UPDATE: U.S. Navy salvage operations conclude, U.S. Air Force spill team efforts continue
By Staff Reports, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 13, 2018
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
U.S. Navy divers from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Sasebo concluded cleanup efforts, March 13, after salvaging all recoverable tank debris.
The U.S. Air Force spill team continues fuel detection and cleanup operations. This is the final phase of cleanup efforts.
The team detected no remaining fuel from March 8 through 13. Additionally, the USAF bioenvironmental unit collected additional samples from the lake for testing; all test results to date have shown contaminant levels to be below the environmental standard.
The drawdown comes after nearly three weeks of cleanup operations. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 35th Fighter Wing and U.S. Navy members worked together to clear all debris and conduct fuel detection and cleanup operations after the jettison of two external fuel tanks during an in-flight emergency on Feb. 20.
The cause of the IFE is still under investigation and more details will be released as they become available. Please contact the 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office with any questions by phone at 0176-77-3075 or email at email@example.com.
Sailors from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Sasebo along with Airmen assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing ensured cleanup efforts continued at Lake Ogawara, March 10.
The team collected additional environmental samples, broke ice, removed several pieces of debris and searched for remaining fuel.
Airmen spotted sheen on the surface of the water, however, upon further investigation, discovered the fuel originated from a leaking city bus. The team then dammed, diked and diverted the oil away from the lake to assist the local community.
No additional fuel sheen was detected on the lake.
The U.S. Navy divers and 35th FW Airmen will continue operations until the beginning of next week to solidify a safe environment for all.
The cause of the in-flight emergency is still under investigation and more details will be released as they become available. Please contact the 35th FW Public Affairs Office with any questions by phone at 0176-77-3075 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Navy divers began work as the 35th Fighter Wing assumed responsibility for cleanup efforts at Lake Ogawara following a command changeover with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Wednesday.
The changeover comes after environmental survey, conducted by the 35th FW, results detected no measurable amounts of benzene or n-hexane (mineral, plant and animal) in the water. The survey was completed Feb. 22, and surveys continue to be conducted each day.
Tohoku Town Mayor Koji Ebina requested Aomori Prefecture to order the JMSDF departure because they surpassed the established initial goal set for the disaster response team. Additionally, Air Force and JMSDF joint net operations proved a significant drop in the risk of large debris damaging fishing gear.
With the departure of the JMSDF, U.S. Navy divers from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Sasebo will continue cleanup operations until completion.
Bilateral cleanup operations involving both the JMSDF and 35th FW spanned nearly two weeks at the lake. Personnel salvaged debris, broke apart ice on the lake to allow for fuel evaporation, used pads for fuel absorption and conducted continuous environmental testing.
“Since receiving a request for the disaster response team, we conducted a variety of activities and surveys for half a month,” said JMSDF Lt. Cmdr. Kouhei Ueda, the explosive ordnance disposal order chief, Ōminato Area Guard Group, JMSDF Ōminato District. “As a result, we recovered 87 fragments of the tank debris alongside the U.S. military.”
The 35th FW commander expressed his gratitude for the partnership between the JMSDF and U.S. forces.
“I want to personally thank the JMSDF members for their hard work and dedication during this cleanup effort,” said Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th FW commander. “We are committed to performing our mission in an environmentally responsible manner, and we will continue to work with the local community to ensure Lake Ogawara remains safe for fishing and other endeavors.”
The cause of the IFE is still under investigation, and more details will be released as they become available. Please contact the 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office with any questions by phone at 0176-77-3075 or email at email@example.com.
An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, experienced an in-flight emergency in the form of an engine fire shortly after takeoff at approximately 8:40 a.m., Feb. 20, 2018.
The fire required the pilot to jettison two external fuel tanks into an unpopulated area near Lake Ogawara. The aircraft was recovered safely on the installation airfield, and there were no injuries to the pilot or personnel on the ground.
“The safety of our Airmen and our Japanese neighbors is our number one priority during flying operations,” said Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th FW commander. “We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of this incident.”
More details will be released as they become available.