USS Ashland loads-up to carry supplies to Saipan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

USS Ashland loads-up to carry supplies to Saipan

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Relief is on its way to Saipan as the USS Ashland loaded the last of the supplies and equipment to aide in the recovery following Typhoon Soudelor. And the Ashland is no ordinary military ship.

It has capabilities which are paramount in humanitarian assistance missions. Commander Dan Duhan said, "The USS Ashland is a dock landing ship - it's an amphibious ship whose mission is to carry Marines and their equipment to support a variety of missions including disaster relief operations. Our ability to move cargo by crane to support helicopter operations as well as landing craft out of the stern of our ship and the well deck provides us a number of flexible means to move cargo and personnel to a variety of situation and very dynamic conditions."

Duhan says the Ashland has the  ability to move equipment pier side, from anchor, or from a landing craft utility providing many options to meet mission circumstances. These capabilities  are an asset in aiding our neighbors in Saipan as today the USS Ashland and her crew filled a flight deck full of supplies and equipment filling about 75% of her capacity.

"Some of the supplies that our local and federal organizations have gotten together includes water, food, basic shelter tarps, blankets, dried milk, and other provisions, as well as electrical power generation and some handling equipment to move the material around," Duhan stated.

The donations were coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which worked with non-profit organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Ayuda Foundation. Duhan says their current task is to provide the lift to carry the provision and get it to Saipan and offload it. He added, "There is a large forklift is the last piece of equipment that we are bringing on board the size of it necessitates that we need to bring it in through the landing craft utility that's in our well." Tthat forklift is critical to moving the cargo once the USS Ashland reaches Saipan.

Fully supplied and with the forklift on board, the USS Ashland will arrive in Saipan early Saturday morning.

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