Local residents in Guiuan approach an MH-60R Seahawk from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 as it delivers relief supplies Nov. 17 during Operation Damayan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Peter Burghart)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Here is the Nov. 18 Seventh Fleet update for Operation Damayan.

Navy Sailors were honored to have President Aquino stop by and thank our forces for providing relief at Guiuan. Missions like Operation Damayan are what we train for, and we see helping others as an investment in the security, stability, peace and prosperity throughout the region.

Our priority is to continue getting relief supplies to Samar/Guiuan. This accounts for about 50 percent of our mission, with Guiuan acting as the hub and helicopters moving aid to outer areas.

About 35 percent of our mission related to Leyte Gulf/Tacloban is moving supplies via helicopters to areas along the rim of Leyte Gulf - mostly south of Tacloban.

In Ormoc, we see a lot of progress but it still accounts for about 15-20 percent of our relief mission.

Helicopter aid missions include 24 aircraft, which continue to deliver water and relief supplies to remote areas. That is our number one priority. Thus far, more than 368,800 liters of water and approximately 160,000 pounds of food and dry goods have been provided to displaced personnel.

We have recovered 519 distressed persons and transported them to receive aid and medical attention.

The total Seventh Fleet flight hours for this mission is nearly 500.

USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) have finished their onload in Okinawa and are underway and are expected to arrive in the Philippines early 20 Nov.

USS Freedom (LCS 1) is now underway from Singapore to deliver supplies to support Operation Damayan. She has one helicopter onboard.

We conducted 10 MV-22 Osprey fuelings onboard USS GW, and it was the first time doing that mission in Seventh Fleet. Germantown and Ashland also have this capability.

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 three days or so, with the Germantown and Ashland possibly assuming the lead in relief duties.

Emory S. Land is offering (through appropriate channels) the following: (1) To assess a water treatment plant in Tacloban and determine needed repairs; (2) Assist military personnel at the airport in cleanup; and (3) Conduct repairs to equipment at the airport and flight tower.

All support the U.S. Navy provides is part of the broader U.S. Government effort to support the Philippines’ request for humanitarian assistance.

On-station Assets

  • USNS Emory S. Land (AS 39), USS Antietam (CG 54) USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Lassen (DDG 82) with four helicopters are working in Leyte Gulf to distribute supplies from Tacloban to remote areas.
  • USS George Washington (CVN 73) is delivering water, medical supplies and hygienic supplies to Guiuan/Samar, Ormoc, Borongan and Leyte Gulf.
  • USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 21) is conducting survey operations in Leyte Gulf and San Pedro Bay to ensure there are no underwater obstacles and hazards to navigation. Next, we may have her survey the ports on east coast of Samar.
  • USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USNS Drew (T-AKE 10) are in Ormoc Bay with two helicopters and are moving supplies delivered by C-130s from distribution centers to remote areas where the supplies are needed.
  • USNS Walter S. Diehl is inbound, with one HA/DR kit.
  • USNS Byrd (T-AKE 4) is in vicinity of Samar. It has two Puma helicopters on board capable of lift support.
  • Two P-3 aircraft continue to survey the affected area to assist Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. planners with their response.
  • Lt. Lauren Moses, a physician assistant aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73), assists Philippine nurses in treating patients in Guiuan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Beverly Lesonik)

    Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Quinton Dotson, assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73), and other U.S. military personnel and Philippine citizens unload relief supplies that were airlifted ashore in Guiuan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Beverly Lesonik)