PHILIPPINE SEA - Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda tore through the Republic of the Philippines last week and left an estimated 4.2 million people without basic necessities.
The Hull Maintenance Technicians (HT) aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) used their skill and creative knowledge to assemble a device that would fill containers that would be delivered to the affected areas.
"We were told the basic idea of what was needed and we just ran with it," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Jacob Kaiser, from Huron, S.D. "We were able to harness the ship's ability to distill more than 400,000 gallons of fresh water a day to those who need it most in support of Operation Damayan."
The HTs designed and built a water distribution pipe, christened "the Octopus", which will allow Sailors to fill up to eight fresh water containers simultaneously.
"We were told to make it adaptable for use on the flight deck, and that they were going to fly it off for use in the Philippines," said Kaiser.
Over the course of less than nine hours, the HTs cut, welded and attached handles to control water flow. George Washington's machinery repairmen also aided in the process by creating a brace system so the "Octopus" could be set high enough above the deck for Sailors to fill up jugs of water.
"It's a very simple project, but we needed to just get the idea of how we were going to do it," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Jeffery Schmoll, from Euric, Mo.
In finishing this "simple project", the HTs helped provide essential recovery aid to Philippine areas that were hit hardest.
"It's pretty great," said Kaiser. "It's hard work but it's for a good cause, so I'm pretty proud."
The George Washington Strike Group supports the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to assist the Philippine government in response to the aftermath of the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.