Wasp strike group aids recovery efforts


Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailors with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp board a MH-60S Seahawk to conduct surveys on the islands of Guam and Saipan as part of the Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team, off the coast of Guam, Sep. 9, 2018. (LANCE CPL. ALEXIS B. BETANCES)

PACIFIC OCEAN—The USS Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group, with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, provided aerial assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Sept 12, following Typhoon Mangkhut.

“The MEU assembled teams on board in order to provide water support on the island and generators for the local population if necessary” said 1st Lt. Cameron Field, the combat cargo team embarkation officer. “We also had company-sized teams of Marines ready to assist with debris clean up at a moment’s notice.”

Two ships within CTF 76, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland, are supporting FEMA requests for assistance through the tasking of personnel and distribution of supplies, throughout the CNMI.

Multiple types of aerial vehicles are on standby to assist in any future DSCA operations, including an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 and MV-22 Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262.

“We want to be prepared for anything,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan McAllister, Tactical Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1 assistant officer in charge. “Making sure that our planes are ready to go at any moment for support is our top priority.”

According to McAllister, having a ship in the right place is the most critical aspect of conducting air movement between the islands.

“It was fortunate that the ship was in the right location for quick aid,” he said.

MCS 1 Alexandra Seeley (Special to the Saipan Tribune)

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