Aside from a good indicator of forthcoming bad weather, the prepositioning ships out in the Saipan Lagoon can come to the aid of island residents in times of calamities and disasters.
Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3 commander Capt. Leonard V. “Len” Remias said their ships are not only laden with combat materiel but also stores supplies and equipment for humanitarian efforts.
Remias, who was guest speaker at last week’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Saipan, said his squadron could serve as a platform to evacuate people during storms or typhoons. The ships also have significant capacity to aid distressed communities.
For instance, Remias said, his squadron comes equipped with a hospital-in-a-box that has 150 beds and is always ready to deploy.
The squadron also has thousands of ready-to-eat rations and 30,000 gallons of fresh water on board so feeding the hungry and quenching the thirst of island residents suddenly devoid of food ad drinking water will not be a problem, he said.
The ships also carry generators that can power a small island, which would come in handy providing power to the Commonwealth Health Center and other critical facilities in times of disaster.
For military preparedness, Remias said each of his ships carry large amount of explosives and carry anything from tanks to artillery and other military vehicles ready for combat deployment.
Remias also took the occasion to ask community groups such as the local Rotary Club to partner with his squadron in civic and community events. In fact, Remias already volunteered his men’s services in this past weekend’s Las Vegas Night and the coming Trunk or Treat activity of the group.
Remias assumed his current duties as commander of the prepositioning ship in July 2013.
Despite being called Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3, Remias’ command is actually one of two squadrons designed to pre-stage U.S. Marine Corps equipment and supplies in strategic locations around the world.
The primary mission of Squadron 3 is to support the rapid deployment of a Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force by delivering combat and logistics vehicles, fuel, ammunition, rations, and supplies to the Marines where needed throughout the world.
Island residents usually look at the absence of prepositioning ships in the Saipan Lagoon as an indicator of coming bad weather. Remias acknowledged the practice by saying that he does instruct his captains to move out of the lagoon days before a storm hits the island.