News: USNS Walter S. Diehl loads HA/DR supplies in Singapore, heads for the Philippines
By Edward Baxter, Military Sealift Command
AT SEA - Crewmembers aboard fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) loaded humanitarian supplies at Singapore’s Sembawang Wharves today destined for the Philippines to assist people impacted by the disastrous typhoon, which struck there earlier this month.
Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines Nov. 7 with winds gusting up to 160 mph. Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless by the disaster.
Civil service mariners assigned aboard the Military Sealift Command vessel worked in searing heat throughout the day. They loaded scores of pallets of cargo containing large and small water jugs, bandages, baby wash, hand sanitizer, splints, insect repellant, blankets and other supplies.
“These supplies will go to those who need help the most and I’m very glad we contribute to the relief efforts,” said Diehl’s Supply Officer and Civil Service Mariner, Ronald McCann as he inspected boxes of supplies prepositioned on the ship’s flight deck.
With all cargo safely loaded aboard, Diehl set sail right away destined for waters near Samar Island in the Philippines. Once there, Diehl will rendezvous with dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Charles S. Drew (T-AKE 10) - which has been operating near Samar for several days - where Diehl will transfer the cargo for onward shipment to staging areas ashore. Drew’s embarked MH-60 Seahawk helicopters continue to ferry urgently-needed supplies from ship to shore.
Diehl will also conduct underway replenishment operations with ships from the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group supporting Operation Damayan - the U.S. military’s humanitarian operation in affect near the Philippines - ensuring all ships there are operating at their peak capacity.
The 677 foot, 41,000 ton Diehl provides fuel to deployed Navy combatant ships and their assigned aircraft via connected replenishment.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, U.S. merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.