The U.S. military is urgently dispatching a Navy aircraft carrier and large-deck amphibious ship, as well as military transport aircraft and assessment teams, to Haiti to assist with the earthquake relief effort, a senior U.S. military official said Wednesday.

“We are massing our forces to provide as much support as we can as quickly as we can,” said Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of the U.S. Southern Command. “We are corralling all the resources of the Department of Defense to support this effort.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates later told Fraser that the disaster relief effort is a “very high priority” and that he should ask the Defense Department for “anything and everything” he needs, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

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