Minnesotans Response to Fukushima Disaster Remembered on Anniversary

Updated: 03/12/2014 5:21 AM
Created: 03/11/2014 10:13 PM
By: Tim Sherno

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that hit Japan.

Tens of thousands of people died, thousands are still considered missing, and the massive clean-up effort continues.

Brad Gawboy was serving in the United States Navy Reserves, Commander Naval Forces Japan Headquarters in Minnesota when news of the earthquake reached the United States. He says the response was immediate.

"I don't think you can see it through a TV screen and appreciate it," he said.

Gawboy and others from the unit were on their way to Japan within days.

"We had people on the ground helping remove debris, helping search and rescue," he said.

Gawboy says he's still proud of the response.

"No matter what kind of reports were coming about the radiological dangers they said, 'Yes, I want to be on that quick reaction force to go over and help out' and they just climbed aboard the planes and flew in, when everyone was flying out," he said. "I'm really proud of our unit."

Yuko Suzuki, left, and Akemi Watanabe offer prayers for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Tuesday, March 11 2014.
Photo: AP/Koji Sasahara

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