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A woman waits for air evacuation at Guiuan on Nov. 21, 2013.
A woman waits for air evacuation at Guiuan on Nov. 21, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
A woman waits for air evacuation at Guiuan on Nov. 21, 2013.
A woman waits for air evacuation at Guiuan on Nov. 21, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Marines were camped close to where typhoon survivors waited for air evacuation at Guiuan on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
U.S. Marines were camped close to where typhoon survivors waited for air evacuation at Guiuan on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Filipino troops stand guard in front of a fallen coconut tree on Nov. 21, 2013. They took over responsibility for security at Guiuan Airport from U.S. Marines this week.
Filipino troops stand guard in front of a fallen coconut tree on Nov. 21, 2013. They took over responsibility for security at Guiuan Airport from U.S. Marines this week. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Filipino troops and a U.S. Marine watch over people waiting for evacuation from Guiuan on Nov. 22, 2013. The Filipinos took over responsibility for security at Guiuan Airport from U.S. Marines this week. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Filipino troops and a U.S. Marine watch over people waiting for evacuation from Guiuan on Nov. 22, 2013. The Filipinos took over responsibility for security at Guiuan Airport from U.S. Marines this week. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Young Filipino typhoon survivors wait for evacuation at Guiuan Airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013.
Young Filipino typhoon survivors wait for evacuation at Guiuan Airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
A young girl waits for evacuation at Guiuan Airport on Nov. 22, 2013. Two U.S. Navy ships arrived in the area on Friday to take over typhoon relief operations from U.S. Marines who have been in the Philippines for more than a week.
A young girl waits for evacuation at Guiuan Airport on Nov. 22, 2013. Two U.S. Navy ships arrived in the area on Friday to take over typhoon relief operations from U.S. Marines who have been in the Philippines for more than a week. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Cpl. Eden Dillon, left, controls aircraft at Guiuan Airport while Staff Sgt. Justin Kroemer keeps watch Nov. 21, 2013.  After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Marine Cpl. Eden Dillon, left, controls aircraft at Guiuan Airport while Staff Sgt. Justin Kroemer keeps watch Nov. 21, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Filipino troops who replaced U.S. Marines at Guiuan Airport this week placed coconut fronds over their tents to help stay dry in monsoon rains.
Filipino troops who replaced U.S. Marines at Guiuan Airport this week placed coconut fronds over their tents to help stay dry in monsoon rains. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Marines break camp at Guiuan, Philippines, on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
U.S. Marines break camp at Guiuan, Philippines, on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Filipino troops arrive to help control crowds at Guiuan Airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013.
Filipino troops arrive to help control crowds at Guiuan Airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marines empty their tanks of jet fuel out of a forward refueling point at Guiuan in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Marines empty their tanks of jet fuel out of a forward refueling point at Guiuan in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marines load jet fuel from a forward refueling point at Guiuan into a V-22 Osprey on Friday. After more than week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Marines load jet fuel from a forward refueling point at Guiuan into a V-22 Osprey on Friday. After more than week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marines pump the last drops of jet fuel out of a forward refueling point at Guiuan in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013.
Marines pump the last drops of jet fuel out of a forward refueling point at Guiuan in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marines prepare to leave Guiuan on Friday.After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Marines prepare to leave Guiuan on Friday.After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)
Marine Ospreys prepare to take off from the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
Marine Ospreys prepare to take off from the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. ()
U.S. Marines wait in the rain at the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
U.S. Marines wait in the rain at the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. ()
U.S. Marines wait in the rain at the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa.
U.S. Marines wait in the rain at the Guiuan airport in the Philippines on Nov. 22, 2013. After more than a week on the ground helping Typhoon Haiyan victims, the Marines are packing up and heading back to Okinawa. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

GUIUAN, Philippines — Two amphibious ships, the USS Ashland and the USS Germantown, along with 900 Okinawa-based Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, have arrived in the Philippines to boost Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

The ships and extra Marines will add logistical capacity to forces already working in affected areas, according to a statement by Lt. Gen. Alan R. Luga, vice chief of staff for the Philippines armed forces.

The ships and Marines are showing up at a time when the need for U.S. military support appears to be slowing dramatically.

They replace the USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group, which carried 23 helicopters and had been transporting food, water, personnel and equipment to typhoon victims.

Luga, in a joint statement issued Friday by U.S. and Philiippine forces overseeing relief efforts, said the aircraft carrier had played an important role in air transport when most airports were nonoperational in areas ravaged by the storm.

In Guiuan, which, along with Tacloban, which has been a major hub for airlifts of food and water for typhoon survivors, officials said that the U.S. military is in the process of handing the airfield over to locals.

A battalion of Philippine troops arrived Thursday to take over security duties from U.S. Marines, who had been there for about a week.

On Friday morning, the Marines packed their tents and emptied jet fuel from a Forward Aircraft Refueling Point into aircraft parked on the flightline. About 30 Marines boarded two of the V-22 Ospreys and left for Okinawa by way of Clark Air Base that afternoon.

John Patterson, the U.S. Agency for International Development military liaison in Guiuan, said the U.S. military had filled a gap by airlifting food and water before roads could be opened for trucks and Philippine air force helicopters arrived.

“It (aid delivery) is transitioning from U.S. military helicopters to, primarily, trucks run by the local government,” he said.

The military effort is drawing down dramatically in Guiuan, Patterson said.

“We have worked the last couple of days to do a transition and slowly pull back,” he said. “We don’t want people to feel we just up and left.”

The joint statement said the Ashland and the Germantown carry landing craft that can move large amounts of cargo and equipment ashore, while the Marines on board bring heavy equipment that could be used to move debris.

“These are more suitable assets, and combined with the naval vessels from Japan, Australia, and other nations, we continue to be postured to help wherever the Philippine Government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines needs us,” U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commander of the U.S. relief effort, said in the statement.

robson.seth@stripes.com

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