The USS Ashland arrived November 3 while marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Combat Logistics Battalion 31, began arriving to the Mariana Islands on Oct. 29, four days after the historic storm swept directly across the isolated island.
“Our main priority is to work with our leadership and local officials in alleviating as much suffering as possible in CMNI,” said Cmdr. Patrick L. German, Ashland’s commanding officer. “Our advance party has surveyed the area and identified a safe debarkation point for Marines, Sailors and equipment going ashore via our landing craft.”
Marines with the 31st MEU, U.S. Navy Seabees with NMCB-1 and 36th CES completed several imperative projects beginning Oct. 29, including purifying and distributing over 20,000 gallons of water; clearing two public schools, government buildings and the municipal power facility of downed trees and debris; and restoring emergency services’ capacity to respond to medical emergencies.
Sailors from Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 will be using Landing Craft, Utilities (LCU) to deliver sailors and marines along with trucks and supplies to support local relief efforts. They will assist in the clearing of debris and protecting property for the people of CMNI.
“We have over 120 Sailors and Marines going ashore to provide assistance,” said Staff Sgt. Denzel Youngblood, assigned to CLB 31. “In addition we will be providing over 4,800 gallons of water, 5,400 gallons of fuel, tents, generators, air conditioning units, vehicles, and equipment to help with cleaning and moving debris.” Ashland, part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. CLB 31, part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan.