By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
“I've been kept informed all day long about the tsunami in
, the earthquake and tsunami,” said Gates, who is on a trip through the Japan Middle East and Europe. “As best we can tell, all of our people are OK, [and] our ships and military facilities are all in pretty good shape.”
The secretary said that although
is a very sophisticated country, “this is a huge disaster and we will do … anything we are asked to do to help out." Japan
Gates joined President Barack Obama, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and other
officials in offering condolences and aid to the Japanese people for the massive disaster that struck near the coast of U.S. Honshu.
is, of course, one of our strongest and closest allies and this morning I spoke with Prime Minister [Naoto] Japan ,” Obama said during a news conference here. “On behalf of the American people, I conveyed our deepest condolences especially to the victims and their families, and I offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed.” Kan
Obama received a briefing this morning in the Oval Office on the earthquake in
and the tsunami warnings across the Pacific from several senior Japan government officials. U.S.
“We currently have an aircraft carrier in
and another is on its way,” he said at the news conference. “We also have a ship en route to the Japan to assist as needed.” Marianas Islands
Tsunami warnings have been issued across the Pacific, and initial waves from the tsunami have reached
Guam and other territories, U.S. and Alaska , and other areas along the West Coast. Hawaii
“Here in the
, there hasn’t been any major damage so far,” Obama said, “but we’re taking this very seriously and we are monitoring the situation very closely.” United States
Mullen offered condolences to the beleaguered nation.
“Thoughts and prayers to the people of
as they deal with the aftermath of this powerful earthquake,” he said on his Twitter feed. “Ready to help in any way we can.” Japan
Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said the
has a large number of military assets that include personnel, ships and aircraft on mainland United States , on the Japanese Japan , and throughout the Pacific region. island of Okinawa
He said 38,000 military personnel, 43,000 family members and 5,000 Defense Department civilian employees are assigned to U.S. Forces Japan.
“All of the different forces in
and in the surrounding area are going through 100 percent accountability checks,” Lapan said, adding that there are no reports of deaths or serious injuries among military personnel and no significant damage to ships, aircraft or facilities. Japan
On his Twitter feed this morning, Noriyuki Shikata, deputy cabinet secretary for public relations and director of global communications at the Japanese prime minister's office, said the Japanese government requested U.S. forces in Japan to support efforts to rescue people and to provide oil and medical aid via the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, adding his thanks to the U.S. government.
Americans in affected areas who need to contact the State Department can do so by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or Pacifictsunamiusc@state.gov. The State Department also is posting the latest travel information for the affected areas on the World Wide Web and via Twitter.