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With Marine Corps assets already on the scene providing support, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and several additional Navy ships to the Philippines to help with relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the island nation, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. The typhoon, which hit the Philippines on Nov. 8, has reportedly left thousands dead. Little said the George Washington, with its complement of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, would depart Hong Kong, where it was on a port visit, and would arrive in the Philippines by mid-week, according to a Nov. 11 Pentagon release. The initial focus of US relief efforts will be activities like surface and airborne maritime search and rescue and fixed-wing and helicopter airlift support, states the release. Marines from MCAS Futenma on Okinawa, Japan, along with several MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft and KC-130J tankers, are already operating in the Philippines. (See also Nov. 10 Pentagon release.)