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USS Ashland Returns To Saipan With Supplies To Restore Water, Power To Island

A civilian power generating truck is driven from a Guam beach onto the deck of Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1666, attached to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, for disaster relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor. US Navy photo via US Naval Base Guam Facebook page.

A civilian power generating truck is driven from a Guam beach onto the deck of Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1666, attached to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, for disaster relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor. US Navy photo via US Naval Base Guam Facebook page.

Marines and sailors from the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) returned to Saipan in the Northern Marianas with heavy equipment to restore power and water purifiers to provide as much as 40,000 gallons of drinking water after the island was devastated by a typhoon last week.

The military had already delivered more than 11,400 gallons of water and 48,300 individual ready-to-eat meals since arriving in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, on Aug. 8 to distribute aid in the aftermath of the storm.

Typhoon Soudelor passed over the island on Aug. 2 and 3 with the intensity of a Category 2 hurricane, with winds of 105 miles per hour or greater, according to AccuWeather. Hundreds of homes were damaged, most of the island was left without power, and clean water was a key concern, according to the American Red Cross.

About 600 personnel from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group responded to the crisis by diverting from their training schedule and bringing food, water, generators, blankets and more to the island on Aug. 8. Ashland then left to retrieve more supplies from nearby Guam, including “with a high-production Tactical Water Purification System, multiple mobile water containers able to transport more than 2,000 gallons of water, equipment to repair and restore power and approximately 10,000 pounds of Red Cross relief goods,” according to information posted on Facebook by U.S. Naval Base Guam.

Amphibious Assault Vehicles from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrive at the beach to allow for supplies and machinery to be loaded into the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) for disaster relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor. The 31st MEU is embarked on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Amphibious Assault Vehicles from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrive at the beach to allow for supplies and machinery to be loaded into the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) for disaster relief efforts in Saipan after Typhoon Soudelor. The 31st MEU is embarked on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

The ship returned to Saipan earlier today, according to information posted by Joint Region Marianas on Facebook, and once up and running, the water purification systems will be able to produce up to 40,000 gallons of water per day for Marines to distribute, according to the post – nearly four times the total amount of water that was distributed in the first week after the typhoon hit.

Sailors onboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) offload supplies during disaster relief efforts in Saipan on Aug. 11, 2015. US Navy Photo

Sailors onboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) offload supplies during disaster relief efforts in Saipan on Aug. 11, 2015. US Navy Photo

Marines also delivered generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are helping to restore power on Saipan, according to a Defense Department news release.

  • FedUpWithWelfareStates

    This is the perfect opportunity to never let an act of God go to waste. HQMC, MARFORPAC, III MEF, PACOM & DOD should start establishing the sites on Saipan for the eventual relocation of all III MEF assets from Okinawa to Saipan, Tinian & other sites TBD in the NMI. Develop the area adjacent to the civilian runway as a replacement for both Futenma & Kinser. Develop the Northern end of the island as a replacement for III MEF Headquarters, Courtney, Foster, Hansen, Schwab & Gonsalves. Develop the ranges on Tinian & other islands as live fire & maneuver ranges. Do not let this opportunity go to waste…

    • muzzleloader

      I fully concur.

    • Thomas Storie

      Saipan really doesn’t have the facilities to support III MEF. As someone who’s been there on multiple occasions, it’s quite possibly one of the worst places to put the Marines and the dependents. Guam is and will be the only choice for any relocation for III MEF.

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