Capt. Tamara Graham, director of force requirements, Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF), spoke to an audience of U.S. and Japanese military and civic leaders at the “Thank You from Fukushima” reception hosted by the Honorable Kenko Sone, Consul General of Japan at his official residence in Los Angeles, Jan. 17.

The event served to express Japan’s gratitude for the support received from around the world following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that resulted in nearly 16,000 deaths. The reception also included remarks given by Sone, the Honorable Masao Uchibori, Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thom Burke, a former commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

“We received tremendous support from southern California, including assistance from southern California rescue teams from Operation Tomodachi led by the U.S. Forces stationed in Japan, and donations from thousands of Californians,” said Sone.

At the time of the tsunami, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, consisting of Ronald Reagan, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) and Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10), was on a routine deployment in the Western Pacific Ocean. The strike group arrived on the Japanese coast the next day.