Off the coast, one could see the massive silhouette of the George Washington, which began serving as a floating staging area for U.S. and other helicopters to resupply and refuel before lifting loads to Tacloban airport, said Lt. Cmdr. James Stockman, public affairs officer for the ship.
The ship is part of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet and is accompanied by seven other ships that make up the George Washington Strike Group. The aircraft carrier has a crew of 5,500 and brings with it 21 helicopters, which can be used to access hard-to-reach areas.
“(The ship) has distiller plants on board that can make 400,000 gallons of fresh water every day,” Stockman said. “Some of this water will be put into containers to be airlifted to those Philippine communities in need. We will also airlift pallets of bottled water that we will take on via underway replenishment — where we connect to a supply ship and transfer cargo at sea.”