SAN DIEGO - A San Diego-based warship, the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, is headed to the Philippines with an aircraft carrier strike group to help in the wake of a devastating typhoon.
The cruiser is with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which should arrive off the Philippine coast line on Wednesday.
The hospital ship USNS Mercy, which has been used in disaster relief before, is on standby.
"We have not as yet been tasked to activate Mercy, but should that order come, we could have the ship ready to go in five days or less," said Commodore Mike Taylor, who heads up the Military Sealift Command which oversees Mercy.
The hospital ship is part of Pacific Partnership, which began after the 2004 disaster in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
"It's because of Pacific Partnership, when we've already visited many of those island in the Pacific that when a crisis does occur, it makes everything so much smoother," said Commodore Wally Lovely, who headed up the 2013 effort where USS Pearl Harbor was the lead U.S. ship along with five others from different host nations.
The idea is to show the different island nations how to survive on their own until help does arrive.