News | Nov. 19, 2018

Guam National Guard Plays Role in Moving Supplies to Saipan

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet

Amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) worked with 254th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers (RED HORSE), from the Guam Air National Guard, to transport vehicles and supplies from the Guam Army National Guard to Saipan by both sea and air Nov. 17.

Super Typhoon Yutu, a Category 5 storm, passed through the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Oct. 25, directly striking Tinian and tearing through southern Saipan. Yutu was the second strongest storm to hit U.S. soil in recorded history.

"A lot has been accomplished in assisting with the Tinian and Saipan relief efforts," said Cmdr. Patrick L. German, Ashland's commanding officer. "It is remarkable how we combined the efforts from all branches toward the restoration that has been made and the amount of aid that is being provided to everyone in need."

This is the first time that the Guam National Guard has worked with the Navy to transport personnel and equipment using an amphibious dock landing ship.

Making multiple movements from Guam, Ashland has transported over 160 Sailors, Marines, and Guam Army National Guard Soldiers with more than 95 vehicles carrying 4,800 gallons of water, 5,400 gallons of fuel, tents, generators, and air conditioning units to Tinian and Saipan.

"Deck department aboard Ashland has been working tirelessly with the Guam Army National Guard to make sure all their vehicles and equipment is secure for sea," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Julian Mendoza. "It doesn't take the ship long to travel from Guam to Saipan or Tinian, but it's important that the Soldiers know they can rely on us to get them and their equipment over to the islands safely."

More than 800 active duty, Reserve, and Guard members from more than 20 units in Joint Region Marianas and other areas in the Indo-Pacific Region are providing support to Task Force-West to assist in relief efforts.

Ashland, assigned to Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, with embarked CLB-31, is providing Department of Defense support to CNMI civil and local officials as part of the FEMA-supported Typhoon Yutu recovery efforts.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command website.