They came unannounced with much-needed relief and left with the eternal gratitude of some of Japan's most devastated citizens:
via PJ Tatler's Bryan Preston:
You’ll see an older Japanese man a little ways into the clip, speaking to the camera. What he says is, essentially, that the townspeople had no idea the Americans were coming or bringing them anything. There was no announcement or anything about it. Which is true. Between the destroyed roads and the radiation fears, hardly anyone can even get to the Sendai area. But these US pilots did.
You’ll also see, near the end of the clip, a group of older men watching as the Navy man stacks boxes of supplies from the helicopter on the tarmac. They’re standing still watching him because they’re stunned. That plus the language barrier puts them in a position where they just don’t know what to do. But you can see one of them making little gestures with his hands, as if in prayer. That’s a sign of very deep respect and gratitude.