News: U.S. Military relief efforts in the Philippines continue to grow
Story by Lance Cpl. Jose Lujano
PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines— In a time-sensitive operation where every minute counts, military forces from around the world and humanitarian workers are supporting the Government and Armed Forces of the Philippines in a fight to save the lives of those who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan by providing resources like clothing, food, water and medicine.
Aid is arriving at remote areas and at the request of the Government of the Philippines, the U.S. Pacific Command continues to send more support to the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HADR) in the Philippines.
A total of six more VM-22B Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced) arrived at Clark Air Field, Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines, Nov. 15-16 in support of the Philippine Armed Forces in Operation Damayan.
A total of 14 Ospreys are currently operating round the clock to provide much needed supplies like food and water to the most isolated areas affected by the typhoon.
“The aircraft will really display how it is made for this part of the world when we fly south delivering the supplies out to the people and reaching those remote areas where people have not been able to receive supplies,” said Capt. Robert S. Swartz, a MV-22B Osprey pilot with VMM-265 which is currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s aviation combat element, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We don’t need an airport to land, especially since all the damage the airports took down there. All we need is enough space like a soccer field, so there are definitely a number of those zones for us to reach the people.”
The Osprey is an ideal aircraft for this HADR operation due to the capabilities it provides, according to Swatrz.
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 craft, substantially strengthening the ability to save lives and reduce suffering.
The typhoon has impacted millions people across throughout many provinces in the Philippines so having the capability of being the first on-scene is important in demonstrating U.S. support and friendship to the Government of the Philippines, according to Swartz.
“What people need to understand is that the biggest typhoon in recorded history happened in the Philippines and we are out here supporting the request of the Government of the Philippines in their lead on fully getting back on their feet,” said Swartz.
As the number of Ospreys nearly doubles, the amount of aid to the people of the Philippines will also. With more aircraft in the air, more help will be arriving at those isolated locations.