Home » Military Personnel » U.S. Scrambles Amphib USS Ashland, 31st MEU Marines to Saipan for FEMA Typhoon Relief Mission


U.S. Scrambles Amphib USS Ashland, 31st MEU Marines to Saipan for FEMA Typhoon Relief Mission

Sailors and Marines load cases of water onto the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) in preparation for the ship getting underway to deploy to Saipan on Aug. 6, 2015. US Navy Photo

Sailors and Marines load cases of water onto the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) in preparation for the ship getting underway to deploy to Saipan on Aug. 6, 2015. US Navy Photo

Amphibious warship USS Ashland (LSD-48) and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are bound for Saipan — at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — to assist in disaster relief following the devastating landfall of Typhoon Soudelor last week, the Navy announced Friday.

Saipan and the rest Northern Mariana Islands — a U.S. territory — were declared disaster areas on Thursday afternoon by the Obama administration that destroyed homes and left residents without water or electricity.

Though the devastation was widespread across the island — home to about 48,000 people — there were no reported serious injuries or deaths.

Image of Typhoon Soudelor from the International Space Station. NASA Photo

View of Typhoon Soudelor from the International Space Station. NASA Photo

Now FEMA will coordinate the relief response which includes “the Government of Guam, American Red Cross, Ayuda Foundation and other non-profit/non-governmental organizations [that] have provided drinking water, bed sheets, food, generators, power lines and other electrical restoration supplies to aid in the effort,” according to a statement from the Navy.

Ashland — homeported in Sasebo, Japan — was on deployment as part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 31st MEU based in Okinawa when tasked to assist FEMA in the relief effort.

“We have precisely the capabilities and capacity, at the right place and time to respond,” said Ashland Commanding Officer Cmdr. Daniel Duhan in a statement.
“Along with the 31st MEU [Marine Expeditionary Unit], we are just one part of Typhoon Soudelor relief efforts. With the collaboration between the Navy, Marines, local and federal government agencies, we hope to make significant contributions to the effort.”

The ship is due to arrive at Saipan on Saturday.

Track of Typhoon Soudelor. Image via Wikipedia

Track of Typhoon Soudelor. Image via Wikipedia

Typhoon Soudelor is set to make landfall over Taiwan later on Friday.

“It is barreling down on Taiwan and winds will strengthen to around 130 mph by the time it hits at some point this afternoon U.S. time,” Weather Channel forecaster Michael Palmer said.
“There will undoubtedly be some significant damage, there will be some massive waves and flash flooding.”

  • FedUpWithWelfareStates

    A SMART move right now, would be to permanently re-locate the 31st MEU to Saipan as their home-base, to be be followed by the rest of the Marines in Okinawa. Seriously, between Saipan, Tinian & the rest of the NMI, there is more-than-enough area, both land & water, for the entire III MEF to make a very comfortable NEW home, along with all of the support units needed. Just imagine the economic boom to the NMI’s economy? The splurge of New Brides, etc.

    • magic3400

      “… Just imagine the economic boom to the NMI’s economy?” And just imagine our impact on their fragile environment. Yes, the US military would bring vast economic benefit to the area, but we would also bring a tremendous about of baggage that includes crime and pollution. There’s a lot of downside for the islanders to consider.

  • Pingback: U.S. Scrambles Amphib USS Ashland, 31st MEU Marines to Saipan for FEMA Typhoon Relief Mission | NOSI – Naval Open Source Intelligence™()

  • old guy

    WE, IN THE UNITED STATES, AT OUR BEST!

  • magic3400

    Semper Fi Marines, this is how we earn our pay…Rah!

  • M123driver

    While stationed with 3rd Combat Engineer Bn. on Okinawa in 1979-80, I caught a float to Tinian on the USS Fresno, LST 1161 if I remember correctly. We had a company of engineers attached to 3rd Recon Bn. with One M51A1 5 ton dump, a jeep and trailer, generator set, portable shower unit and a Case 1150 tracked front end loader. While the Recon Marines did their training in the field, we blew up some WWII ordinance that had been abandoned and cleared a measured section of coral runways that were totally overgrown. This was to get an idea of what would be involved in making the runways usable in a time of need. I heard the entire CEB returned soon after I was discharged upon returning from the float and did some more extensive work. At that time Tinian had only a couple of thousand residents and the main industry was a cattle ranch. The town of San Jose hosted the Engineer company and we stayed in the community center which was just an open gymnasium type building of WWII era wooden construction. In addition to our military operations we did some infrastructure work and our Corpsman set up a medical clinic to provide vaccinations and first aid to the citizens. I dreamed of returning to live in this tranquil place when I got out of the Corps but I guess reality intervened. I hope the residents of Tinian were spared the full wrath of this Typhoon. If not, I’m sure the MEU provided assistance.