear that many places are still closed and blackouts are still common. This morning, we felt another large aftershock, a 6.8 which created another small tsunami at about 0.5 meters in Sendai . It's a little unnerving to not know what environment I will be returning home to. It will be a quick turn around though, we will have enough time to fix a few things on the ship, grab more supplies, and we will be back to work up North.
I received a surprising e-mail the other day that included a newspaper article from a one of the foremost Japanese papers. The reporter had translated my first e-mail home telling you all about what we were doing out here. I am in complete awe of the fact that my note home has come full circle back to Japan , but what a testimony it is to the wonderful network of people I have supporting me and sharing this story. The Japanese people now have had the chance to experience firsthand what the U.S. military is doing to support them, it's not the bad news of us leaving or criticizing the way they handled the radiation scare, but an honest look at how we have been able to help a few more people survive another day amidst such a tragic situation"