CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, visited Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, June 14.
The Marines of HMM-265 (REIN) briefed Amos about the part the squadron played during Operation Tomodachi, helping the residents of Northeast Japan after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The brief included everything from how quickly they arrived in Northern Japan, to the supplies delivered and the number of hours flow in support of those in need after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
Upon conclusion of the brief, Amos complimented the squadron by emphasizing the importance of what they had accomplished and how big of a difference it actually made.
“It was an absolute honor to hear the commandant of the Marine Corps talking about our squadron that way, and say how proud he is of what we did,” said Lance Cpl. Ryand A. Menendez, an aviation operations specialist with HMM-265 (REIN), 31st MEU. “It really doesn’t get any better than that.”
In addition to complimenting HMM -265, Amos went on to say that during a conversation with the president of the United States, the president said he liked Marines because when Marines are sent on a mission, they don’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do and how to do it. Marines just figure it out, and that’s what they did during Tomodachi.
Within eight hours of the earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan, HMM-265 was delivering aid to those affected by the quake.
During the operation the local Japanese began to recognize Marines in the squadron because of the Japanese symbol of a dragon painted on the outside of every aircraft.
“By the end of the operation we had Japanese locals coming up to us and asking are you 265?” said Sgt. Maj. Russell A. Strack, the squadron sergeant major. “They recognized the symbol.”
HMM-265 (REIN) recently attached to the 31st MEU and will be providing support to the Marines and Sailors throughout the upcoming deployment to the Asia-Pacific region.
The 31st MEU is the only continually forward-deployed MEU, and remains the nation’s force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.