MANILA, Republic of the Philippines - Personnel and aircraft with III Marine Expeditionary Force continue to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support at the request of the government of the Republic of the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha), which made landfall Dec. 4.
Today, Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules aircraft from Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, conducted three flights and transported approximately 110,000 pounds of relief supplies consisting of high-energy biscuits, tents, mats and food, bringing the total supplies transported by the squadron since beginning operations Dec. 9 to approximately 550,000 pounds.
Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, the commanding general for Marine Corps Forces Pacific, visited the squadron and III MEF Marines operating out of Villamor Air Base in Manila today, expressing his gratitude to the Marines, Philippine service members, and U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance personnel for their efforts in supporting Philippine-led disaster relief operations.
VMGR-152's aircraft arrived Dec. 8, seven hours after the Philippine government requested support. As of Dec. 14, the squadron has flown a total of 17 flights and delivered supplies consisting of family ration packs, relief aid boxes containing personal hygiene items and clothing, high-energy biscuits, rice, generators, mosquito nets, blankets, sleeping mats, tents and liquid containers.
The squadron also has transported one water purification unit, four water purification specialists, three personnel from USAID and the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, and a United Nation’s World Food Programme relief module and three of their tents.
Marines continue to transport relief supplies from Villamor Air Base in Manila to Davao International Airport in Mindanao, the region most affected by the typhoon. From Davao, the supplies were principally distributed by government and nongovernmental organizations to displaced families affected by the typhoon as directed by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Landing support specialists with 3rd Marine Logistics Group and logistics embarkation specialists with 3rd MLG and 1st MAW arrived from Okinawa Dec. 11-12 to assist the palletizing, loading and unloading of relief supplies. These Marines have worked side by side with Philippine Air Force members to efficiently prepare relief supplies for transportation to Davao.
Marines with 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, who were in Manila conducting planning for future bilateral training exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, stood up the III MEF forward command element Dec. 8 to support relief efforts led by the Philippine government. The command element established the bilateral coordination center, which is providing command and control for U.S. Marine relief efforts and coordinating requests for support with the government and Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. Embassy and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, part of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The bilateral coordination center also consists of personnel with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Pacific Air Forces, OFDA, Joint-U.S. Military Assistance Group-Philippines and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines. The center enables prioritization of effort and synchronizes humanitarian assistance and relief efforts, resulting in more efficient coordination and operations.
U.S. and Philippine armed forces are working shoulder to shoulder on missions to ensure relief supplies get to the main distribution hub, where they can reach those most in need. The Philippine government has led the effort to help its citizens following the typhoon.
High-resolution photos of Marine Corps relief efforts in the Philippines are available in a dedicated photo album link listed below:
— USPACOM (posted December 14, 2012) —