PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - More than a month after the disaster in Japan, people are still struggling. But a Punta Gorda Marine is helping them rebuild.
March 11th, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake shook the country of Japan and a massive tsunami soon followed. Since then, the Japanese national police agency estimates more than 13,000 people have died, more than 14,000 are missing, and almost 5,000 are injured.
It's a situation America's bravest could not overlook. Military members keep the flight line busy at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, unloading tons of cargo equipment and much-needed supplies.
Marine Corporal Richard Sanders of Punta Gorda came with a team of Marines from Okinawa and operates a video teleconferencing system that supports relief efforts. "My primary job in the Marine Corps is a Tech Controller," Sanders said. "I take large-scale communication and make it work. I'm filling abilities outside my job but that's what happens."
American forces helped some 2,800 passengers evacuate Yokota Air Base in a week while simultaneously moving troops and supplies into region.
The goal now is to help the Japanese people regain some sense of normalcy.
"It feels good," Sanders said. "I would expect them to do the same for us. If we were to be hit by something like that. We were 300 miles south. I don't see how we couldn't have come up here."