Saturday, September 6, 2008

US Navy Diverts USS Kearsarge, Helos to Haiti in Hanna's Wake

In this August 2008 file photo, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) heads to sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lolita M. Lewis.)

News in Balance:

MIAMI, Fla., Sept. 6, 2008 -- U.S. Southern Command has directed Commander, Fourth Fleet to divert the amphibious ship USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3) to Haiti to assist with relief efforts in areas affected by flooding due to tropical storm activity in the Caribbean.

Kearsarge will depart from Santa Marta, Colombia, for Haiti to join other U.S. assistance operations in the vicinity of Port au Prince.

Kearsarge is currently supporting phase two of Continuing Promise 2008, a humanitarian assistance mission that includes assisting partner nations impacted by natural disasters and other emergencies resulting in human suffering or danger to human lives.

Kearsarge's capabilities include rapid movement of personnel and cargo by helicopter and landing craft, making it an ideal platform to support humanitarian relief missions on short notice.

Airlift assets embarked aboard Kearsarge include the CH-53 Super Stallion and the MH-60S Seahawk.

The crew of Kearsarge includes a team of medical personnel that can provide first-aid and other health care related services to communities impacted by conditions associated with the flooding.

Medical facilities aboard Kearsarge include four operating rooms, 13 intensive-care unit beds, 40 medical ward beds, a laboratory, x-ray equipment and a blood bank.

SOUTHCOM last directed an amphibious ship to assist a partner nation impacted by a natural disaster exactly one year ago. On Sept. 5, 2007, SOUTHCOM dispatched the USS WASP to provide assistance to victims of Hurricane Felix in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.

U.S. Southern Command military planners continue to work with interagency partners and their counterparts in countries affected by the recent tropical cyclone activity to assess recovery needs in the affected areas and identify additional U.S. military units that may be able to provide assistance.

(From a U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs news release.)

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