The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrives in port at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan. The Ashland, along with the USS Germantown, are en route from Sasebo to Okinawa, where they will pick up Marines before heading to the Philippines to deliver aid to the typhoon-stricken island nation. (MC3 Mackenzie P. Adams / Navy)
More US sailors and Marines are on the way to lead relief efforts in the Philippines.
The dock landing ships Germantown and Ashland are en route from Sasebo, Japan, to Okinawa, where they will pick up Marines, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty confirmed Tuesday evening.
It was not immediately clear what Marine units in Okinawa would be joining the ships, which Flaherty said should arrive in the Philippines in two days.
The Navy has also dispatched the aircraft carrier George Washington, cruisers Cowpens and Antietam, and destroyers Lassen, Mustin and McCampbell.
In air assets, the Navy has two P-3 Orion aircraft on-scene assisting the country’s search and rescue efforts. The aircraft are from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Patrol Squadron 26, which is currently serving a six-month rotation to Misawa, Japan. “The Tridents” of VP-26 are skilled in sea surveillance and coastal and overland recon.
The Philippines government has requested relief from the U.S., whose assets are being directed by Marine Corps Forces Pacific, after what is believed to be one of the worst storms in Philippines history, Typhoon Haiyan. The surge wiped away seaside homes and dragged residents out to sea. The death toll is feared to be in the thousands.
More than 107,000 pounds of food, water and emergency relief supplies have arrived in the Philippines, according to a Marine Corps news release. Based on early estimates, Marines had already tranported more than 140 passengers and evacuated about 160 refugees from the Tacloban area, a city devastated by the storm.