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Operation Tomodachi
110319-N-4743B-039 SEA OF JAPAN (March 19, 2011) A landing craft utility debarks the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) to survey landing sites near Akita, Japan. Essex, the amphibious dock landing ships USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), are off the coast of Akita Prefecture, Japan, in support of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam M. Bennett/Released)