Sequestration be damned…

The Navy and Marines are doing their jobs and once again responding to a natural disaster…

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has ordered the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and other U.S. Navy ships to make best speed for the Republic of the Philippines. 

The aircraft carrier, which carries 5,000 Sailors and more than 80 aircraft, is currently in Hong Kong for a port visit. The crew is being recalled early from shore leave and the ship is expected to be underway later this evening. 

In company with the carrier will be the cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and the destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89). The supply ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE-10) is already underway and will rendezvous with the group as they get closer. USS Lassen (DDG 82) got underway yesterday for the region. Embarked on board USS George Washington, is Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW-5). 

CVW-5 is a collection of aircraft designed to perform various functions including disaster relief and includes the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 flying the MH-60S Seahawk; and the “Saberhawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 flying the MH-60R Seahawk.

As needed, these ships and aircraft will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, supplies, and medical care in support of the ongoing efforts led by the government and military of the Republic of the Philippines. 

The ships should be on station within 48-72 hours. The Defense Department is continuing to work closely with the Philippine government to determine what, if any, additional assets may be required. 

From the BBC.

Roughly 250 Marines and sailors with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade are on the ground in the Philippines as of Tuesday morning. Their chief mission is to support the Philippine military in lifting support materials into the disaster zone, as well as evacuating Americans and injured locals.  BG Paul Kennedy, the III MEB commander, toured the disaster zone by plane shortly after arriving there.

I understand from folks in theater there will be a pretty large effort, much like what USS LINCOLN did during the Indonesian earthquakes…

I’m sure the UN will try to take credit, and I really hope they don’t try (again) to make our Sailors and Marines wear the Blue Beanies…

But it’s interesting that there is little to no coverage of this other than Fox and foreign news services… 

And I’m betting the administration won’t cough up any extra funds to replace what’s being used in the HA/DR efforts, or replace any of the consumables that go over the side to support those in need.


Sequestration be damned… — 6 Comments

  1. And it will be a lot that goes over the side. I am so glad they are being sent. Even if it is a thankless job. Thankless from the administration side, I know the Filipino people are beyond grateful.
    I actually heard about this yesterday on NPR of all places.

  2. This kind of mission wins the US more local hearts and minds than any of the State Department handouts.

    Well done sailors and marines!

  3. It will take a lot of effort to get the area of the P. I. that was hit back into shape. And truth be told, it wasn’t in particularly good shape before the 190 mph winds ripped the place to pieces.

  4. Jenn- Interesting that NPR actually told the story…

    Opus- Yep, the ones that are left that is…

    Gerry- Agreed!

    LL- That it will, and you’re right!

    WSF- Yep… sigh