In this Nov. 17 photo, USS Germantown (LSD 42) departs White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa with supplies and equipment for the humanitarian relief effort in the Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Robert Clowney)

LEYTE GULF, Philippines - USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), along with embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and Commander Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, arrived in the Leyte Gulf off the coast of the Republic of the Philippines early morning Nov. 20 in support of Operation Damayan.

The ships will be joining the U.S. Navy's ongoing cooperation with The Republic of the Philippines' humanitarian assistance relief efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

The ships and 31st MEU brought with them equipment with the capability to clear debris from roads, create and transport potable water, food and other supplies to remote areas still in need of assistance.

Personnel and equipment will be moved from ship to the shore using amphibious vehicles embarked onboard the two ships from NBU 7, which include Landing Craft Utilities (LCUs) and Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs).

"We are glad to finally be here so we can pitch in," said Cmdr. Jason Leach, commanding officer of USS Germantown. "We are just one part of Operation Damayan, but I believe that working as a team with the (Philippine) government and their armed forces - along with our Marines, and other agencies - will allow us to make significant contributions to the efforts here."