This massive warship, the Reagan (nicknamed “Gipper” for the former president’s role in the movie, Knute Rockne: All American) is presently sitting off the coast of Japan providing a vast array of basic life support services for the victims of the devastating 9.0 earthquake/tsunami double punch that struck this island nation late last week north of Tokyo centered in the town of Sendai. Added to this turmoil is the danger of nuclear power plants suffering destructive meltdowns. To make matters worse, an active volcanic mountain, Shinmoedake, located at the southwestern end of the island of Kyushu, is acting up, spewing rock and ash up to two-and-a-half miles into the atmosphere. The Reagan has airlift capabilities and can provide medical facilities, fresh water supplies and render other aid if needed. In fact, Reagan has distillation plants providing 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water daily, enough to supply 2,000 homes.
The potential loss of life for the Japanese is beyond comprehension! Ships at sea have literally been swallowed up; an entire train is unaccounted for; one village has five thousand homes under water; and one town of ten thousand people is missing! Hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated from the center of the earthquake area; also from the areas around the nuclear power plants that have either experienced explosions, or are deemed unstable at the present time; and then there are additional tens of thousands of people being evacuated from the area around Shinmoedake.
The Japanese are known for being extremely well organized and industrious, but these unexpected circumstances will tax the most prepared of people. The infrastructure of Japan is sound in most situations. However, this is as abnormal as you could ever imagine. Even the fertile minds of Hollywood moviemakers would be hard pressed to come up with the complexities of this present tragedy.
|USS Ronald Reagan|