Hagel, Task Force Commander Discuss Philippines Relief Operation
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2013 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone this evening with Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, the commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, to discuss relief operations in support of the government of the Philippines, according to Assistant DOD Press Secretary Carl Woog.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, designated Wissler as commander of Joint Task Force 505 to coordinate the Defense Department’s relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Woog said. Wissler’s headquarters, he said, will be located at Camp Aguinaldo, near Manila in the Philippines and he will coordinate U.S. military relief efforts.
The task force, he said, will work closely with senior representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department, and other U.S. agencies to ensure continued, timely and swift responses to requests from our ally.
Wissler conveyed his confidence that the contributions of the United States have helped save lives and are enabling initial infrastructure recovery in the Philippines, Woog said.
As a result of U.S. support, he said, Tacloban airport is now capable of receiving C-17 transport aircraft flights from the U.S. Air Force and from 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.
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, Woog said.
Hagel thanked Wissler and all military personnel involved in this effort for their partnership with Philippine first responders in the wake of this unprecedented typhoon, Woog said.
The defense secretary conveyed that these actions represent the very best of what America has to offer, Woog added.