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Tsunami relief - USTRANSCOM supporting worldwide military efforts

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS) --- Since the devastating Tsunamis ravaged countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the response by the United States and particularly the Department of Defense has rapidly developed into a steady stream of relief. The U.S. Pacific Command has overall responsibility in the region and the U.S. Transportation Command is busily supporting the global movement of military assets to help USPACOM.

As requirements are identified they are coordinated and planned here at USTRANSCOM’s operations center. To date, more than 250 troops and 265 tons of cargo have been airlifted to the region.

In order to facilitate future shipments of humanitarian assistance, the infrastructure to receive these commodities is quickly developing to provide the logistics pipeline.

Two Tanker Airlift Control Elements (TALCEs) have been positioned to coordinate the arrival of follow-on relief supplies, along with a communications battalion, a survey team, two CH-46 helicopters, six HH-60 helicopters, and sundry relief supplies.

In addition to the airlift efforts, USTRANSCOM’s Navy component (Military Sealift Command) has sent 12 ships to join the relief efforts.

Six of the 12 ships are Maritime Prepositioning Ships -- MV lst Lt. Jack Lummus, SS Maj. Stephen W. Pless, MV Cpl. Louis J. Hauge Jr., MV Pfc. James Anderson Jr., MV 1st Lt. Alex Bonnyman and USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin. These ships, part of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron Three, are collectively laden with enough equipment and supplies to support 15,000 Marines for 30 days. In addition to expeditionary Marine Corps combat equipment, the ships carry food, fuel, medical supplies, construction and road building equipment, electrical power generating equipment, airfield matting and a Navy field hospital.

The squadron also has 43 Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units, each of which is capable of producing 600 gallons of potable water per hour from sea water. Five of the ships are also capable of making 25,000 gallons of fresh water a day using the ships’ evaporators. The ships can pump water from ship to shore from up to two miles away using an Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System of floating hoses.

Two MSC fleet replenishment oilers -- USNS Tippecanoe and USNS John Ericsson -- have been diverted to provide fuel to U.S. Navy ships in the tsunami relief area. Additionally, two other supply ships -- combat stores ship USNS San Jose and fast combat support ship USNS Rainier -- are underway providing fuel and other supplies to Navy ships in the area and to activities ashore as needed.
Lastly, two MSC oceanographic ships have been ordered into the affected area to conduct hydrographic surveys of the ocean bottom where the 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred. USNS Mary Sears and USNS John McDonnell will sail from Sasebo, Japan, early next week.

USTRANSCOM provides air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. In addition to worldwide disaster relief and humanitarian support, the command has moved more than 2 million passengers and 5 million tons of cargo and supplies in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom since October of 2001.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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