Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Navy ships to help Gulf Coast

USS Shreveport
USS Grapple
Five US Navy ships are enroute to the battered Gulf Coast as reported here:
The amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, the dock landing ship Tortuga, the amphibious transport dock Shreveport and the rescue and salvage ship Grapple will join the amphibious assault ship Bataan, which was already in the Gulf of Mexico for a weeks-long training exercise, Navy officials said.

The ships will be supported by six disaster relief teams as well as elements from a mobile diving salvage unit, an assault craft unit and a beach unit. Disaster relief teams include amphibious construction equipment, medical personnel and supplies.

“They’ve got helicopters to help with search and rescue, food and water and medical people if need be,’’ said 2nd Fleet spokesman Chief Petty Officer Jerry Sekerak.

The trip from Norfolk to the Gulf of Mexico takes two to three days. Sekerak said the ships will stay in the area “as long as it takes.’’

More here and here.

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Bataan swings into action here. Photo caption:
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Eight (HSC-28), takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) to assist in search and rescue (SAR) missions in the New Orleans area as part of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Bataan is currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 100 miles South of New Orleans. The ship’s involvement in the humanitarian assistance operations is an effort led by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Joanne De Vera

UPDATE 2: Additional Navy units to be working the problem:

Navy support elements from Mobile Diving Salvage Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 2, and Beach Master Unit 2, all based at NAB Little Creek, will also join the disaster relief effort.
ACU-2 info. MDSU-2 info and BMU-2 info. You can also assume that additional helicopter assets will be moved to the Gulf.

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