News: 3rd MEB departs for Philippines
Story by Lance Cpl. Donald Peterson
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Japan - Approximately 45 Marines and Sailors with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade departed Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan Nov. 12 to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
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 HADR operations in the Philippines.
As a result of the request for assistance from the Philippines, 3rd MEB personnel and assets will provide a wide range of relief efforts to affected areas of the country.
“We are going to help make any military support that will be provided safer by bringing in satellite communication equipment, radios and lights for runways.” said Capt. William R. Goode III, an air traffic control officer with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Marine Aircraft Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The initial focus of U.S. relief efforts include surface maritime search and rescue, airborne maritime search and rescue and lift support.
“Our main objective right now is to help those in need as much as possible, and get them the support they need,” said Cpl. Derrick H. Hardware Jr. a fire support specialist with 3rd MEB, III MEF.
Media interest in the U.S. relief efforts has received international attention and local Okinawan media outlets were present to witness 3rd MEB personnel and equipment load and depart MCAS Futenma.
To date, approximately 300 U.S. Marines and Sailors are currently in the Philippines supporting the HADR operations. Roughly 16,000 pounds of food, 6,000 pounds of water and 60,000 pounds of relief supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development have been delivered to the affected areas of the Philippines.