By Barbara Starr
The Marine Corps general in charge of U.S. military aid efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan is asking the Pentagon to urgently send a number of amphibious warships to the Philippines.
Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy tells CNN he needs the Marine Corps amphibious ships specifically because they can carry a variety of small boats, trucks, equipment and supplies needed, as well as making potable water. "They are the Swiss army knife of the U.S. military," Kennedy told CNN in a telephone interview from the Philippines. Kennedy says he believes his request will be approved by the Pentagon in the coming hours. As many as four of the warships could be headed to the Philippines.
The amphibious ships can also carry helicopters and tracked vehicles known as "assault amphibious vehicles." These vehicles can carry supplies and move over and through piles of debris to distribution points where aid is needed most.
The U.S. military will take supplies to distribution points, but it will be then handed out by Philippines forces, Kennedy said. Local forces are in the best position to know community leaders and make sure those in the most need are getting the help, he added.FULL STORY