Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog provided the following readout:
Secretary Hagel spoke by phone this evening with Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, United States Marine Corps, Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force, to discuss relief operations in support of the Government of the Philippines.
Pacific Commander Adm. Samuel L. Locklear designated Lt. Gen. Wissler as commander of Joint Task Force 505. Its headquarters will be located at Camp Aguinaldo, near Manila and will coordinate U.S. military relief efforts. The task force will work closely with senior representatives from USAID, the Department of State, and other U.S. agencies to ensure continued, timely and swift responses to requests from our ally.
Lt Gen. Wissler conveyed his confidence that the contributions of the United States have helped save lives and are enabling initial infrastructure recovery.
As a result of U.S. support, Tacloban airport is now capable of receiving C-17 transport aircraft flights from the United States Air Force and other countries, which has facilitated the delivery of bulk supplies and heavy equipment such as tactical water purification systems that are now generating drinking water. Lt Gen. Wissler reported that U.S. Navy amphibious ships will disembark Okinawa in the coming hours carrying approximately 1,000 U.S. Marines and sailors who will provide engineering equipment, relief supplies, and offer medical support.
Secretary Hagel thanked Lt. Gen. Wissler and all military personnel involved in this effort for their partnership with Philippine first responders in the wake of this unprecedented typhoon. He conveyed that these actions represent the very best of what America has to offer.