GSDF achieves 10,000 patient airlifts in Okinawa region

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Medical personnel tend to a patient transported by a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter to Camp Naha on Wednesday.

The Ground Self-Defense Force announced Wednesday that it has reached 10,000 emergency patient airlifts in Okinawa Prefecture and the remote islands south of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The GSDF took over the mission from the U.S. military in 1972 when Okinawa Prefecture was returned to Japan.

Emergency patient airlifts are carried out by the 15th Helicopter Squadron based at Camp Naha in Naha. The unit operates as a disaster-response squad and is dispatched to transport patients from areas with insufficient medical systems, such as remote islands, to medical centers.

A total of 13,365 patients have been transported to date.

On Wednesday, a CH-47 helicopter transported a seriously injured woman in her 80s from Minami-Daito in Okinawa Prefecture to Naha.