A WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., and some 40 Offutt airmen returned home after about six weeks of supporting US relief efforts in response to Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. The specially configured atmoshperic-monitoring aircraft collected air samples over the Pacific Ocean to help measure radiation levels from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan. “We are very proud to have provided unique data that had a far-reaching impact [on] the protection of millions of people in an extraordinary situation,” said Capt. Mark Cramer, who was director of operations for the WC-135 mission. The Offutt airmen operated out of Eielson AFB, Alaska, during this mission, and the WC-135 flew more than 51,000 nautical miles. The airmen arrived home in late April. (Offutt report by Ryan Hansen)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.