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San Diego-Based USS Cowpens Heading To Philippines To Help Typhoon Victims

U.S. Navy

USS Cowpens crew in Hong Kong.

The USS Cowpens - homeport Naval Base San Diego - will head to the Philippines to provide humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Typhoon Haiyan victims.

The Cowpens is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, and is currently in Hong Kong for a port visit.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday ordered the strike group "to make best speed" for the Philippines:

As needed, these ships and aircraft will be able to provide humanitarian assistance, supplies, and medical care in support of the ongoing efforts led by the government and military of the Republic of the Philippines.

The Pentagon estimates the Cowpens and the rest of the George Washington Strike Group will arrive to begin their mission in the Philippines within 48-72 hours.

Reuters estimates at least 10,000 people have died and 600,000 left homeless in the typhoon's wake.

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