Busy U.S. troops help with Asian calamities


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

In just one day, the U.S. Pacific Command was performing humanitarian missions in the Philippines, American and Western Samoa, and Indonesia.

Adm. Timothy “;Timbo”; Keating described yesterday as just a “;normal day”;:

» The earthquake and tsunami victims in the Samoas were getting relief aid flown in by four C-17 Globemaster cargo jets and two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Hawaii, and the frigate USS Ingraham was offshore ready to produce fresh drinking water and participate in search-and-rescue operations with its two helicopters.

» In the Philippines, 100 soldiers were diverted from a scheduled joint amphibious landing training exercise to Manila to help with recovery efforts stemming from Typhoon Ketsana, and a battalion of Marines are afloat on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Denver and two other ships near Luzon, available if Typhoon Parma causes problems this weekend.

Another C-130 did aerial surveillance of western Sumatra following Wednesday's magnitude-7.6 earthquake, and another team of Special Forces troops was working with the Indonesian army, conducting damage assessment.

Throughout this southern region of the Pacific, “;there are folks in need of help,”; said Keating, who will step down Oct. 19 as commander of the 250,000 U.S. troops stationed in the Pacific. He will be replaced by Adm. Robert Willard, former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Yesterday, Keating, who has led the Pacific Command since March 2007, said these humanitarian missions are part of the strategy of “;presence, readiness and partnership.”;

“;Right now we are seeing demonstrable benefits of our being out there with forces being present, with forces which are well trained and well equipped, highly motivated and eager to help,”; he said. “;It demonstrators the efficacy and efficiency and the necessity of partnership.”;





        Here are some ways to donate to disaster relief efforts:

        » American Red Cross: Send contributions to Hawaii State Chapter, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu 96816; or American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Call (800) 733-2767. For online donations visit
        » Cathedral of St. Andrew: Make checks to “;Episcopal Relief and Development,”; 229 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu 96813. A special collection will be taken Sunday during services for victims of natural disasters in Samoa, the Philippines and Indonesia.


        » Bank of Hawaii: Make checks to “;Bank of Hawaii American Samoa Relief Fund”; and deliver to any branch.
        » Office of the American Samoa Governor: Accepting items including canned food, bottled water and rice; 1427 Dillingham Blvd., Suite 210.


        » Filipino Community Center: Send donations to FilCom Center, Suite 302, 94-428 Mokuola St., Waipahu 96797; or drop them off. Do not mail cash. Other collection sites are Don Quijote Supermarket, Waipahu; Kamehameha Shopping Center; Longs, Bishop Street and Wahiawa; Kapolei Shopping Center; Ewa Beach Shopping Center; Wal-Mart, Mililani and Pearl City; Kmart, Salt Lake; Philippine Consulate General, Pali Highway.