By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony DeFilippo
LEYTE GULF, The Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), with embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and Commander Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, arrived in Leyte Gulf off the Philippines coast Nov. 20 in support of Operation Damayan.
The ships will be joining the U.S. Navy's ongoing cooperation with The Republic of the Philippines' humanitarian assistance relief efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
The ships and 31st MEU brought with them equipment capable of clearing debris from roads and creating and transporting potable water. They also brough food and other supplies to remote areas still in need of assistance.
Personnel and equipment will be moved from ship to shore using amphibious vehicles embarked on board the two ships from NBU 7, which include Landing Craft Utilities (LCUs) and Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs).
"We are glad to finally be here so we can pitch in," said Cmdr. Jason Leach, commanding officer of USS Germantown. "We are just one part of Operation Damayan, but I believe that working as a team with the Filipino government and their armed forces - along with our Marines and other agencies - will allow us to make significant contributions to the efforts here."