3rd MEB to provide humanitarian assistance to Philippines
At the request of the Government of the Philippines, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed U.S. Pacific Command to support U.S. Government humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR) operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Approximately 90 U.S. Marines and Sailors from 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3rd MEB) and two KC-130J Hercules aircraft from 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) departed Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Nov. 10 en route to the Philippines, according to Col. John M. Peck, chief of staff, 3rd MEB.
A forward command element (FCE) and humanitarian assistance survey team (HAST), led by Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, the deputy commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) and the commanding general of the 3rd MEB, are deploying to the Philippines from Okinawa to provide an initial assessment on the support required.
The initial focus of U.S. relief efforts includes surface maritime search and rescue (SAR), airborne maritime SAR, medium-heavy helicopter lift support, fixed-wing lift support and logistics enablers. This includes requests for the Marine Corps’ KC-130 cargo aircraft and MV-22 osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The MV-22 provides a unique capability and is ideal in this type of operation. With its vertical take-off and landing capabilities, it can operate in austere environments. Its ability to convert quickly to fixed-wing configuration gives it greatly increased speed and range over traditional rotary wing aircraft.
Super Typhoon Haiyan has impacted more than 4.2 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines, according to the Philippine government’s national disaster risk reduction and management council (NDRRMC). Philippine officials will have a better idea of the damage and death toll in the coming days as transportation and communications systems are repaired.
Since 1990, the U.S. Government has responded to more than 40 disasters in the Philippines at the request of that country’s government, ranging from volcanic eruptions, drought, and population displacement.