Photo Information

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Capt. Klusmann, initial response force commander, provides Toshimi Kitazawa, Japan Minister of Defense, a demonstration of IRF functions at Hangar 15 here April 23. The specialized team deployed to Yokota and remains on stand-by to support the Government of Japan if requested. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer)

Photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Strohmeyer

CBIRF Remembers Operation Tomodachi

7 Apr 2021 | By SSgt. Kristian Karsten Chemical Biological Incident Response Force


Operation Tomodachi

Naval Support Facility, Indian Head Maryland – Over 10 years ago, on March 11, 2011, one of the United States of America’s closest allies, Japan, was struck by a 9.1 earthquake. This catastrophic event caused a massive tsunami which was over 133 feet high, and caused several of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima facility to go into meltdown. This tragic event was met with massive amounts of international aid, along with support from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In April 2011, the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), was requested by the Japanese Self-Defense force to come support their consequence management operations as a quick reaction force from Yokota Air Base. Within several days, CBIRF was in Japan, and ready to assist the Japanese Self Defense force however possible. CBIRF quickly set up joint training with the Japanese, and created an environment that enabled both entities the ability to complement and enhance each other’s operational capabilities. As a quick reaction force, CBIRF’s responsibility in Japan was to maintain a state of high readiness, in the event that the Japanese needed CBIRF to assist them with extraction of their personnel. Luckily, no call was placed where CBIRF had to act in this capacity, and after a month of support, CBIRF started the return home.

The unit remained on alert in the event that they were needed again, but both CBIRF and the Japanese Self-Defense force gained a strong friendship and helped foster joint training between the two agencies. This friendship continues today, as the Japanese Self Defense force sends its service members to attend the CBIRF Basic Operators Course (CBOC).

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force