Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 2nd Class Jason Rimando passes water containers to local residents in Henane Nov. 16 during Operation Damayan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paolo Bayas)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Helicopter aid missions include 24 helos which continue to deliver water and relief supplies to remote areas. That is our number one priority. Thus far more than 335,000 liters of water, 77,000 pounds of food and 6,000 pounds of dry goods have been provided to displaced personnel.

The USS George Washington and afloat Navy forces summary includes 10 ships total: USS George Washington, USS Cowpens, USS Antietam, USS Mustin, USS Lassen, USNS Richard E. Byrd, USNS Charles Drew, USNS Bowditch, USNS Yukon and USS Emory S Land.

Today we expect Navy units will deliver another 45,000 plus pounds of food/dry goods at Guiuan.

We have recovered 396 displaced personnel and transported them to receive aid and medical attention.

Geographically our focus remains on Eastern Samar where USS George Washington is located. This is the hub for supplies our helicopters deliver to outlying areas.

We are also flying a number of missions to deliver Philippine police and military emergency personnel to remote locations.

Three ships (USS Emory S. Land, USS Antietam and USS Cowpens) with 4 helicopters are working in Leyte Gulf to distribute supplies from Tacloban to remote areas.

USS Mustin is in Ormoc Bay with 2 helos and is moving supplies delivered by C-130s from distribution centers to remote areas where the supplies are needed. USNS Charles Drew is also near Ormoc.

We expect USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) to finish up water floor surveys in Leyte Gulf in the next two days and then shift their operations to the Eastern side of Samar to conduct surveys of two ports, thus enabling the amphibious ships to get in and offload pier side.

USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) are finishing their onload in Okinawa and we expect them underway late today or tomorrow with an arrival late Tuesday or early Wednesday to East Samar.

  • These ships will bring heavy engineering equipment (backhoes, dump trucks, wreckers); Amphibious transport Vehicles), a tracked vehicle capable of operating both in the water and over land; generators and portable water tanks known as 'water bulls.'
  • Each ship typically has an embarked crew of 20+ officers, 350+ enlisted with an embarked Marine capacity of 400+, 100+ surge troops.
  • Each ship can produce 72K gal/day of fresh water.
  • Each ship has one medical doctor, one dental doctor, 9 hospital corpsman, 17 medical beds and includes a laboratory, X-ray and pharmacy.
  • USS Freedom (LCS 1) is now underway from Singapore and has been tasked to deliver supplies to support Operation Damayan. Following a brief stop for fuel in Brunei she will be enroute to the Philippines - she will not remain on station for Operation Damayan for an extended period due to other commitments. Freedom is carrying ten pallets of relief supplies, including five pallets of hygienic supplies and five pallets of medical supplies. The shallow draft and speed capability built into LCS-class vessels could provide relatively fast response and access to affected areas and potentially provide very limited medical/food/water relief or limited personnel/cargo lift over short distances.

    Current information from the Government of the Philippines indicates the current level of USS George Washington support is adequate now and will likely be desired for another 4 days or so, with the Germantown and Ashland possibly assuming the lead in relief duties.