ILOILO, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and other supporting ships teamed with their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deliver much-needed relief supplies to the victims of Typhoon Fengshen on the island of Panay June 26.
HH-60H Seahawk and SH-60F Seahawk helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4, embarked aboard Ronald Reagan; SH-60B Seahawk helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) 43, embarked aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83); and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) 37; embarked aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) made 19 relief sorties to deliver food and bottled water to areas most affected by the storm.
"We're assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines in helping deliver these critical supplies to the people of Panay," said Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, commander of the Navy ships.
Inside the helicopters, Navy air crews paired with AFP officers and civilian government officials to make the deliveries. AFP officers embarked Reagan to help direct the effort.
"We're all connected," said Lt. Cmdr Rolo Garces, a pilot from HSL-43 who flew one of the relief missions off Howard. "I have kids, so even in a part of the world I've never seen before, I'm really touched.
"I'm proud to work with the [AFP] on this mission."
For the second consecutive day, a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 cargo plane loaded with food and other supplies arrived at Iloilo's Santa Barbara airport. In addition, two C-2A Greyhound cargo planes from Ronald Reagan arrived, loaded with water and rice.
During the course of two days, the carrier has provided 28,128 20-ounce bottles of water and 9,060 pounds of rice for the effort. U.S. and AFP personnel loaded the supplies onto the helicopters for rapid delivery to storm victims.
"The helicopters are moving," said Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, deputy assistant chief of staff [operations] for the AFP. "They are flying, and we're good to go."
According to Wisecup, the relief flights will continue as supplies arrive from Ronald Reagan, the Philippine government and relief organizations.
"We're here as long as the government of the Philippines continues to request this support," said Wisecup. "The Filipino people are our friends, and we're trying to reduce their suffering,"
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